Family Encyclopedia >> Health

Show me your tongue, I'll tell you how you are

Show me your tongue, I ll tell you how you are Chewing, swallowing, speaking, savoring... The tongue is a good worker. She is also a great coffee maker, who reveals our state of health and our bruises in the soul. Explanations.

The tongue is seventeen very powerful muscles to participate in chewing and swallowing. It is traversed by a very dense network of nerves, which give it its "sensitivity" to flavors, to hot, to cold, to texture.

It recognizes the four fundamental flavors – sweet towards the tip; the salty at the level of its dorsal face, in its anterior part; sour flavors on the edges; and bitter substances far back. But it is also a very good indicator of our state of health.

Only here, like those of Molière, our dear doctors almost never examine our language seriously. Blame it on a lack of time; and even if they took it, they wouldn't necessarily know how to interpret its subtleties.

The tongue is a mirror of health

"The mouth, and the tongue in particular, are often the mirror of health, explains Doctor Didier Gauzeran, odontologist at the Hospitals of Paris. Many risky lesions are lodged there which, if detected much earlier, would save surely many lives. Consider that France is the second country in the world, just after India, by its rate of cancers of the mouth, because of the association of tobacco and alcohol. The latter amplifies by six the impact of cigarettes. The association is disastrous. Despite everything, serious lesions remain in the minority compared to dermatological, infectious or sexually transmitted sores of the tongue."

So, at least once a year, we consult a dental surgeon. Thus, "the generalist of the mouth", can direct us if necessary to one of his colleagues, an enlightened specialist in the question.

Video of the day:

What color should my tongue be?

The tongue is usually red, with some discreetly white areas due to the presence of numerous papillae. It is different from the mucosa of the inside of the cheeks, uniformly pink. Loaded, or "saburrale" as the specialists describe it, it can reveal overeating:particularly watered meal, too rich in fat, poor in fiber, poorly digested; but it can also attest to febrile illnesses (scarlet fever, herpes, etc.).

The remedy for a stuffy tongue after overeating is diet. You can also brush it with tongue scrapers.

  • Brown tongue, it indicates the subject's smoking, a strong taste for tea or coffee, or the presence of a mycosis.
  • Red and congestive tongue, it may indicate local inflammation (glossitis).
  • Red and slightly shiny tongue in the elderly, like the tongue of a "cardinal", it can signal a vitamin B12 deficiency.

Certain nutritional deficits (in vegetarians, for example) can be the cause of a smooth tongue.

The lining of the tongue can even lose its soft, cool and moist appearance, and become keratinized, i.e. harden (much like the soles of the feet), due to tobacco, mechanical irritation or dermatoses, such as lichen planus.

The tongue is an organ sensitive to stress

Some languages ​​can become "geographical":this is a sign that the taste buds have disappeared. As a result, the red under the taste buds reappears. These "depapillated" areas are more sensitive to irritants (spices, heat, etc.) and also more fragile.

"We still do not know the reasons for this phenomenon, explains Didier Gauzeran. Some areas repapillate spontaneously, while others depapillate. We speak in this case of 'migratory exfoliative glossitis', because it moves on the tongue. The healing can be spontaneous. But it remains random and extremely variable, with a strong psychosomatic component, as if the various problems of the person were nesting on their tongue. It is especially women after their forties, often menopausal, who suffer from it, with a depressive note. They consult for a language that burns (glossodynia), and often we find this geographical cartography."

Stress is sometimes expressed by psoriasis of the tongue, visually close to geographical tongues. It can also lead to the multiplication of canker sores, the appearance (or return) of herpes or the presence of lichen.

The mouth, a fragile ecological balance

While the saliva is completely sterile, the mouth is not. It is made up of a number of bacteria and fungi that live in symbiosis. But the "ecology" of this environment is easily threatened. Antibiotics and corticosteroids can destroy or promote certain strains and then allow the multiplication of others, with the appearance of candidiasis of the tongue (fungi)

Excessive hygiene can lead to the same result:"Antiplaque mouthwashes, which are supposed to improve tooth brushing, are of little use, notes Dr. Gauzeran. It is better to wash your teeth thoroughly three times a day, because medicated mouthwashes with antiseptics ruin the local ecology."

These solutions, prescribed by the practitioner, are only useful in the event of a pathology of the mouth (infectious gingivitis, stomatitis, herpes, aphtosis, candidiasis, etc.) or after surgery – for a week, no more. They should not be used without medical advice.

Read also: