19

votes

can the condition of your tongue indicate health?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 04, 2011 at 3:44 PM

before paleo, i had a semi white/pasty tongue. i scrubbed, brushed, and scraped at it and it would always go back to the same wall paper paste color. up to this point, my diet was fairly healthy (imo), only water, minimal processed foods, no fast food, but i did eat bread/carbs/grains and moderate amounts of sugar.

back in march when i went paleo VLC for a month, my tongue went to a nice pink color. i was shocked. it was nice to see a clean tongue that looked healthy. anyhow, i eventually introduced white rice and tubers back into my diet (and occasstional ice cream :) ) and remained gluten free. i dont quite remember exactly when, but the white/pastiness came back. yuck!! i was kind of grossed out.

fast forward to today, i started vlc again on 8/1 and my tongue is now pink again.

so my question is.... is your tongue a health indicator as many have claimed? is the white stuff just a growth of the excess sugar in a persons diet? will i live longer now that my tongue looks good hanging out when i drive with the window down?

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on November 03, 2012
at 07:38 AM

Just because there isn't peer reviewed research on a topic doesn't mean it isn't true

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on November 03, 2012
at 01:06 AM

How is this pseudo... it's not even pseudo-science, getting voted up?

41dfb1a4fecb38d24075ff52f13ccb28

on August 06, 2011
at 10:02 PM

Well I do know they always list tongue problems in the list of celiac symptoms. Also, I know Robb Wolf talked about this guy's tongue swelling after gluten here: http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2010/09/19/paleo-diet-solution/ But at the same time, a swollen tongue can also be a symptom of hypothyroid, sleep apnea or TMJ. I just happened to notice mine was associated with gluten.

F4aff43df6a8a49a1c3879c1233ee560

(459)

on August 06, 2011
at 04:02 PM

I can shrink my tongue?! Years ago an orthodontist told me that if I wanted my recently correct teeth to not get pushed apart agian, I would have to surgically reduce the size of my tongue or glue my teeth together. Would love some references on this!

06f46afda9ee3ca7f0070a3caa294a91

(305)

on August 05, 2011
at 05:09 PM

that is a cool site. i feel good but it seem as though there is much room for improvement.

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on August 05, 2011
at 03:15 AM

here's an overview that I randomly found from googling http://www.theayurvedictongue.com/knowledge.php I'd suggest Vasant Lad's book "Ayurveda: The Science of Self Healing - A Practical Guide" for a really nice overview

C471216c9fb4fcf886b7ac84a4046b49

(1371)

on August 05, 2011
at 01:22 AM

any links i can read about this...???

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on August 05, 2011
at 12:05 AM

I have a very large tongue so I still have tooth marks but at least the yellow film is gone!

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on August 05, 2011
at 12:03 AM

I'm 64 and had a yellow tongue my whole life no matter what I did. It was pink within 2 months of going paleo and has stayed that way, but even a one-day cheat brings the first traces of yellow back.

65430e39d7e9e9322718d016fe668051

(2944)

on August 04, 2011
at 11:54 PM

Love stories like this! +1

65430e39d7e9e9322718d016fe668051

(2944)

on August 04, 2011
at 11:53 PM

Yup my acupuncturist looks at the tongue for signs of health

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on August 04, 2011
at 09:49 PM

In ayurvedic terms, a white coated tongue is a build up of kapha qualities, and people of that constitution have tendencies to have problems like tonsillitis, bronchitis, and lung congestion.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on August 04, 2011
at 07:42 PM

I've always had that scalloped tongue thing. My acupuncturist says it is because of sugar and grain, but even when I've been 99% paleo for a year I still have it. I think some people just have tongues that might be a little big in comparison to their teeth arc.

41dfb1a4fecb38d24075ff52f13ccb28

on August 04, 2011
at 07:37 PM

I know I took a picture of it, but I can't figure out where it is right now. If you google "scalloped tongue" you'll see what I'm talking about. It looks like tooth sized indents around the edge of your tongue.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on August 04, 2011
at 07:24 PM

How are you seeing teeth marks on your tongue? I don't regularly inspect my tongue, I guess.

Fe87afa634afe26f4f6fd956abe0b46a

(565)

on August 04, 2011
at 07:02 PM

I totally forgot about the swollen tongue/teethmark indentations I used to get A LOT. Wow, thanks for the trip down bad-memory lane and for giving me another reminder why I don't miss gluten!

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on August 04, 2011
at 04:06 PM

Whoever you're with is prolly happy:) pasty tongues are gross

0fe73ab3e375e6d68f0e4bb9fda5ea27

(142)

on August 04, 2011
at 03:57 PM

+1 for the "will i live longer now that my tongue looks good hanging out when i drive with the window down?" question...that made me laugh out loud! :)

  • 06f46afda9ee3ca7f0070a3caa294a91

    asked by

    (305)
  • Views
    21K
  • Last Activity
    1428D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

11 Answers

5
Medium avatar

(3029)

on August 05, 2011
at 05:30 AM

Here is a site that walks you through a self-diagnosis, with pictures and explanations.

http://beyondwellbeing.com/herbs/tongue-diagnosis.shtml

It's based on traditional Chinese medicine. The problem is that you end up with information like Qi deficiency: 1.0, Cold Damp: 0.5 etc. If you don't know what that really means, it isn't a huge help, but it does give you some info along the way.

06f46afda9ee3ca7f0070a3caa294a91

(305)

on August 05, 2011
at 05:09 PM

that is a cool site. i feel good but it seem as though there is much room for improvement.

5
612c09622d41fa959953aae0c8ee86c8

(90)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:47 PM

There is something to this.

Back when I was eating SAD I saw an accupuncturist who always asked to look at my tongue. She saw that there was an indicator of GI distress, but I insisted I felt fine. This happened each time I saw her. She told me she was looking to see if there was a sort of line down the middle but I can't provide any more specifics. During this time, I also visited a Gastroentrologist for some minor stomach pain -I had history of bleeding ulcers so wanted to be extra careful. He assured me that I was fine, if I had an ulcer the pain would be much worse than I was describing.

Fast fwd a couple months and I am in the hospital for bleeding ulcers again. Neither the hospitalists, my GI doc or PCP could figure out what was causing the ulcers, ruling out the primary causes- h-plyori, NSAID use, and others. I ended up seeing a Naturopath shortly thereafter who had me tested for food allergies and came in sky high gluten intolerence.

So, Western medicine failed to diagnose and treat me, but Eastern and Nautorpathic did. 4 months later off all grains and doing great!

65430e39d7e9e9322718d016fe668051

(2944)

on August 04, 2011
at 11:54 PM

Love stories like this! +1

5
64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on August 04, 2011
at 04:10 PM

it absolutely speaks volumes about your health! Ayurvedic medicine practices have talked about this for thousands of years. I'd suggest books by Doctors Vasant Lad or Robert Svoboda.

For example, if the tongue is coated with a white film, it indicates that ama (roughly translated as toxins) exists in the large intestine, small intestine, or stomach depending on which part of the tongue is coated. A pale tongue may indicate an anemic condition, and a yellowish tongue may indicate excess bile in the gallbladder or a liver disorder. Blue (and not after blueberries) can indicate a defect in the heart.

It also gets deeper into which parts of the tongue correspond to which organs, and what the different lines may mean. Really amazing stuff.

C471216c9fb4fcf886b7ac84a4046b49

(1371)

on August 05, 2011
at 01:22 AM

any links i can read about this...???

65430e39d7e9e9322718d016fe668051

(2944)

on August 04, 2011
at 11:53 PM

Yup my acupuncturist looks at the tongue for signs of health

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on August 05, 2011
at 03:15 AM

here's an overview that I randomly found from googling http://www.theayurvedictongue.com/knowledge.php I'd suggest Vasant Lad's book "Ayurveda: The Science of Self Healing - A Practical Guide" for a really nice overview

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on November 03, 2012
at 01:06 AM

How is this pseudo... it's not even pseudo-science, getting voted up?

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on November 03, 2012
at 07:38 AM

Just because there isn't peer reviewed research on a topic doesn't mean it isn't true

4
41dfb1a4fecb38d24075ff52f13ccb28

on August 04, 2011
at 06:57 PM

I believe it. When I was recently kicking the crap out of my intestines with gluten, my tongue not only swelled, but looked kind of white and pasty with teethmarks in the side (the swelling was pushing it into my teeth). Now that the gluten is gone and I'm starting to cut through some of the inflammation it's much better. Not 100% perfect yet, but SO much better than it was. Unless I've missed something, it looks like it should be back to normal soon.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on August 04, 2011
at 07:42 PM

I've always had that scalloped tongue thing. My acupuncturist says it is because of sugar and grain, but even when I've been 99% paleo for a year I still have it. I think some people just have tongues that might be a little big in comparison to their teeth arc.

Fe87afa634afe26f4f6fd956abe0b46a

(565)

on August 04, 2011
at 07:02 PM

I totally forgot about the swollen tongue/teethmark indentations I used to get A LOT. Wow, thanks for the trip down bad-memory lane and for giving me another reminder why I don't miss gluten!

41dfb1a4fecb38d24075ff52f13ccb28

on August 04, 2011
at 07:37 PM

I know I took a picture of it, but I can't figure out where it is right now. If you google "scalloped tongue" you'll see what I'm talking about. It looks like tooth sized indents around the edge of your tongue.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on August 04, 2011
at 07:24 PM

How are you seeing teeth marks on your tongue? I don't regularly inspect my tongue, I guess.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on August 05, 2011
at 12:05 AM

I have a very large tongue so I still have tooth marks but at least the yellow film is gone!

F4aff43df6a8a49a1c3879c1233ee560

(459)

on August 06, 2011
at 04:02 PM

I can shrink my tongue?! Years ago an orthodontist told me that if I wanted my recently correct teeth to not get pushed apart agian, I would have to surgically reduce the size of my tongue or glue my teeth together. Would love some references on this!

41dfb1a4fecb38d24075ff52f13ccb28

on August 06, 2011
at 10:02 PM

Well I do know they always list tongue problems in the list of celiac symptoms. Also, I know Robb Wolf talked about this guy's tongue swelling after gluten here: http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2010/09/19/paleo-diet-solution/ But at the same time, a swollen tongue can also be a symptom of hypothyroid, sleep apnea or TMJ. I just happened to notice mine was associated with gluten.

3
Abeb5cdf2f13280e68b6f3dc61cef060

on November 02, 2012
at 09:57 PM

Hi Folks, I'm Dr. Stone, the guy who came up with the tongue-diagnosis quiz at Beyondwellbeing.com (which I just recently moved to EagleHerbs.com, but no matter.)

A quick note to "happy now", there are two causes for scalloped tongue edges. One is due to too much of something, and the other due to not enough.

The "too much" means that there is a fluid metabolism problem, this arises from the digestive system, that's why people call it candida or "sugar and grain". Basically what you're seeing with a plump tongue with teethmarks is edema in the tongue. Start eating better, and that can go away. If not, herbs are good, mostly those that "drain" or "transform" dampness. See your local TCM person for more on that.

The "not enough" reason for teethmarks or "scallops" comes down to a fatigue situation. When you get tired, your muscles lack the oomph to maintain their shape. The tongue is a muscle, and when there is fatigue, the tongue can take on the shape of its container because it doesn't have enough strength to maintain its own shape. This tongue will have the teeth indentations, but it will be thin and perhaps kind of flaccid-looking.

In both cases, one will want to support the digestive system. In the first option, you'll also want to address the fluid metabolism. In the second case, you only need to support the digestion (or "Spleen/Stomach" as we say in TCM.)

Hope that helps. -al.

3
4d661a30ded774d266cb7a839558987d

on August 04, 2011
at 08:48 PM

Ive been told a white pasty tongue is indication of candida.

1
967229edcc94a66580110324524feb49

(688)

on August 04, 2011
at 07:41 PM

Probably so. I have asthma and when I start getting sick my tongue gets a white coating often times it's got irregular circles of areas without the coating. When I was a kid my mom would look at my tongue to see if I was pretending to be sick.

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on August 04, 2011
at 09:49 PM

In ayurvedic terms, a white coated tongue is a build up of kapha qualities, and people of that constitution have tendencies to have problems like tonsillitis, bronchitis, and lung congestion.

0
Medium avatar

(238)

on September 22, 2013
at 05:48 PM

I tried every type of health practices you can imagine, including the Chinese tongue reading, herbs and tea pills, etc. Nothing cleared up my sinus issues until I gave up carbs and sugar. It is all voodoo band aid approaches that ignore the underlying issue which is you are what you eat.

0
85d9861d4a93996b110ecf18c95ffe03

on September 22, 2013
at 05:29 PM

After i stopped eating fruits because of fructose malabsorbtion the tick white coating on my tongue dissapeared

0
Abeb5cdf2f13280e68b6f3dc61cef060

on November 03, 2012
at 03:41 PM

Eazine, there's a saying in Chinese medicine (we are actually quite fond of ancient sayings since they define our medicine) that says "The earth element creates dampness and the metal element stores it."

This means that while dampness is often created in the spleen/stomach (earth element), it can easily migrate to the lungs and large intestine (metal element). This results in a cough with phlegm, diarrhea or smeary stools that require a lot of paper to clean up.

For dampness to travel form the stomach downward to the large intestine seems kind of reasonable, but for dampness to travel up to the lungs is less intuitive. Still, if you find that a big meal aggravates your asthma, or if you notice some bloating, gas, gurgling when you have asthma, there is likely a connection there.

Not all asthma comes from a digestive problem, though. There's also the "stress induced" kind that we call "qi stagnation". This requires a different treatment principle.

Regarding the tongue with the white coating. A "thin white coating" is considered normal in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Having ZERO coating is problematic, and having a coating that is so thick that you can't see through it to the body beneath is also problematic. But the thin white coating is okay.

-al.

0
B14dc4aa1ddefbec3bc09550428ee493

on August 05, 2011
at 03:07 AM

Check into traditional Chinese medicine. Looking at the condition of the tongue is an important part of their diagnostic method. There is a whole lot you can tell about your health from the tongue.

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!