What can my tongue tell me about my health?

Your tongue can give some important clues about your health, your lifestyle habits, and your diet. For example, if the normal projections on the tongue (villi) appear hairy, this may be the result of taking antibiotics or using a mouthwash with peroxide too frequently. Sometimes having a fever can cause the tongue's villi to look hairy. If you are a smoker, your tongue's villi may become discolored. You can remove this discoloration by scraping the tongue and rinsing your mouth. The tongue may appear smooth and pale if you have iron deficiency anemia. A deficiency in vitamin B3 may cause the tongue to become swollen, red, and painful. Scarlet fever can turn a normal tongue a bright raspberry color. Thrush, a common fungal infection, can leave a white film on the tongue's villi and cause a painful burning sensation.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.