Scalloped Tongue & Vitamin Deficiencies

Vitamin Deficiencies and a Swollen Scalloped Tongue

You might not think about it much, but your tongue can give you some serious clues about the state of your health. A swollen, scalloped tongue can often be one of the first signs of vitamin or mineral deficiencies.

Indentations on your tongue may also signal more serious issues, including problems with your thyroid. If you have a scalloped tongue, make an appointment with your doctor for a physical to determine what could be causing the problem.

Read more: 10 Weird Signs You’re Not Getting Enough Nutrients

Scalloped Tongue and Vitamin B12

According to a small study published in BMC Oral Health in May 2016, vitamin B12 is one of the most important nutrients for oral health. In addition to a swollen, scalloped tongue, vitamin b12 deficiency may cause tongue pain, a red tongue, mouth ulcers, cracks in the corners of the mouth, itching and burning.

A deficiency in vitamin B12 doesn’t just affect your tongue and mouth, warns Harvard Medical School. It can also cause:

  • Numbness or tingling in the hands, legs or feet
  • Difficulty walking
  • Balance problems, like staggering
  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty thinking (brain fog)
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Anemia

Because low vitamin B12 levels can cause such a wide array of symptoms, this condition can be tricky to diagnose. As Harvard Medical School points out, early detection and treatment are important since an untreated deficiency can lead to severe nerve damage and blood disorders.

In most cases, a vitamin B12 deficiency is treated with either dietary supplements or vitamin shots. The type of treatment you receive depends on why you developed this problem in the first place. If your diet was simply lacking adequate amounts of vitamin B12, you may be able to correct a deficiency with supplements. However, if you have difficulty absorbing vitamin B12 from food, you may need injections.