Stick out Your Tongue and say Ahhh!

15 04 2013

baby w tongue

Have you looked at your tongue lately?  The appearance of your tongue can reveal a lot about your health.   Take a moment to examine your tongue.  The tongue is the strongest muscle in the body.  The appearance of the tongue has been studied in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years.  The tongue is connected energetically to different organs of the body.  The sides of the tongue correspond to the liver.  The tip of the tongue corresponds to the heart.  The back of the tongue can indicate kidney health; and, the center of the tongue relates to the spleen. 

How should a healthy tongue look? A healthy tongue should be pink in color, slightly moist, and smooth with no bumps or spots. The tongue should also be layered with visible taste buds that detect the five taste sensations – sweet, bitter, salty, sour, and savory.  The color, texture, and moisture of the tongue can indicate anemia, dehydration and kidney problems, to name just a few.


A healthy tongue should be pink in color. The color of the tongue also reflects the health of the body’s internal organs and blood circulation. A bright red tongue could be indicative of nutritional deficiencies in iron and B-vitamins.  A  pale tongue could indicate your blood is lacking hemoglobin, especially if the tongue is also extremely smooth.  Purple  can indicate high cholesterol levels and poor circulation that results in stagnant blood in the tongue.

A healthy tongue should be smooth in appearance, gently moist, with visible taste buds.  A healthy tongue should have a thin transparent coating. Changes to the coating can indicate acute illness, such as colds and digestive issues.

Nutritional deficiencies can affect the health and appearance of the tongue. The most common deficiencies which do so are B-vitamins (in particular B6 and B12). Deficiencies in B6 or B12 can lead to a swollen and sore tongue, along with teeth indentations and fissures on the surface of the tongue.  An iron deficiency can cause swelling of the tongue and painful sores in the mouth. The tongue will also appear pale and smooth due to the lack of hemoglobin in the blood.

To ensure a healthy tongue, you should brush your tongue whenever you brush your teeth.

Dr Donna Williams

Dr. Williams began her career in the field of dentistry at Howard University and graduated from Baltimore College Dental Surgery/University of Maryland. She is one of a select group of general dentists who have completed a fellowship in Holistic dentistry, and is also certified to use the only FDA approved laser for periodontal surgery. She is passionate about improving the health status of people throughout the community and beyond. Contact her at: Morningside Dental Care.



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