What can your tongue say about your health?

What can your tongue say about your health?

Your tongue often has a lot to say about your oral health. It can act as a warning sign to general health problems. Including dental problems!

White patches on tongue

This can be a common side affect from tobacco and smoking. As any healthcare professional will tell you, smoking is extremely bad for your health. Quitting is the only way to reduce your risk of developing harmful diseases such as oral cancer. White patches on your tongue can also be an early sign of oral cancer. So it is important to book an appointment to get these looked at as soon as possible.

Very red tongue

This is a common symptom associated with vitamin deficiency. Folic acid or B-12 are common. This can usually be quickly resolved by taking vitamin supplements as part of your diet. However, if the problem persists and your tongue remains very red then this could be the sign of a more serious health problem which should be investigated.

White coating on tongue

A white coating on your tongue isn’t normal. Your tongue should be a shade of pink without any white areas.
Something you have a white tongue because you haven’t brushed it. Other times it can indicate oral thrush.
If brushing your tongue removes the white coating, then this shouldn’t be anything to worry about. If, however, you brush your tongue and it is still white, then you should book an appointment with your doctor.

Tender or sore tongue

There are many reasons why your tongue may become tender or sore. From accidentally biting it to developing a food allergy or some type of ulcer or mouth sore. Most of these symptoms should resolve themselves within a couple of weeks without any treatment and over-the-counter pain medication can be taken to help ease any discomfort.
If you continue to experience discomfort or pain after this time, then you should arrange to see your doctor or dentist.

Red bumpy patches

Irregular red bumps on your tongue could be one of the first signs of having a fever and your body fighting off an infection. If the bumps are small red or white bumps then this is likely to be transient lingual papillitis, which are often caused by stress, hormones, or types of food. Other less common causes of bumpy patches include scarlet fever and syphilis, so it is important to get this checked out by your GP.

Hairy tongue

While our tongue may feel hairy after drinking alcohol, certain types of protein build-up can result in trapped food that mimic strands of hair on your tongue. These can normally be removed by increasing your oral hygiene and brushing and scraping your tongue but if that doesn’t work then you should pay a visit to your dentist or oral hygienist.


If you are concerned about your tongue or your general dental health. Make an appointment today.

Appointments are available on our on line booking site. Or by phoning our reception staff during business hours.