Have you ever wondered why your doctor always asks you to stick your tongue out, as a part of consultation?

Well, there are several reasons behind it as the colour, texture, coating of your tongue will reveal many clues about your health conditions to the doctor, in no time.

A healthy tongue colour is usually pink and dotted with small nodules called papillae. Any discoloration, staining, tinting and pain could be a cause of concern.  

White Tongue: A tongue white in colour indicates several health issues including oral thrush – a yeast infection, leukoplakia in which the cells in mouth multiply. Oral thrush is a common condition especially in infants and those who wear dentures or with weaker immune systems. A white tongue is also common among diabetics, asthmatic patients.

Leukoplakia is commonly found with those chewing excessive tobacco and can indicate cancer. Consult your doctor immediately, if you find an excessively white tongue.

Red Tongue: A bright red tongue can be indicative of vitamin deficiency like folic acid and B 12. A reddish appearance while running high temperature indicates scarlet fever and may require antibiotics. If you find the tongue as bright as a strawberry especially in the kids below 5 years with high fever, it could be a sign of Kawasaki disease a dangerous syndrome that needs immediate medical intervention.

Black Tongue: A black tongue often indicates poor dental hygiene practices as it harbours the growth of bacteria. People suffering from diabetes, patients undergoing chemotherapy on regular use of antibiotics may develop black tongue.

Sore Tongue: If you have pain in your tongue and it appears bumpy, you may likely be suffering from mouth ulcers. Also known as canker sores, these bumps could be result of stress, lack of vitamin and usually heal on own without any treatment. However, if you are suffering from annoying, painful sore or a bump for more than 2 to 3 weeks, get tested for oral cancer.