Pink flair

The tongue is the strongest muscle in the human body. Probably a clich√© by now. A crocodile’s tongue is attached to the roof of its mouth. Meh. Your tongue is all whitish and that’s okay. Sure thing. Wait, what?

Yup. Pink and ruddy-looking tongues are by default the reference standard for what is healthy. That’s true…to some extent. This particular reference is also not easy to chance by. Unless you are part of the population that has naturally pink tongues(not cool to stick them out in pics) or you are a slayer who loves red lollipops, chances are your tongue is not evenly pink.

Don’t gross everyone around you by sticking it out to confirm. You have been living with it all your life. You should know what your tongue looks like. Reptilian tendencies aside, the folks at have some answers as to why white may not be such bad attire for your strongest muscle, though it could be. Here are some of them:

Keratinized epithelial cells: The tongue is a rough organ. If you don’t believe me, let a cow lick your hand. Our texture is just scaled down a bit. The nature of the tongue’s job demands such an uncouth attitude. Shoving food into chopping equipment & then pushing the mutilated remains into an acid pit is not a softie’s job.

That whitish color could be due to a tough coat that keeps the tongue from injury as it goes about its business. It is made of a tough protein called keratin( the same stuff that makes hair). That keratin coat is continually shed as you swallow your chow or saliva. Since you eat less and drink more, ideally, swallowing fluid accounts for the most shedding. If you ain’t drinking enough water, the keratin builds up and you get a flamboyant white coat.

Lunch’s leftovers could be a cause for that whitish covering as well. Food debris from previous meals can build up and it is naturally white because of the enzymes in saliva painting the debris white. Blame this one on poor oral hygiene.

Spoils of war: The tongue, much like everything else in the human body, engages in a sport of bacteria-killing in its free time. It has a habit of decorating its armor with its defeated foes. Dead bacteria make good coats. They come in white too.

A worthy opponent: Fungal infections can wreak havoc if they find a compromised immune system. While all the other causes result in a somewhat even coating, a fungal attack is not so organized. Patches of white appear here and there. Kids get this more than adults. Modern medicine can provide a cure, but tarry not. Health villains can be a nasty lot.<

Eating overly soft foods way too much can reduce the tendency for the keratinized coat to be shed, simply because it is not being worked hard enough.

Addendum: Do not use sharp/rough objects to try and get rid of the white color. It will only grow more prominent as the tongue will produce more keratin in a bid to protect itself from the irritation. Just practice good oral hygiene, vary your diet, drink plenty of water, and don’t fall sick(Almost sounds sarcastic. Prevent what you can.). You will have done your part. Whoever has issues with your choice of oral decor can go lick a lollipop.

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