A healthy tongue is colored pink, covered with papillae and small nodules that are on the surface of the tongue. When your tongue appears white, this means bacteria, food debris, and dead cells have been lodged between your inflamed papillae.
White tongue is usually temporary and harmless, but it can also be mean an infection or some serious medical condition.
What Causes a White Tongue?
Our tongue is normally pink with small and rough nodules that are covered by our taste buds. A white tongue is an indication of debris, bacteria or food implanted between the nodules. Sometimes it may only temporary, but it can also be a sign of a serious medical condition.
The most common causes are listed below.
This is the most common cause of white tongue. Also known as dry mouth, this condition can occur when there is a decrease of saliva production by the salivary glands in your mouth. Being unusually dry is a side effect of certain medications.
Fever can occur when your body temperature rises and is often accompanied by a white tongue.
Infection is first noticed by a white tongue. Several infections noted include a bacterial infection such as oral herpes virus infection, strep throat, hairy leukoplakia and syphilis, seen mostly in HIV/AIDS patients.
Reactions to some medications that cause a white coating on your tongue include antibiotics or steroid drugs which is used for conditions such as sinusitis and asthma.
5. Oral Thrush
A thick and white-coated tongue may indicate the presence of Candida. Cottage-cheese-like patches are present on your tongue.
Poor Oral Hygiene
When an individual does not brush or scrape their tongue on a regular basis, a white coating may result. That is why oral hygiene is very important.
Signs and Symptoms of White Tongue:
White tongue can be a symptom in itself or may even be exposed due to other symptoms.
- Bad breath
- Burning sensation
- Loss of appetite
- Dry mouth
- Difficulty Chewing
- Fatigue and other flu-like symptoms such as sore throat, cough, fever, body aches
- Rough tongue surface
- Swollen tongue
- Swollen gums
- Rash or blister near mouth
- Rough tongue surface
How to Get Rid of White Tongue Naturally
It is very important to focus on creating balance in your digestive system. There are some natural ways to remove your white tongue coating and improve your digestion at the same time. Below are some ways you can try:
Garlic contains allicin, which is a compound that helps in fighting the fungal bacteria known as candidiasis. By using one clove each day or an organic raw garlic supplement, you can treat white tongue caused by oral thrush.
2. Oil Pulling
Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic practice, which is used to treat a white tongue coating. Before you brushing your teeth every morning, swish a tablespoon of either pumpkin seed oil or extra virgin coconut oil in your mouth for about 15 minutes. Then spit out the oil, and then rinse your mouth with warm water.
Oregano oil is a natural antibiotic which contains antibacterial, antiviral, antioxidant anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties. This oil has been proven to successfully treat candida and prevent oral thrush, according to a 2010 study, which was published in the Brazilian Journal of Microbiology.
Intestinal flora plays a major part in the digestion process, and an imbalance of the good bacteria can lead to oral thrush, Candida and a white tongue coating. A high-quality probiotic supplement can help in balancing the bacteria in your body and prevent and treat Candida-related problems.
It is recommended to take a probiotic twice daily, at least one with 5-10 billion active organisms.
4. Sea Salt
Sea salt is one of the most common and natural remedies in removing bacteria. It also removes the coating of white tongue. Also, its natural components may enhance your body cells.
Mix sea salt with water to use as a rinse. You can also use it to brush your teeth and tongue.
When to See a Doctor
You can consult your dentist, if you see a white coating on your tongue. If you are not already using a tongue scraper, they will likely recommend it.
If the white coating continues to be an issue, consult your doctor. Most especially if your tongue hurts and the condition lasts for longer than a few weeks.