By Glen Depke, Traditional Naturopath

Did you ever notice what look like indentations on the sides of your tongue?

Did you notice these and wonder what they are?

Well, this is what I mean by teeth marks.

To be more precise, these are known as scallops and most simply refer to them as teeth marks.

Let me help you understand how and why these develop.

You see, your tongue is designed to fit into the bed of your mouth perfectly and what you tongue in inflamed, this will cause your tongue to push up against your teeth. And when you stick your tongue out, you will notice the teeth marks, or scallops as mentioned above.

What you may not know is that these markings can potentially tell you a little something about your body and your health.

Based on generations of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) these teeth marks can provide multiple different understandings for you.

This could tie into insulin resistance, spleen dysfunction or if the teeth marks are deeper, this could also tie into a deeper kidney issue.

Let’s look at all these potential imbalances a bit deeper here.

Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance is typically tied into a long-term challenge with too high of blood glucose. You see, your body requires a very narrow range of glucose and when this Is too high or too low, your body will produce either one of these two steroidal hormones of insulin (to lower blood glucose) or glucagon (to raise blood glucose.)

It is much more common in our culture that you would be dealing with too high of blood glucose, thus producing higher amounts of insulin to remove the glucose. When this is repeated over time, the cells of the body become resistant to the insulin, thus leaving you with not only too high of glucose, too much insulin as well.

This is one of the biggest challenges from a health perspective in our culture because this can also affect your brain health, hormone health and drive inflammation, just to name a few of the challenges created here.

Spleen Function

If this ties into the function of your spleen, this can create one of, or any combination of these challenges here.

Your spleen plays a role in your digestive function, immune system function as well as fluid regulation in your body. And since the spleen is almost a forgotten aspect or your body, it is good to have a potential sign to understand any imbalances in function.

Kidney Challenges

As mentioned earlier, if the teeth marks are deeper, this could tie into overwhelmed kidney function. And if your kidneys are not working optimally, this can lead to issues with toxicity, regulation of blood pressure and so much more with your body.

So if you have these teeth marks, let them be a sign for you to look further.

If you were a client of mine and we noticed the teeth marks, we would look at other signs to try to narrow this a bit.

If insulin resistance was suspect, I would recommend looking at a fasting glucose and insulin. And it is very important to look at both together because both need to be in optimal states with the glucose somewhere between 75 and 95 and insulin somewhere between 2 and 5. If either are elevated, this could be an issue for you.

If we suspect spleen issues, we would pay attention to fluid stagnation in your body. Do you tend to hold water, notice regular bloating and inflammation or pooling of fluid in your lower extremities.

You would also want to pay attention to digestive signs such as a crack or crease down the middle of your tongue or vertical ridges on your fingernails.

And if you would suspect kidney issues you may look for bumps on the root of your tongue or a reddish color or hue just below the white tips of your nails.

I would also strongly consider reviewing your hormone balance and potential of inflammation.

Understand that your hormones (specifically adrenals) will tied directly into everything listed below and more.

  • Pancreas and production of insulin
  • Systems of detoxification
  • Mucosal lining (first layer of immune defense)
  • Immune system function
  • Glucose balance
  • Pro and anti-inflammatory regulation

There is much more tied into hormone function and what is listed above, can tie directly into your recognized teeth marks.

I would also look at inflammation based on a combination of A1C, C-reactive protein (CRP) and homocysteine. And if you’re not testing for inflammation, you can simply pay attention to general stiffness, aches and pain, as they are all inflammatory type of symptoms.

Also, you may have heard of A1C as a blood glucose marker, but it is an even better inflammatory marker.

You see, when your body is inflamed, you will increase fat cell production. Increase fat cell production then leads to insulin resistance. That insulin resistance then leads to insulin surges, with and end result of creating more inflammation.

This is the dysfunctional “hamster wheel” of life that many are living with today, and if you have these teeth marks, you could be stuck here too.

So the next time you stick your tongue out in the mirror, look out for teeth marks.

And if you see these with consistency, look for the other signs mentioned and follow through with some testing.

After all, looking at these body signs are not a diagnosis, but they do provide you the insight to look further with testing to understand what may be going on within your body and how it could be affecting your health on a daily basis.

Whether you notice any symptoms or not.

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