Tongue coverings What does the tongue say about our health?
The tongue is a real all-rounder: Without it many everyday things like tasting, speaking, sucking or swallowing would not be possible. The tongue is also a reflection of health. It shows countless changes and illnesses.
Diagnosing diseases by looking at the tongue
Open Your Mouth and Stick Out Tongue: In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the consideration of the tongue is one of the most important diagnostic methods. For thousands of years, the appearance of the tongue has diagnosed diseases. Today, Western school physicians are also coming to terms with the condition of the tongue.
When the color, shape or coating of the tongue changes
A healthy tongue shows up pink with a light white coating. Their surface is moist, smooth and even.
However, if it looks distinctly different, and not just for a few hours, it may be an indication of a condition.
"Health disorders manifest themselves as the color, shape or coating of the tongue changes," Dr. Uso Walter, a low-level ENT doctor from Duisburg and chairman of HNOnet-NRW in an earlier communication.
"For example, the tongue may be thicker or thinner, more heavily covered or reddened, or there may suddenly be dental marks on the edge of the tongue."
What the color changes of the tongue can say
According to health experts, a tongue that is not only occasionally blackened may indicate leukemia.
Behind a permanent, strong yellow tongue coating may possibly be a disease in the liver-gall area.
Brown discoloration may cause problems in the digestive tract. A greyish tongue may be an indication of anemia, and a blue-stained organ might have a lung disease behind it.
And what many have been able to find out about themselves: A thick white coating often occurs in the case of a cold or gastrointestinal disorder.
Biochemical processes have not yet been clarified
"What biochemical processes in tongue coloring in the body exactly, is scientifically not yet clarified," said the naturopath René Graeber from Preetz in Schleswig -Holstein in a recent news agency dpa.
According to graves, the acidity in the body could play a role. If, for example, the yellow-brown bile, which is important for the digestion of fat, gets out of balance due to illness, then the acidity of the bile is also disturbed.
"That could be an explanation for a yellow coating of the tongue, which is in connection with the bile, be", so the non-medical practitioner.
According to a study published in 2015 in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (eCAM), changes in amino acid breakdown and degradation may contribute to a brownish tongue coating in gastritis.
Unilateral plaque or swelling
But there are not only color changes. So the tongue can be about shiny and smooth on the surface, then there is talk of a "lacquer tongue".
"This occurs in deficiency symptoms of vitamins or minerals," explained Prof. Andreas Filippi, Specialist in Oral Surgery at the University Center for Dentistry in Basel in the dpa report.
A burning sensation or tongue inflammation may also indicate a vitamin deficiency.
If the tongue is permanently red in color ("raspberry" or "strawberry tongue"), then there is probably a scarlet fever disease.
Sometimes there is also a one-sided coating on only one half of the tongue. This may be related to a nervous or middle ear infection.
A swollen, brown discolored tongue may indicate a kidney weakness. And the so-called "map tongue" - an uneven surface on which dental impressions can be seen - indicates, according to graves, disorders in the digestive tract.
Harmless discoloration due to food
A short-term visible surface is generally no cause for concern. For example, blueberries can turn the tongue blue without any illness behind it.
A coating on the tongue may or may not necessarily indicate an illness. Through a daily tongue check in front of the mirror you can find evidence of possible diseases.
Prof. Dirk Esser, chief physician of the Department of Otolaryngology at the Helios Klinikum Erfurt recommends in the dpa report to observe the appearance of the tongue regularly, preferably in daylight and ideally immediately after getting up.
Because then the tongue is not yet discolored by food or drink. If anything abnormal is noticed, this should first be discussed with the family doctor first.
Diseases of the tongue
In addition to the indications of diseases, there are also diseases that affect the tongue directly. These include tumors, aphthae and fibroids. "Tumors often start in the form of 'sores' or ulcers," Dr. Walter.
"Even palpable hardening of the tongue with an intact surface can indicate tumors." In turn, aphthous are circular or oval milky-yellowish structures that trigger inflammation of the surrounding mucosa.
Although they are very painful, they usually disappear after a few days. Fibromas, ie small benign mucosal nodules, are usually found on the midline of the tongue. These connective tissue tumors require clarification by an ENT specialist. (Ad)