What the Marks on Your Tongue Mean

Last update: 08 November, 2022

Your tongue is a part of the body that can give us signs about the general state of your health. When you are in good health, your tongue will look reddish, be all the same colour and have a hydrated texture. If your tongue is a different colour or marks in certain areas this may point to an imbalance in your body.

Traditional Chinese Medicine allows us to interpret the condition of our tongue in order to prevent and recover from certain illnesses. If you look at your tongue from the front, you’ll see that there is:

  • a middle region: which relates to the stomach and spleen
  • sides: which relates to the liver and gallbladder
  • an interior part: which relates to the kidneys
  • a tip of the tongue: which relates to the heart

The colour of the tongue

The colour of your tongue indicates which organs are in good or poor health. Yellow colours relate to the gallbladder, liver and stomach. A green tongue relates to the liver.

Grey is normally linked to the liver and intestine.

White is an indication of anemia, kidney or hormone trouble, bad circulation or poor nutrition.


The specific marks on your tongue that will help you to determine the state of your health include:

A yellow-white layer

If a yellowish or white layer covers the tongue then it is likely that there is an imbalance in the gallbladder bile secretion. This causes digestive problems. Food that has not been digested properly, moves to a state of fermentation or decomposition and converts to toxins.

Teeth marks on the sides of the tongues

This is normally a sign of bad digestion. There may be a lack of minerals and nutrients as they are not absorbed correctly in the small intestine. It can usually be accompanied by coughing up white mucus.

Spots on the tongue

Spots on the tongue are a sign of poor digestion. These spots are inflamed and caused by the remnants of food decomposing in the small and large intestine.

Cracks in the tongue

Cracks in the tongue can look like deep or shallow cuts. They normally occur in the middle of the tongue and it indicates problems in the colon walls. This is the part of the intestine where aggression from toxic acid takes place, indicating poor digestion. It is possible that there might be mucus on the tongue too.

Mucus in the throat and mouth

Mucus in the throat and mouth is a sign of poor digestion which has created toxins that the body is trying to get rid of. Poor digestion normally causes heartburn which also creates mucus. There may also be a bitter taste in the mouth due to the presence of bile.

Mouth ulcers

Ulcers are a sign of bad digestion in which there is inflammation in a part of the gastrointestinal tract. This can occur the day after you have already passed the food.

Marks may appear outside the mouth, on the corners or form scabs.

To improve your digestive health, you should improve your diet and detox your body to eliminate any harmful toxins. You could also take a natural supplement to improve your digestion. Oil rinses can also help. They aid the cleansing process of the digestive system and keep the tongue and mouth in good health.

Images courtesy of Mike Burns