From white spots to red bumps, a number of diseases can show up on your tongue. Here’s what to know about tongue pain and tongue disease.

The part of your body most directly connected to the appearance of your tongue is the epithelium of the stomach. After all, that’s the next step for food after it passes your mouth. Often the quality of the mucus lining is seen on the lining of the tongue.

1. Acid Tongue – Acid tongue represents the symptoms of occasional heartburn. When stomach acid builds up and begins moving upwards, it irritates the stomach, esophagus, mouth and tongue. This leaves your tongue looking very red, dry, and smooth.

2. Movie Star Tongue – The movie star tongue looks red, smooth, and moist – almost perfect when actually it isn’t. When there is excess acid in the stomach, the tongue will reflect this by turning red. Your tastebuds will retract as well, giving it the smooth appearance. Your tongue becomes moist because of the amount of mucus your body produces to protect the lining of your stomach.

3. IBS Tongue – The IBS tongue looks smooth, wet, and pale reflecting intestinal irritation and stress. We’ve already covered why the tongue looks smooth and wet, but the paleness reflects the stomach actually stopping the production of stomach acid to protect the intestinal wall from further irritation.

4. Stress Tongue – This tongue will have many small cracks on it and is very dry.

5. Boggy Tongue – Boggy tongue is usually representative of a digestive problem that has been solved. The result is a pale, wet, coated, and even swollen tongue depending on your body type.

6. Swollen Tongue – A swollen tongue may suggest a congested lymphatic system backing up into the cervical lymph nodes, tonsils, adenoids, and tongue. Look for other signs of lymph congestion to confirm this.

7. Wet Tongue – A wet tongue can be due to excess kapha (mucus) from a severely irritated stomach lining, intestinal wall, undigested proteins like casein or gluten, or from excessive stress.

8. Ama Tongue – Ama, in Ayurveda, refers the the accumulation of improperly digested food that clogs the intestinal tract. The tongue builds up a thick coating that covers it completely. If there is a build up on the back of the tongue, that could represent a buildup of toxins in the large intestine.

9. Malabsorption Tongue – This tongue usually has teeth marks on the sides of the tongue. It will also look discolored, reddish in one area, pale in another, and pink somewhere else.

10. Spinal Or CNS Stress Tongue – When there is a deep crack running down the centre of the tongue, it can represent chronic stress in the central nervous system or spinal stress caused by injury.

11. Dry Tongue – A dry tongue shows a that the stomach does not have the proper hydration it needs to properly digest foods. Without adequate hydration, the stomach will not produce acid and the tongue often becomes very dry and slightly pale.

12. Pale Tongue – A pale tongue suggests a lack of good stomach acid and digestive enzymes needed to properly digest food and deliver the minerals, vitamins and nutrients needed for optimal health. Sometimes this can also be a sign of anemia.

13. Based on the normal variations between body types, a perfect tongue will be:

Pink – not pale, scarlet, or red.

The pinkish color would be consistent across the entire tongue.

You would be able to see small cylindrical taste buds on the entire top surface of the tongue.

It would be not too wet and not too dry – it would be just right!

You would not see any cracks on the tongue.

There would be a very thin white coating of mucus on the tongue.

There would be no teeth marks on the sides of the tongue.