What your tongue says about your health (7 pictures)

The human body is a pretty cool piece of machinery. With multiple systems performing at the same time, it's really a wonder that our bodies don't break down more often than they do! One cool thing about our body is that sometimes we experience symptoms of potential problems in odd places, like our teeth, feet or even our tongue.
Want to stay on top of your health? Stick out your tongue and say ahh! If you spot one of these symptoms, you may have some work to do.
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Warning: Some of the images below may appear graphic.
1. A black, hairy tongue
If you open your mouth and discover black fuzz, you might feel alarmed. However, The Cleveland Clinic says this condition is not serious. The tiny hairs (papillae) on your tongue grow your whole life, and something they become very long and more susceptible to hanging onto bacteria. A black tongue is common in people taking medication (or receiving chemotherapy), diabetics and those who don't brush very well.
2. A lump that's been there for a while
There are a few benign reasons you could have a lump on your tongue. Some common causes including irritation caused by smoking, canker sores (usually stress related), or damage from clenching your teeth.
In some cases, the presence of a lump or bump on your tongue could be an indicator of oral cancer. If you notice a lump or sore on your tongue that persists for more than two weeks, you should contact a doctor for a quick examination. Oral cancer is most common in people who smoke or drink heavily, according to WebMD.
3. White coating
White coating on your tongue likely indicates the presence of too much yeast also known as thrush. This is a common side effect for people taking antibiotics, denture wearers and children.
4. White patches
Patches of white on the tongue indicate a condition called Leukoplakia. This condition may be a precursor to cancer but is not dangerous on its own. Smokers are more likely to see these white patches. Talk to you dentists if you notice white patches that aren't going away and cannot be removed with a toothbrush, WebMD suggests.
5. Red tongue
A healthy tongue is usually light pink. If your tongue looks bright red when you open your mouth and it has a smooth surface, you could suffer from a vitamin deficiency, specifically folic acid and/or B12, according to Cleveland Clinic.
If your red tongue is accompanied by bumps and a high fever contact a doctor as soon as possible as this could indicate Scarlet Fever or Kawasaki Disease. This is most likely to present itself in children.
6. Red spots and white borders
If your tongue looks a bit like a topographic map, you could have a Geographic tongue. This is usually a harmless condition. The spots and ridges on the tongue usually move and change over time, according to WebMD.
7. Thick white coating
If you discover a thick white coating on your tongue that's painful, it could be Lichen Planus. There is no known cause of this condition and unless it becomes troublesome, should clear up on its own, though it may cause ulcers in the mouth. You may contact a doctor for oral or topical medication, according to WebMD.
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If you have any concerns about any of these conditions, talk with your doctor or dentist and make sure to share these tips with your friends on Facebook.
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