What Your Tongue Says About Your Health

What’s on My Tongue?
Bumps, patches, and spots in your mouth can be harmless. But sometimes, they can give clues to what’s going on with your overall health. Infections, stress, medication issues, and even aging can make their marks on your tongue. Find out what your tongue is telling you and when you should see your doctor or dentist.

White Patches
Creamy white spots could be thrush, a fungal infection (shown here). It often happens after an illness or medications throw off the balance of bacteria in your mouth. White patches that look lacy could be lichen planus, which means your immune system is attacking the tissues in your mouth. If you see hard, flat, white areas that can’t be scraped away, it could be leukoplakia, which is linked to cancer. Let your dentist know about any white patches you see.