For those of us who can’t be bothered to visit the doctor, there’s an easy at-home test that will expose any secret health concerns and potentially save your life; all you need is a spoon!
During a recent taping of the TODAY Show, Dr. Natalia Azar shared her one-minute self-exam with host Matt Lauer, explaining that this simple action can detect anything from gum disease to diabetes and kidney disease. Yikes!
So how does it work? All you need to do is scrub your tongue with the base of a spoon. Then, place the spoon in a plastic bag. Put the bag directly under a light source and wait for a minute. Once the minute is up, you’re going to take a whiff of the spoon—yuck, we know!
According to Dr. Azar, a healthy tongue’s coating should be clear. So if you don’t notice any off-putting smell or questionable layer on your spoon, then there’s no cause for concern. But if you notice a foul odor and/or a thick, discolored cover on your spoon, your body is trying to tell you something.
Fortunately, bad breath is usually a sign of gum disease or tooth decay. While not entirely pleasant, these issues are easily fixable. However, if you sniff your spoon and notice a fruity smell, you could have an undetected case of diabetes. An aroma of ammonia potentially signals kidney disease, and any other abnormal scent might indicate gastric or lung problems. In any case, it’s best to seek out a doctor immediately if you think something is not normal.
That said, this simple spoon test is probably the best way to know how your breath smells to other people. So if you scrunch up your nose after smelling your spoon, it might be time to pop in a Tic Tac. Better yet, why not brush your teeth?
NEXT: These celebrities are all battling a serious health condition.
Jillian Michaels Health
Jillian Michaels: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
The fitness guru and former The Biggest Loser coach has become somewhat of an ambassador for PCOS, a hormonal condition that affects the skin and menstrual cycle, after speaking out about it candidly. Because PCOS sufferers have a low chance of pregnancy, Jillian adopted a baby girl.
Lena Dunham Health
Lena Dunham: Endometriosis
The Girls star was diagnosed with endometriosis, a disease where uterus tissue grows outside the uterus, after years of chronic stomach pains. She had surgery in 2015 to treat the disorder.
"Two days after the surgery, I was better than I had been in ten years," she said. "The illness, nausea, heaviness, and fatigue were replaced by an alien absence of sensation."
Tom Hanks Health
Tom Hanks: Diabetes
In 2013, the actor revealed on _The Late Show _ that he had Type 2 diabetes.
Selena Gomez Health
Selena Gomez: Lupus
After being diagnosed with the autoimmune disease, which attacks cells, the pop star canceled her 2013 tour and took a hiatus to focus on treatment.
“I was diagnosed with lupus, and I’ve been through chemotherapy," she said. "That’s what my break was really about. I could’ve had a stroke."
Bret Michaels Health
Bret Michaels: Heart Disease
After suffering a mini stroke in 2010, the Poison frontman has had to undergo heart surgery. He's been in and out of hospitals since.
Charlie Sheen Health
Charlie Sheen: HIV
In 2015, the actor announced on the Today show that he's HIV positive. Since then, several former sexual partners have sued Charlie, claiming the actor had put them at risk for an infection.
Elisabeth Hasselbeck Health
Elisabeth Hasselbeck: Celiac Disease
The talk show host revealed she struggled with the disease, which affects the digestive system, in her book, The G Free Diet. "No matter what I ate, I would soon be doubled over with cramps, awful indigestion, diarrhea — or all of the above simultaneously," she wrote in the book.
She now follows a gluten-free diet.
Lady Gaga Health
Lady Gaga: Lupus
In 2010, Gaga told Larry King she was diagnosed with "borderline lupus."
Venus Williams Health
Venus Williams: Sjögren’s Syndrome
The tennis star had to withdraw from the US Open in 2011 after being diagnosed with the disorder, which is a disease that attacks the cells that produce saliva.
“The fatigue is hard to explain unless you have it,” Williams said. “Some mornings I feel really sick, like when you don’t get a lot of sleep or you have a flu or cold. I always have some level of tiredness. And the more I tried to push through it, the tougher it got.”
She still battles with the disease.
Halle Berry Health
Halle Berry: Diabetes
The actress was diagnosed back in 1989 after she passed out and slipped into a coma during a taping of a TV show. "They told me I might lose my eyesight, or I could lose my legs," she said. "I was scared to death. I thought I was going to die."
Kim Kardashian Health
Kim Kardashian: Psoriasis
After finding flakey, red patches on her legs in 2011, she went to a dermatologist who diagnosed her with the skin condition on an episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians.
Missy Elliott Health
Missy Elliott: Graves’ Disease
After disappearing from the music world, the rapper reemerged in 2015 and blamed her absence on a rare thyroid disease. "It causes hair loss, your eyes bulge,” Elliott said. “My blood pressure was always up from just overworking.”
Thanks to medication, Missy has the condition under control.