It might come as a surprise to some people that the appearance of our tongues can be indicators of our overall health. The best time to examine your tongue to get the most accurate reading is right after waking up in the morning, before brushing your teeth, sipping any water, or eating anything at all.
With this in mind, here are 10 health conditions to watch out for that can be revealed by your tongue:
1. Pink tongue
According to 1MD, if your tongue is pink with no abnormalities of shape or size, and has no damage to it, then your health, overall, is quite good. In such cases, even a light white coating is nothing to be concerned about.
2. Red tongue
If your tongue is red, appears inflamed in size, and has some surface abnormalities, then that is a sign that you may be dealing with an inflammatory disorder or have an infectious disease. According to Healthline, a red tongue that is inflamed may also indicate that you have a vitamin B12 deficiency, celiac disease, or anemia. Regardless, if your tongue is red and inflamed, then you should seek medical attention.
3. Bright-red tongue
As mentioned, a red, inflamed tongue may indicate an infectious disease. But if your tongue is bright red, enlarged, or even has the appearance of a strawberry, then likely something more serious is coming into play; it may indicate a serious inflammatory blood disease called Kawasaki disease, or an indicator of scarlet fever.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, another common cause of a bright-red tongue is heart disease and high blood pressure. If your tongue has this appearance, you should have your blood pressure checked and have your doctor schedule an electrocardiogram (EKG).
4. Yellow tongue
Sometimes, a yellow tongue is not indicative of anything; according to The Mayo Clinic, it could simply be due to a buildup of dead cells on the papillae that gives it a yellow appearance.