A white tongue not only looks odd, but if left untreated, it’s a strong sign of a breath problem, something no one wants to have.
Tongue cleaning is a practice that most people in the United States don’t engage in every day. Yet it’s not particularly time consuming, nor is it hard to do. A healthy tongue should be slightly moist, smooth and somewhat pinkish in color.
The first explanation of this issue is a disease called oral thrush. This is an infection, caused by the overabundance of the fungus known as Candida. Another, more serious cause of the condition is a chronic disease in the body.
White spots and patches and coating of the tongue are an indication of several medical conditions. There are likely to be other possible causes, so ask your doctor about your symptoms:
- A side effect of broad spectrum antibiotics
- Oral candidiasis
- Leukoplakia – white tongue or mouth lining
- Keratosis pharynges – white lumps on the tonsils
- Jaundice (which causes a yellow tongue)
- “Lie bumps” – small dots, usually at the tip of the tongue
- Oral thrush
- Steroid inhalers
- Fluticasone asthma puffers
- Immunosuppression and immunosuppressive medications
- Chronic illness
- Epstein-Barr virus
- Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
- Mechanical trauma to tongue
- Oral manifestations of skin conditions
- Oral lichen planus
If the tongue is in good health we can enjoy various tastes, and if digestion is good, it mirrors itself by a healthy, clean and pink tongue.
Apart from the conditions listed above, this problem can also be caused bycertain types of foods; excessive use of same taste, like sweet, sour, salty, etc.; very hot beverages like tea, coffee, etc.; smoking, chewing tobacco, prolonged fever, illness, indigestion and constipation.
Your taste buds are like soft little nubs, called papillae. Separating the papillae are furrows where food and bacteria can accumulate, turning your tongue white and your breath icky. The smell occurs because bacteria create sulfur compounds.
Here’s another way to temporarily keep the problem at bay: brush your tongue. Gently clean your tongue with a small amount of toothpaste whenever you brush your teeth. Some people will need more extreme measures.
In these cases, white tongue can be removed with a tongue scraper. Alternatively, some toothbrushes have a brush head on one side and a scraper on the other, just for this purpose.