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White Coating on Tongue – Causes, Treatment, Pictures

Written by Dr.Mary

Ever wondered what the white coating on your tongue is? This is a coating made up of bacteria, dead cells as well as debris that make the tongue look white. Often seeing this condition alarms some individuals but the condition is in the majority of cases temporary and harmless. But in some cases, a white tongue can be a symptom of some serious problems.


White Coating on Tongue Causes

Tongues that have a white coating are caused by the inflammation of the papillae of the tongue. These are the projections on the tongue surface that are finger-like. Causes of inflammation include:

  • Excessive use of alcohol
  • Dehydration
  • Excessive breathing by mouth
  • Smoking
  • Fever

Other conditions associated with these white patches or any other discolorations on the tongue include:

  • Some medications
  • Leukoplakia – can be precancerous
  • Geographic tongue – condition giving the tongue a map-like look
  • Oral lichen planus – chronic, autoimmune disorder
  • Syphilis – bacterial infection spread by contact sexually
  • Oral thrushyeast infection that is also referred to as candidiasis

A white tongue can also be a buildup of sulfur compounds on the tongue. These compounds are developed by anaerobic bacterium which grows under the surface of the tongue. Anaerobic means “no oxygen”. This is why this bacterium grows under the skin – because there is little oxygen there.

A white tongue accompanied with a throat that is sore might be due to a streptococcal infection or infection by other bacteria. Inflamed or injured areas of the tongue are very vulnerable to infectious microorganisms such as streptococcal bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus, pathogenic fungi or the herpes virus.

A white tongue may be due to a trauma to the tongue, which can make the tongue more apt to infection. The traumatic causes of injury to the tongue include:

  • Corrosive or acid chemical burn
  • Blisters or ulcers
  • Biting the tongue
  • Burning the tongue
  • Canker sores
  • Laceration or cut
  • Dental appliances, dentures, or misaligned or jagged teeth

If you are concerned about changes in the tongue, your tongue hurts or if the white tongue continues for longer than about two (2) weeks, make a visit to your dentist or primary care physician.

White Coating on Tongue Treatment

A white tongue is normally harmless, and may be helped by using a tongue scraper to brush the tongue as well as drinking more water.

A list of things to do that could help with a white tongue includes:

Green tea

Drinking green tea can help with eliminating the bacteria in your mouth

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Do not use mouth wash

Using mouth wash dries out the mouth because of the alcohol that is the base for most mouth wash. This only makes the white tongue worse.

Scrape the tongue

An inexpensive tongue scraper can rid the tongue of any existing coating or you can just use the toothbrush

Drink lots of water

This will prevent dehydration and good oral hygiene and prevents the accumulated food particles

Gargling warm water

Using warm water to gargle especially after eating helps

Avoid sugary foods

These foods promote the growth of bacteria and fungi

Yogurt

Contains natural probiotics that stops the growth of bacteria as well as candida fungi. Probiotics also help to improve digestion

Oil pulling

This is a favorite of many and it not only gets rid of the white coating on the tongue, it actually will help detox the entire body and it is easy to do. Take cold pressed organic sesame seed oil that is non-toasted and swish this around the mouth for fifteen (15) to twenty (20) minutes. The results from oil pulling can be amazing but keep this in mind – do not gargle the oil – you only want to swish it around the tongue and mouth and pull it through the teeth. Also do not swallow this oil because it is filled with bacteria. After you are done, spit it out and rinse the mouth out with plain water.

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White Coating on Tongue Pictures

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