The Tongue: An Indicator Of Health


The tongue is one of the strongest groups of muscles in the body, and performs a number of important functions, from aiding in the chewing process when eating, to communicating through speech. The tongue is the primary organ of taste, and has a large number of taste buds on the surface to aid this function. Saliva helps to keep the tongue moist, and it can also be used as a natural aid to cleaning teeth. A lot can be read from the appearance of the tongue, which can be an important indicator of health. Upon visual examination, a healthy tongue should appear pink and covered in white papillae containing the taste buds. There are a number of changes that can indicate health problems, from a change in colour to textural changes.


The Tongue: An Indicator of Health. The appearance is black and hairy – hence the name! This is caused by a build-up of dead cells on the tongue that cannot be removed by the body as quickly as they appear. This condition can cause bad breath and nasty tastes in the mouth. Although it looks like hairs have grown, they are not actually hair and do not require changes to the care routine. The condition is not serious, and can be an indicator of poor oral hygiene, or caused by some medications, foods and drinks. It normally clears up without intervention. A YELLOW COLOUR is also caused by a build-up of bacteria, and an improved oral hygiene routine can help to clear this up.
BROWN SPOTS on the tongue can be a sign of a much more dangerous condition. These appear initially as a more dark red patch on the tongue, and darken to brown in localised areas. This can be a sign of melanoma, a dangerous form of cancer that is better treated the earlier it is discovered. This type of cancer spreads to different areas of the body, and can be fast acting. Dark patches on the tongue should be investigated by a medical professional as soon as they are noticed for the best chance of successful treatment if they do turn out to be cancerous.

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