Why is My Tongue Red?

A healthy tongue should have a healthy pink color. However, some people will occasionally discover that their tongue has taken on an unusual red hue. This will sometimes be accompanied by enlarged taste buds, transforming the top of your tongue into a strawberry-like surface. This can be caused by any of the following:

  • Benign Migratory Glossitis: Alternatively known as geographic tongue, this condition is characteristic of patterns that resemble geographic formations on the surface of your tongue. These patterns may be outlined with a thin, white border. It’s usually a benign condition, but you should talk to your dentist if it persists for longer than two weeks.
  • Kawasaki Syndrome: It’s usually only young children who experience this condition. It comes with a very high fever, and possibly a swelling in the hands and feet. Should your child exhibit such symptoms, make an appointment with your family doctor.
  • Scarlet Fever: This infection is occasionally paired with a strawberry tongue. If you are suffering from scarlet fever, you will need to visit your doctor.
  • Vitamin Deficiency: A red tongue may simply point to a deficiency of vitamin B12 or folic acid. Seek out animal products for vitamin B12, and leafy green vegetables for folic acid.