Woman sticking her tongue out

What your tongue says about your health

Your mouth says more about your overall health than you may think, and this includes your tongue. If your tongue changes in colour or texture, this could be a sign of an underlying health concern. Our clinical director, Sarah Ramage, pinpoints what a healthy tongue looks like and what some changes could mean.

What does a healthy tongue look like?

It’s important to recognise a healthy tongue and keep an eye out for any changes. Sarah explains, “A healthy tongue is pink in colour with a slightly rough surface. What gives it this texture are the tiny bumps on top, called papillae.”

Any shift from this may signal a health issue or be a sign that you need to work on your oral health.

Changes to the tongue

Below is a rundown of some of the common changes that can happen to your tongue, and what they mean. Some changes are harmless, and due to easily treatable conditions, while some could be a cause for concern.


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Bupa Dental Care is a trading name of Oasis Healthcare Limited. Registered in England and Wales number: 03257078. Registered office: Bupa Dental Care Vantage Office Park, Old Gloucester Road, Hambrook, Bristol, United Kingdom BS16 1GW.