These scalloped indentations are caused by the enlarged tongue pressing against the inside edges of the teeth.
There are many factors that can change what a person’s tongue looks like. Nowhere is this need for accurate diagnosis more critical than with hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism and the Tongue
Dr. McKay often observes enlarged tongues with scalloped edges (due to pressing against the teeth) in people with years of low thyroid function. When there is a decrease in the thyroid function, the glands may enlarge, shrink or change shape and therefore they cause the scalloped tongue.
If you are not able to absorb micronutrients from your food and supplements then your thyroid will have a tough time doing its job. Not only is the thyroid directly connected to our digestive system, but a scalloped tongue is often the “canary in the coalmine” signalling that some aspect of your health is amiss.
Hypothyroidism produces so many disturbances within the body that it generally would also surface in the form of TMJ, which also produces a scalloped tongue. As with the scalloped tongue, a sore tip of the tongue is not a separate disorder but a symptom of a condition or a result of an action that hurt it.
What Else Causes Scalloped Tongue?
A scalloped tongue may indicate a low thyroid, hormonal imbalance, yeast overgrowth, liver disease, or a weak immune system. The tiny bumps on the tongue called papillae” fall off, causing patches, but they’re able to grow back.
Symptoms of Scalloped Tongue
A scalloped tongue is an important symptom that you should talk to your doctor about.
The swelling of the tongue body indicates Phlegm while the partial swelling on the left side often indicates a weakness of the channels on that side.
This scalloped appearance is also the hallmark of the condition known as macroglossia. Scalloped or crenated tongue can result from the deficiency of thyroid hormones. At the same time, a swollen tongue can also be a symptom of hypothyroid, sleep apnea or TMJ.
Additionally, toxins can hamper the thyroid and tongue in a couple of different ways:
1) they can have a blocking effect on the cell receptors so the thyroid hormone has a tough time doing its job inside of the cells
2) there is also some evidence that these toxins can actually damage the thyroid gland.
When To See a Doctor For Tongue Diagnosis
What is also interesting about tongue diagnosis is that it is a useful way to track your own condition. If your tongue is healthy, then most often your thyroid will also be healthy.
If a person experiences this type of discomfort for a prolonged period of time it is always best to seek medical attention to uncover the underlying condition that resulted in the soreness of the tongue.
The diagnosis was confirmed by the response to the proper therapy. However, in spite of the available blood tests for thyroid/pituitary/liver/adrenal function, the diagnosis is often missed.(1,2) One of the most common mis-conceptions regarding thyroid function is the assumption that and reliance on the requirement that the diagnosis of hypothyroidism depends on an elevated TSH level. With so many different symptoms and so many different organ systems potentially affected by thyroid system dysfunction, one might think that a diagnosis would be easy.
Treatment For Scalloped Tongue
One of the first things my doctor noted on my exam was my scalloped tongue. Further, a malfunctioning thyroid gland is often the cause of a scalloped tongue. Though there are no known cures or treatments for scalloped tongue, this condition is completely harmless.
While sometimes this medicine is effective, there are cases in which you’ll need to take the thyroid medication for life, because the pituitary glands stop making hormones.
On the left, we see swelling: Thyroid disorders can cause goiter, or swelling of the thyroid gland. The shape and size of the tongue tends to address the status of fluids in the body.
What Your Tongue Says About Your Health
So, you can learn a lot by looking at your tongue. This is an adaptation of one of my most popular blog posts titled Look At Your Tongue! In that article I talked through some of the most important things that you can learn about your health by looking at your tongue. I discovered that my tongue was in fact enlarged.
Hopefully, studying your tongue was enlightening and will help you identify possible underlying issues with your thyroid health. Diagnosis of hypothyroidism is important because much of its symptomology corresponds to conditions associated Deficient Spleen Qi and Yang with Dampness.