Why does my tongue change colour?

5th May 2021

Why does my tongue change colour?

In a pitch perfect world your tongue is pink, dark or light, with a thin white coating. It has many papillae on the top and sides, these are small, fleshy bumps that give the top of the tongue that rough texture. But your tongue can change colour, normally nothing dramatic, but a change can indicate that something might be going on internally and your tongue is sending you signals.

Red Tip

If the tip of your tongue is flaring up bright red, it can mean you are under mental or emotional stress. Isn’t that crazy? It’s just another reminder of how amazing and intuitive our bodies are. The colour will settle down as soon as your stress levels do.

Yellow Tongue

More than likely a yellow tongue is caused by not looking after your teeth properly or smoking. But on the extreme end, it could signify liver or stomach problems.

White Tongue

A white tongue is not the usual thin, white film that’s on your tongue, it’s a thick heavy white coating. This is known as Leukoplakia, and normally appears in heavy smokers. It gradually builds up so it can often be missed, which is one of the gazillion reasons that routine dentist appointments are important. Thrush can also appear on the tongue, as a white layer of cottage cheese, it’s often associated with diabetes or a weakened immune system.

Red Tongue with a Map!

This is known as a geographic tongue, it’s red and white with patterns mapped out on it. We don’t know why this occurs, but it is nothing to worry about. All normal.

Brown Tongue

Nine times out of 10 you’re drinking too much coffee! If it’s permanently brown, it’s more than likely related to heavy smoking.

Blue or Purple Tongue

Make an appointment to see a doctor. This is a sign that there is a lack of oxygen in your blood, and could be an early indicator of heart problems.

Pale Coloured

This normally means you’re in need of a vitamin boost – Vitamin B12 and Vitamin A to be precise. Upgrade your meal-times to include carrots, spinach, sweet potatoes for the vitamin A and eat more fish and beef for your B12 injection.

Black and Hairy tongue

Wow! Right? This actually can happen when there’s a consistent build up of bacteria or you’re a heavy smoker. Best way to combat it is to keep brushing and flossing twice a day.

If you’re tongue is freaking you out in some way, and you believe something looks odd, don’t google it, go talk to your doctor or dentist and all will be well.
tongue colour chart


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