The tongue is a vital organ that helps in tasting and swallowing food. Apart from the usually known roles, it is also a significant indicator of your health status. 

For instance, patches on your tongue can be harmless, but they may indicate the presence of an underlying illness in the body.

What then should you look for in your tongue? Here are vital tips on what the tongue says about your general or oral health.

Whitish Coating

Your tongue should have a uniform shade of pink in normal conditions. However, sometimes, it could be whitish if you don’t brush your tongue often. If the whitish coating doesn’t go away after regular brushing, it could signify yeast overgrowth in the oral cavity.

Whitish Patches

Creamy, white patches could be fungal thrush, a condition that occurs after you’ve had a short illness. Some lacy white patches could also indicate your body’s immune system is attacking infectious tissues in the mouth.

In worst circumstances, hard, flat, white patches that you can’t scrape off could indicate Leukoplakia. Usually, the condition (which is linked to oral cancer) occurs when the tongue suffers irritation from tobacco smoking or other causes. 

Extremely Reddish Tongue

An extremely reddish tongue could be a sign of Kawasaki, a condition that causes inflammation of blood vessels. However, the condition is infrequent and primarily affects children. 

An overly reddish tongue could also signify vitamin B12 or folic acid deficiency. You can find relief by adding vitamin supplements to your morning meals, such as smoothies.

Irregular Bumpy Patches

Sometimes your tongue may have irregular, reddish, bumpy patches, indicating you have a high body fever. However, if you notice an irregular bumpy patch under your tongue that doesn’t heal, you should see a dentist or doctor for an oral health examination.


Your tongue contains nerve endings that could hurt if injured, broken, or bitten. The good news is that soreness that results from broken nerve endings will usually heal after some time.

You could also experience soreness on one part of the entire tongue. Either way, it could indicate an unknown food allergy or canker sores. You shouldn’t worry since it will heal on its own. 

However, if you experience persistent soreness, it may be time to call a dentist for a professional opinion.

Hairy Tongue

A hairy tongue doesn’t mean you’ll have hair growing on your tongue. Instead, your tongue could have a blackish, brownish, or whitish coating that looks like hair strands.

Usually, the hairy strands result from a protein buildup that causes small, elongated bumps. Over time, the elongated bumps may trap food particles, leading to a hair-like appearance on the tongue.

A proper brushing or scraping your tongue will help prevent excessive protein buildup. However, if the strands don’t disappear after brushing, you need to see a dentist for an oral health examination.

Bottom Line

The tongue conveys a great deal of information about your oral health. So, if you stretch out your tongue and notice worry symptoms, you must visit a dentist for proper diagnosis and treatment.


If you are looking for an experienced orthodontist in Garden Grove, contact our office at (714) 530-8482 for a free consultation.