Women health

Why does my tongue change colors

The tongue is a small, muscle organ that can actually come in a variety of hues, despite the fact that you might think it only comes in one color. The color of a tongue can change to red, yellow, purple, or any other shade, and certain medical disorders can even affect how it looks.

Your tongue's color may vary, but it doesn't necessarily mean that your health is at its best.

If you're unsure of whether the color of your tongue qualifies as "healthy," keep reading to find out what each conceivable shade signifies and when you should consult a physician.

Tongue color of a normal, "healthy" person

A "typical healthy" tongue has features that are common to all tongues, despite modest variations in appearance. It should be pink with just a hint of a whitish surface layer.

On a healthy tongue, there are many papillae. You can taste and eat food more easily because of these tiny nodules that are present on the surface.

Unhealthy' tongue colors

If the color of your tongue is not as it should be, you may have a health problem. Other tongue colors and their potential meanings are listed below.

1. Red tongue

 A simple B vitamin deficiency that can be treated with supplements could be the cause of a red (not dark pink) tongue. Your tongue may also turn red as a symptom of Kawasaki disease, scarlet fever, and eczema. Geographic tongue is a rare but unharmful disorder where your tongue has white borders and red areas.

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2. Purple tongue

 Your tongue turning purple could be a sign of heart issues or poor blood flow generally. In Kawasaki disease, a purple tongue is possible.

3. Bluetongue

A blue tongue could be an indication of inadequate blood oxygenation. Lung issues or kidney disease may be to blame for this.

4. Yellow tongue

Using chewing tobacco or smoking can cause your tongue to appear yellow. The yellow tongue is occasionally related to jaundice and psoriasis.

5. Gray tongue

 Your tongue could occasionally turn gray due to digestive problems. Eczema or peptic ulcers might also be to blame.

6. White tongue

 In general, white spots that develop on the tongue's surface are the reason why it is white. Typically, fungi infections like mouth thrush are to blame for them. These patches can be healed using antifungal drugs. Leukoplakia or oral lichen planus, which appear as white lines, are two benign disorders that can also result in a white tongue. Leukoplakia can develop into cancer on occasion.

7. Brown Tongue

 This is normally unharmful and is brought on by your diet and beverage intake. Tobacco usage, a bad habit that may result in oral cancer symptoms including blisters in the tongue, is another cause of brown tongue.

8. Black Tongue

 The most typical explanation for a dark brown to black tongue is germs from bad dental hygiene practices. Another potential reason for a black tongue is diabetes. Your papillae may occasionally grow in number and seem hairy, which is a sign of the benign disorder known as the hairy black tongue.

Chinese medicine diagnoses tongue infections

Practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) have long used tongue readings to make health diagnoses. The tongue itself is regarded as a symbol of your general health in accordance with TCM beliefs.

According to TCM, the tongue can be observed in four primary areas:

1. Color

 In TCM, tongue color is regarded as the most crucial sign of all. Long-term color changes that are abnormal could be an indication of problems with vital body organs like the heart, liver, or kidneys.

2. Coating

TCM adds that while a healthy tongue should have a thin, whitish coating, a thicker coating may be a sign of an urgent problem with your bladder, stomach, or intestines.

3. Moisture

In TCM, the tongue's wetness is also examined. A tongue that is excessively dry is precisely the opposite of "dampness" in your body, which is indicated by too much moisture.

4. Shape

The form of your tongue is another crucial sign of health according to TCM. For instance, a thin tongue could be a sign of fluid loss.

Clinical investigations are also utilizing these TCM tongue principles. This is particularly true of tongue color. According to one study, color had an accuracy rate for disease identification of around 92 percent.


Long-term color changes

From day to day, your tongue could appear a little darker or lighter. However, any persistent changes in the hue mentioned above should be cause for a trip to the doctor.

Change of size or shape

An alteration in the appearance of your tongue, such as swelling, odd lumps, or thinning, warrants a visit to the doctor.

Moisture or coating changes

It's important to pay attention to any changes in moisture and coating, especially if you observe a thick layer of whitish or yellowish film on your tongue. This kind of coating could spread to other mouth regions, which might be an infection.


When you go in for your annual physical, the doctor might notice changes to your tongue. The doctor should be consulted, nevertheless, if you observe any tongue changes between yearly visits.

While performing a check-up, your dentist will also examine your tongue for indications of an infection or oral cancer.

What to keep in mind

The tongue is a frequently-overlooked bodily organ that can offer a wealth of information about your general health, even though you may not regularly "see" it.

So that you can spot any potential changes right away, it's crucial to clean your tongue every day. While brushing your teeth, use a tongue scraper or your toothbrush to do it.

Any changes to your tongue that remain longer than two weeks should be examined by a doctor.

Continue reading while keeping your health in mind.

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