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What are the Causes of Color Changes in Tongue?

Normally, the tongue and the papillae are smooth and pinkish red in color. Changes in tongue color can indicate many things. It can reveal a lot about our present health. Different areas of the tongue are believed to reflect the health of the different organs of the body. Color changes of the tongue may be because of an underlying condition, inflammation, pigmentation or infection. Tongue can change its color to pink, pale white, red, purple etc. Certain disorders of your stomach, liver and kidney show up on the tongue. The tongue coating often indicates the health of the spleen and stomach. Pale color of the tongue can occur when you have high fever and cold. A thin white coating of the tongue shows that you have a mild tongue infection. Conditions like leukoplakia can also develop fuzzy white patches on the tongue. The patches may also be thick and hard to the touch. This occurs due to chronic irritation from rough teeth, tobacco use and ill-fitting dentures. A deep red tongue indicates an extreme heat condition. If you have a purple tongue, it indicates that you have a poor blood flow or stagnant circulation of blood. Black hairy tongue is a condition that occurs when the papillae grow, but they do not shed. Bacteria and particles from the air can collect on these long papillae, which causes a dark brown or black color on the tongue. Tongue turns red in color when it becomes inflamed. This condition may be because of loss of papillae. Direct injury, allergic reactions, exposure to chemical irritants, nutritional deficiencies and some medications can also cause changes in tongue color.




  • Practicing good oral hygiene can help prevent black spots on tongue
  • Brush your teeth everyday. Scrape your tongue daily.
  • Flossing daily will also help in avoiding this condition to an extent.
  • Eat a healthy diet and wash your mouth after having food
  • Visit a dentist every year. For pigmentation, it is also good to see dermatologist.
  • Avoid smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Use mild mouthwashes
  • Keep good oral hygiene post tongue piercing