Last updated on Jun 23rd, 2021 at 03:44 pm

The tongue is a strange organ. It is semi-internal; being inside the body when the mouth is closed, and outside the body when the mouth is open

This makes the tongue unique and offers a unique insight into health and what is happening inside the body.

Here are common changes in your tongue’s appearance that could be an early signal of illness and deficiencies.

READ MORE: 4 Reasons why you might have bad breath

50 Shades of pink

While the external organs like the skin may vary in colour, internal organs including the tongue only vary in colour when something is out of balance.
The tongue should be a light (but not pale) shade of pink while there is a little room for variation, knowing the healthy colour of your tongue can make it easy to detect changes.

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  • A while film for example coating the tongue can be a sign of poor oral hygiene or a yeast infection.
  • A bright pink to red tongue can be a sign of a B12 deficiency.
  • A pale pink (not covered in white) tongue can be a sign of iron deficiency and anaemia.

READ MORE: How to manage yeast infections naturally

Lumps and bumps

The tongue should never be perfectly smooth. Papilla carpets the healthy tongue and helps it perform its function when it comes to tasting food.
Other lumps and bumps can appear on the tongue as a reaction to food allergies, hot food and drink, but also signs of bad health.

Scalloping along the outer edge might look concerning, however, it is usually a result of pressing the tongue against the teeth because of stress and anxiety.
Lumps, bumps and even scalloping which may look normal could be a cause for concern if it is painful or causes abnormal numb patches across the tongue.

A dry tongue

It may be strange to think of a dry tongue when your tongue and your mouth should be where the saliva it at, but there cases where your body may not be producing enough saliva.
Diabetes, colds and other illnesses that could suggest your immune system is compromised can cause your mouth and your tongue to become dry.

Chewing sugar-free gum and using mouth sprays can help keep your mouth moisturised, however, it is important to check with your doctor for the cause of your dry mouth; to properly correct it.

READ MORE: Suffering from dry mouth?


While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.