What Does Your Tongue Say About Your Health?

BY Dr. McDowell  |  February 14th, 2020
Dr. McDowell
Dr. McDowell has always been focused on using the latest technology to improve the patient experience. From radiation-free imaging to laser dentistry, he has always been ahead of the curve and is dedicated to improving the practice of dentistry one ..

Have you been plagued by annoying sores on your tongue? Maybe you have patches, white spots, or bumps, and you’re just not sure what that means. In most cases, you don’t need to worry too much about your tongue.

That being said, it is good to know what’s going on with it and to be informed of the possible signs that your tongue could be showing you.

Many different health practices all tongue is used as an indicator of things that are going on within your body. For instance, when you have a sore throat, a doctor might look at your tongue to see if there is any indication of other diseases.

While most people won’t have to deal with anything crazy going on with their tongue, others may find that it’s indicating some health problems that they need to address. So, what does your tongue say about your health?

Red and White Spots

Before we get too far in, let’s talk about the most common thing. Red and white spots on your tongue. This is a natural cause, and you don’t have to worry at all. They will go away on there own and shouldn’t last long. If you want to try and get rid of them faster, you can always be sure to brush your tongue when brushing your teeth.

Brushing your tongue is generally a good practice at any time, as it will help to reduce the chance of other infections and fungi on your tongue.

Nutrient Deficiencies

One of the most common things that your tongue will show you is if you are deficient in specific nutrients. Deficiencies will cause your tongue to feel smooth and often be very red. This isn’t in any way a threatening condition, but you should heed the warning signs and consider changing your diet or begin taking supplements to battle the deficiencies.

The most common deficiencies that cause your tongue to become red or smooth are iron, folic acid, or B vitamins. All of these nutrients can be quickly restored.

Macroglossia (Your Tongue is Too Big)

If your tongue becomes swollen or begins to become swollen or take up too much space in your mouth and the condition persists, then you’re going to want to visit a dentist or doctor. Several underlying problems could cause this. One of the most common is allergies. Many different allergies can cause your tongue to swell, including food allergies and pollen allergies.

Bumps or Sores

Most often, bumps and sores on your tongue are cold sores or canker sores. These sores can be caused by injuries to your mouth from brushing too hard, dental work, braces, or sports injuries. Another common cause is acidic fruits like citrus, vitamin deficiencies, stress, and more.

Canker sores can last up to 2-3 weeks if they last longer than that, it would be appropriate to see a dentist or doctor. It is also essential to make sure that they aren’t spreading to different areas in your mouth.

If you’re very annoyed by these, they can be treated. Call your local dentist or Wayzata Dental today!

Burning Mouth Syndrome

We all know the feeling of drinking some liquid that’s just a little bit too hot for our mouths to handle. It can lead to intense burning, sores, and more. While burning your mouth by eating or drinking something too hot is usually healed in a few days, another similar feeling can be experienced by something totally different.

Burning Mouth Syndrom is said to feel just like hot coals (or coffee) on your tongue. It can often be accompanied by a metallic taste and can last for months at a time.

If you ever do experience this, there some causes to it, including oral habits, nerve damage, and vitamin deficiencies.

Thankfully only about 20,000 cases exist within the US each year.


No one wants to talk about this, and it can be a scary thing. Thankfully it’s not a very common type of cancer with only 54,000 cases reported in the US each year.

Thankfully this cancer isn’t easily missed if you’re paying attention to the conditions within your mouth. Your tongue can actually be a huge indicator of oral cancer.

Bumps and scaley white patches that rub off could be signs of cancer. When experiencing a bump, allow it about 2 weeks before visiting the dentist to have it checked.


Your tongue can also be one of the first indicators that you have diabetes. When your body develops diabetes, you can experience oral thrush. Oral thrush is a fungal yeast infection in your mouth. It’s most common in people with a weakened immune system. It looks like a white paste that covers your tongue and has been described to feel like cottage cheese.

Overall Mental Health

Many dental professionals and doctors will look to the tongue for signs about your mental health and well being. Different symptoms can show stress, anxiety, and other poor mental health conditions. A well-trained health professional is going to be able to tell a lot from your tongue.

If you’re experiencing any discomfort in your mouth, it can seriously inhibit you throughout your day. Don’t allow your mouth to control what you can and can not accomplish. Instead, make it a priority to get into the dentist regularly, and if you’re experiencing any irregular oral problems, book an appointment today.

We hope that you’ve enjoyed this blog and hopefully learned some things that will help you stay healthy. If you have any questions feel free to give us a call, we’re always happy to help. Our customers are our biggest priority.

Dr. McDowell
Dr. McDowell has always been focused on using the latest technology to improve the patient experience. From radiation-free imaging to laser dentistry, he has always been ahead of the curve and is dedicated to improving the practice of dentistry one ..