Like most extraneous parts of the body, the tongue tells a story about what is happening on the inside.
How your tongue looks including its texture, color and moistness can point to a number of health issues such as anemia, dehydration and kidney problems.
Chinese medical practitioners have studied the health of the tongue for thousands of years and identify several areas of the tongue as they are related to various internal organs.
The sides of the tongue are thought to be relative to the liver, the tip to the heart, the center to the spleen and the back to the kidneys. While this is in no way a foolproof method of diagnosis, it does point to the fact that when the body is out of balance it shows us in many ways.
A healthy tongue is pinkish in color. This reflects good circulation through the body. If your tongue is pale, it could mean that your blood is lacking in hemoglobin. This could especially be true if you are fatigued. If your tongue is bright red, it is obviously inflamed.
Nutritional deficiencies may cause this inflammation, especially if you are lacking in the B vitamins or iron. The redness is also an indication of inflammation either in the tongue itself or in other parts of the body. A purple tongue may be an indication of high cholesterol levels or poor circulation.
The texture of a healthy tongue is smooth, and the taste buds should be visible. If you have raised spots on your tongue they could be from broken veins of capillaries. If you are fatigued or really stressed, your tongue may develop ulcers.
Ulcers can also develop on your gums and lips. If ulcers persist for more than ten days, it is best to see a medical professional. A puffy tongue may be the result of medications, allergies or an infection. A vitamin B12 deficiency can cause the back of the tongue, mouth or gums to swell.
The coating on a healthy tongue is transparent. If you experience changes in the coating, you may have an acute illness or digestive problems. A yellow coating can be the result of a bacterial or fungal infection.
A thick and furry white coating on the tongue may be due to a tongue infection, oral thrush or dehydration.
A tongue coating might also be green, pink or brown and could be the result of a buildup of bacteria. A good rinse with diluted hydrogen peroxide a few times a day and tongue brushing is helpful for this relatively benign condition.
Nutrients for Oral Health
Of course, the most important way to keep the tongue healthy is to keep the whole body healthy. A whole food diet is paramount to overall health and wellness. An over-consumption of processed foods can easily lead to nutritional deficiencies and disease. Drinking plenty of fresh, filtered water is also paramount to overall health.
Try to drink at least 8, 10 oz glasses of water per day. Another great way to keep your mouth fresh and healthy is to swish around a spoonful of organic coconut oil. This is called oil-pulling and will help keep the bacteria count in your mouth down. Do this first thing in the morning, before even brushing your teeth, for about ten minutes, and rinse with filtered water.
-The Alternative Daily