Teeth Imprints on Your Tongue, Can It Be Serious?

Scalloped tongue, lingua indentata, crenated tongue, crenulated tongue, or simply teeth marks on side of tongue all refer to a condition when there are indentations along the sides of your tongue. This usually happens when the tongue compresses against the adjacent teeth. However, should you worry about teeth marks?Why does it happen? Is there anything you can do about it? Keep reading to learn more.

Possible Causes Teeth Marks on Tongue

In order to avoid teeth marks on the tongue, you need to determine the underlying cause first. Here are some reasons why you may develop this problem.

1. Dental Issue

Do you have a narrow teeth arch? This may be the reason why you have teeth marks on your tongue. With a narrower teeth arch, your teeth start pressing on the side of your tongue. Similarly, an ill-fitting denture may also compress the sides of the tongue and cause scalloped tongue.

2. Enlarged Tongue

The adjacent teeth may start to press on your tongue if it is swollen due to any reason, such as hypothyroidism. Your tongue may also swell a bit if your body starts retaining excess water.

3. Sleep Apnea

People with a sleep disorder like sleep apnea may have teeth marks on tongue. With this disorder, your tongue falls back when you sleep and causes obstruction. When your tongue is in this position, it is easy to press your teeth marks on the side of the tongue.

4. Vitamin and Mineral Deficiency

Nutrition deficiency of vitamin B-12 and folate can cause the tongue enlarged, which furtherly can make you develop scalloped tongue. To deal with this condition, you can specifically take the vitamin B-12 and folate supplements.

5. Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism refers to a condition in which your thyroid glands fail to produce enough thyroid hormones. It affects the way your body uses energy, which may also lead to a swollen tongue and face. Sometimes, you also notice swelling of the face, including thickened lips, swollen eyelids, and swollen tongue which is among the most obvious causes of scalloping.

6. Spleen QI Deficiency

You may have spleen QI deficiency if your tongue is scalloped, fissured, and swollen. It usually happens when your spleen fails to do its job and in turn affects your digestive system. You may also have a pale face and tongue with severe fatigue and loss of weight.

7. More Causes

You may develop teeth marks if you start gridding, clenching, or pressing your tongue against your dental arches in times of stress.People with sinusitis may also develop this because the condition causes their tongue to swell.

How to Deal with Teeth Marks on Tongue

While you do not need to worry about having teeth marks most of the time, you may still consider taking some steps to prevent this from happening. Here are a few suggestions:

  • The most important thing is to ensure there is enough space between your teeth when you are not chewing food. This will keep you from applying constant pressure on the tongue that leads to teeth marks.
  • You may consider going for hormone replacement therapy if you have a swollen tongue due to underactive thyroid glands. You will not have to deal with a scalloped tongue when your tongue returns to its normal size, which is very much possible by treating thyroid deficiency.
  • Taking supplements to treat vitamin B12 deficiency also helps. This will help reduce teeth marks if the deficiency is the culprit.

In addition, you can consider including foods in your diet that helps nourish your spleen. This will help treat spleen QI deficiency. Here are some of the foods as well as herbs and spices that you can eat to nourish the spleen:


Herbs and Spices

Yellow squash, aduki beans, kidney beans, mung beans, pumpkin, chicken, parsnips, celery, fish, turnips, lychees, alfalfa, beetroot, millet, barley, oats, carrots, yams, sweet potatoes, root vegetables, etc.

Cayenne pepper, pepper; Dill seed; 


Horseradish, Cinnamon; Ginseng

Other Common Issues on Tongue and What It Tells About Your Health

Teeth marks on tongue tell a lot about your health and even help identify certain underlying disorders such as sleep apnea. You can also check the tongue to find out more about other issues. For instance:

1. Yellowish White Layer

Yellowish white layer on your tongue usually means you have an imbalance in the gallbladder's bile secretion.

2. Pimples on the Tongue

This usually means you have tiny inflamed spots on your tongue, which usually indicate poor digestion. It also means there are food remnants in decomposition in your large and small intestines.

3. Cracks in the Tongue

Having shallow cuts on your tongue usually means you have problems in the colon walls. You may also find mucus on your tongue with cracks in the middle region, which indicate malabsorption, especially of B-vitamins.

4. Tongue Color to Monitor

Just like the texture, the color of your tongue also tells a lot about your overall health. For instance:

Tongue Color



It means there isn't enough hemoglobin in your blood. You may also feel tired. Food rich in vitamin C and iron help to resolve the issue.


It indicates inflammation on your tongue and may also be due to nutritional deficiencies in B-vitamins and iron.


It may indicate you have low oxygenation of the blood with high cholesterol levels. A purple tongue may also be the outcome of poor circulation. See your doctor if your tongue is regularly purple.


It means you may be feeling dehydrated and this may be the outcome of excessive alcohol use and smoking. In some cases, it also represents a yeast infection.


It indicates an overgrowth of yeast and bacteria and is common when you are taking antibiotics. Brushing your tongue properly will help resolve the issue.


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