Mouth and Tongue Signs of Disease

tongue

If the eyes are windows to the soul, the tongue is a window to the digestive system. Tongue, lips and mouth abnormalities may give you warning signs of problems with the gastrointestinal tracts. It is a complex system with multiple organs interconnected with one another. In this article, we will show you the most common tongue signs of disease you need to look out for.

Having said the above, we should not take each sign in isolation and draw a conclusion without first consulting your healthcare practitioner. The information in this article is for general information only, and it should not replace your healthcare practitioner.

A healthy tongue should be evenly pink in colour with tiny nodules (taste buds) dotting the entire landscape of the tongue. The surface of the tongue should have no cracks, evenly sized, larger at the back with a slight narrowing toward the tip.

Lips fissures

lips-fissure

Lips fissures or perioral dermatitis is a form of Cheilitis which is an inflammation of the lips. The development of cracks on the lips is usually an indication of Vitamin B deficiency (1), particularly B2 Riboflavin, B3 Niacin, B6 Pyridoxine and B12 Cobalamin.

The skin on lips becomes dry and flaky, followed by wrinkles develop on the lips. As Vitamin B3 deficiency progresses, the lips lose elasticity and begin to crack. Subsequently, in many cases, the cracks and fissures are so deep they bleed. Sometimes the dryness and fissures extent to the skin surrounding the lips. The lips feel raw, hot and painful when moved, such as eating or speaking. Lips fissures often occur alongside angular stomatitis and tongue fissures which is one of the most common tongue signs of disease.

Angular stomatitis

angular-stomatitis

Angular stomatitis appears as fissures in the corners of the mouth where the skin at the edge of the mouth becomes dry and develop callous. As skin dryness worsens, it loses elasticity and starts to crack, thus developing fissures and often bleeding. In consequence, moving the mouth for speaking and eating becomes very painful. Sometimes angular stomatitis accompanies by lips fissures and buccal mucosa where the corners of the mouth become inflamed, red, hot and painful to touch.

Angular stomatitis is a sign of several vitamin B deficiencies such as B2 Riboflavin, B9 Folate and B12 Cobalamin (2).

Tongue fissures

tongue-fissure

Tongue fissures are an advanced form of vitamin B deficiency (3), and it is a possible indication for a leaky gut condition and gastrointestinal candida overgrowth.

Typically a deep main fissure developed vertically in the middle of the tongue with smaller crevices branching out of the middle line. In some tongues, instead of a large central vertical fissure, multiple smaller cracks may develop horizontally throughout the tongue.

Enlarged tongue

tongue-enlarge

The shape of a healthy tongue is wider at the far end and slightly narrows toward the tip. In an enlarging tongue, the tongue is widening toward the tip and filling the space inside the lower jaw. As a consequence, the tongue is pushing against the back of the teeth, creating teeth marks where the perimeter of the tongue appears serrated. Furthermore, the tongue may also look redder than normal would. Swelling and redness of the tongue may start from the tip and progresses to the entire tongue.

The enlarged tongue is one of the most common tongue signs of disease. It is indicative of vitamin B deficiency and in particular, is B3.

Purple/magenta tongue

tongue-purple

Purple or magenta tongue is an indication of adrenal insufficiency, causing a blood stasis in the tongue (4). The tongue appears blueish red and may also be swollen. It is indicative of vitamin B2 deficiency.

Pale tongue

tongue-pale

In contrast to the purple tongue, the pale tongue is an indication of the lack of blood supply to the tongue, making the tongue appears pale. Paleness of tongue is common with iron deficiency and insufficient red blood cell production. Along with Iron deficiency, B12 is also a common vitamin that is lacking in pale tongue condition. Usually accompanied by iron/B12 deficiency symptoms such as fatigue, paleness, chills, cold extremities, poor memory, heart palpitation, etc.

Inflamed red tongue

tongue-red

Glossitis is another name of tongue inflammation where the tongue appears deep strawberry red, feel sore and tender to touch (5). The inflamed tongue is indicative to B12 and also Iron deficiencies (6) and often accompanied by B12 deficiency symptoms such as fatigue, depression, forgetfulness, irritability, anemia, low red blood cell count and tingling sensation extremities. Glossitis is commonly occurring alongside atrophic glossitis.

Smooth tongue

tongue-smooth

In atrophic glossitis, there is atrophy of taste buds on the surface of the tongue resulting in the loss of tastes. The surface of the tongue becomes smooth and red from inflammation. Smooth tongue commonly occurs in conjunction with inflamed tongue and an indicative of Iron and B12 deficiencies (7, 8).

White coating on the tongue

tongue-whitecoat

White coating on the tongue is easily the most common condition most people have today, and it is the reason why tongue scraper is invented. White film coats the tongue starts from the far back and radiates the front. The colour of the film can range from white to yellowish-white. This condition is indicative of intestinal yeast overgrowth with the most common being Candida Albicans (9). Quite often, this condition exists with vaginal thrush. White coated tongue sufferer commonly also suffers from gastrointestinal disorders such as gas bloating, flatulence, colic as well as skin conditions.

The white coating is usually prevalent upon waking and gradually diminishes as the day progresses, after meals. Therefore, to properly assess white coating, it is important to check your tongue in the morning upon waking.

The coating on the tongue is one of the most common tongue signs of disease, nearly all who suffer from some kind of digestive issue will have this symptom.

Geographic tongue

tongue-geographic

Also known as migratory glossitis where the tongue has a patchy white coating on it along with the loss of taste buds in patches. It is a sign of the prevalence of yeast overgrowth in the gastrointestinal tracts (10).

If you have health concerns contact our Naturopath Bernard Chu at 0412 723 823 or email: bernard@greenheartnaturalhealth.com.au for an obligation free discussion about your health condition.

Online consultation is also available for your convenience.

References

 

Related information

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tongue

If the eyes are windows to the soul, the tongue is a window to the digestive system. Tongue, lips and mouth abnormalities may give you warning signs of problems with the gastrointestinal tracts. In this article, we will show you the most common tongue signs of disease you need to look out for.

Having said the above, we should not take each of this sign in isolation and jump to a conclusion without first consulting your healthcare practitioner. The information in this article is for general information only, and it should not replace your healthcare practitioner.

A healthy tongue should be evenly pink in colour with tiny nodules (taste buds) dotting the entire landscape of the tongue. The surface of the tongue should have no cracks, evenly sized, larger at the back with a slight narrowing toward the tip.

Lips fissures

lips-fissure

The skin on lips becomes dry and flaky, followed by wrinkles develop on the lips. As Vitamin B3 deficiency progresses, the lips lose elasticity and begin to crack. Subsequently, in many cases, the cracks and fissures are so deep they bleed. Sometimes the dryness and fissures extent to the skin surrounding the lips. The lips feel raw, hot and painful when moved, such as eating or speaking.

Lips fissures or perioral dermatitis is a form of Cheilitis which is an inflammation of the lips. The development of cracks on the lips is usually an indication of Vitamin B deficiency, particularly B2 Riboflavin, B3 Niacin, B6 Pyridoxine and B12 Cobalamin.

Angular stomatitis

angular-stomatitis

Angular stomatitis appears as fissures in the corners of the mouth where the skin at the edge of the mouth becomes dry and develop callous. As skin dryness worsens, it loses elasticity and starts to crack, thus developing fissures and often bleeding. In consequence, moving the mouth for speaking and eating becomes very painful.

Angular stomatitis is a sign of several vitamin B deficiencies such as B2 Riboflavin, B9 Folate and B12 Cobalamin.

Tongue fissures

tongue-fissure

Tongue fissures are an advanced form of vitamin B deficiency, and it is a possible indication for a leaky gut condition and gastrointestinal candida overgrowth.

Typically a deep main fissure developed vertically in the middle of the tongue with smaller crevices branching out of the middle line. In some tongues, instead of a large central vertical fissure, multiple smaller cracks may develop horizontally throughout the tongue.

Enlarged tongue

tongue-enlarge

In an enlarging tongue, the tongue is widening toward the tip and filling the space inside the lower jaw. As a consequence, the tongue is pushing against the back of the teeth, creating teeth marks where the perimeter of the tongue appears serrated.

The enlarged tongue is one of the most common tongue signs of disease. It is indicative of vitamin B deficiency and in particular, is B3.

Purple/magenta tongue

tongue-purple

Purple or magenta tongue is an indication of adrenal insufficiency, causing a blood stasis in the tongue. The tongue appears blueish red and may also be swollen. It is indicative of vitamin B2 deficiency.

Pale tongue

tongue-pale

In contrast to the purple tongue, the pale tongue is an indication of the lack of blood supply to the tongue, making the tongue appears pale. Paleness of tongue is common with iron deficiency and insufficient red blood cell production. Along with Iron deficiency, B12 is also a common vitamin that is lacking in pale tongue condition. Usually accompanied by iron/B12 deficiency symptoms such as fatigue, paleness, chills, cold extremities, poor memory, heart palpitation, etc.

Inflamed red tongue

tongue-red

Glossitis is another name of tongue inflammation where the tongue appears deep strawberry red, feel sore and tender to touch. The inflamed tongue is indicative to B12 and also Iron deficiencies and often accompanied by B12 deficiency symptoms such as fatigue, depression, forgetfulness, irritability, anemia, low red blood cell count and tingling sensation extremities. Glossitis is commonly occurring alongside atrophic glossitis.

Smooth tongue

tongue-smooth

In atrophic glossitis, there is atrophy of taste buds on the surface of the tongue resulting in the loss of tastes. The surface of the tongue becomes smooth and red from inflammation. Smooth tongue commonly occurs in conjunction with inflamed tongue and an indicative of Iron and B12 deficiencies.

White coating on the tongue

tongue-whitecoat

White coating on the tongue is easily the most common condition most people have today, and it is the reason why tongue scraper is invented. White film coats the tongue starts from the far back and radiates the front. The colour of the film can range from white to yellowish-white. This condition is indicative of intestinal yeast overgrowth with the most common being Candida Albicans. The white coating is usually prevalent upon waking and gradually diminishes as the day progresses, after meals.

The coating on the tongue is one of the most common tongue signs of disease, nearly all who suffer from some kind of digestive issue will have this symptom.

Geographic tongue

tongue-geographic

Also known as migratory glossitis where the tongue has a patchy white coating on it along with the loss of taste buds in patches. It is a sign of the prevalence of yeast overgrowth in the gastrointestinal tracts.

If you have health concerns contact our Naturopath Bernard Chu at 0412 723 823 or email: bernard@greenheartnaturalhealth.com.au for an obligation free discussion about your health condition.

Online consultation is also available for your convenience.