Your tongue is a small but strong muscle that you use frequently but probably don’t think about much. Throughout your day, it is hard at work helping you chew your food, keep your throat clear, and of, course speak. While your tongue has a lot to say throughout the day, there are some important things it may need to say just to you. Check out these 12 things your tongue can alert you to if it experiences changes in color, texture, or sensation.

12. You Are Low on Vitamin B12

Bright Red Tongue

A smooth, shiny, bright red tongue may be a sign of a lack of vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is critical for the formation of the healthy red blood cells that carry oxygenated blood to your tissues. A lack of red blood cells can bring about a condition known as vitamin deficiency anemia. Other symptoms of this condition may include weakness, numbness, irritability, fatigue, and diarrhea. Those at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency include people with absorption issues, individuals with certain autoimmune diseases, and strict vegans or vegetarians.

11. You (or Your Child) May Have Kawasaki Disease

Kawasaki Disease

Kawasaki disease is a disorder that typically affects children under the age of five. According to the Mayo Clinic, this disease may cause inflammation of the arteries, mouth, and lymph nodes. A bright red tongue shows up in the first phase of this disease, along with fever, red skin, and swollen lymph nodes. In phase two, the skin of the hands and feet may peel off. Lastly, in phase three, these symptoms gradually subside. To prevent heart damage, contact your physician if a fever lasts more than three days or if symptoms are severe.


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