You may have seen many times doctor’s examining their patients tongue. In fact tongue is an indicator that reflects the state of health besides pulse and body temperature. For example a dry tongue may indicate dehydration, or a pale and glossy tongue may indicate anemia and vitamin deficiency. White coated tongue is often observed in people who are having good state of health, as well as in people who are suffering from disease condition.
Though an alarming and annoying condition, in most cases white tongue is not harmful. After few days, the coating may disappear.
What Causes A White Coating On Tongue?
Several reasons are responsible for white tongue. If your tongue appears white very often when you get up in the morning, it means you need to take care of your oral hygiene. White tongue may also appear when you breathe through your mouth during sleep. This is because your tongue becomes dry when you breathe continuously through your mouth.
The surface of tongue is made up of thousands of tiny papilla which are useful for sensing the taste and temperature of the food. They may get inflamed due to several reasons. When dead cells, debris and bacteria get deposited between the inflamed papilla your tongue may appear white. Several factors trigger inflammation, such as dehydration, smoking, alcohol, dry mouth and living in unhygienic conditions.
Your tongue may become white when you are taking certain medicine which is responsible for causing dryness in your mouth.
Medical conditions can also cause white tongue:
- Oral Thrush, a Candida yeast infection of the mouth is the commonest conditions that can cause patchy white tongue.
- Leukoplakia: it is a white patch on the tongue or in the cheek. Leukoplakia is a precancerous stage of oral cancer. A smoker or those who chew tobacco are at a risk of suffering from leukoplakia.
- Lichen planus, a skin condition very rarely appears on tongue, but it is one of the causes for white tongue.
- Geographic tongue: often your tongue may appear like a map with few white patches here and there. It is a harmless condition; many people refer it as a map tongue.
Home Remedies To Get Rid Of White Tongue
In most cases, white tongue is temporary and may need no treatment. Simple home remedies may be effective in majority of cases. However, if you are a smoker or if you are chewing tobacco, it is necessary to consult your doctor at the earliest.
- Primarily, maintaining a good oral hygiene is what it takes to get rid of white tongue. Brush your teeth regularly; gently scrape the accumulated debris early in the morning from the tongue surface with the help of tongue scraper.
- In certain conditions such as oral thrush, do not scrape the tongue with the tongue scraper. It may cause bleeding and pain. The simple home remedy for oral thrush is salt water mouthwash. To prepare it at home, add ½ tsp of common salt in a glass of warm water. Dissolve the salt completely and swish the solution in your mouth for few seconds and spit the rinse. Follow this procedure two to three times in a day.
- Apply yogurt on the oral thrush. Yogurt contains colonies of good bacteria that help to normalize the bacterial flora of the oral cavity if the cause is Candida infection.
- Eating yogurt also helps to balance the bacterial flora of the whole gastrointestinal tract.
- Quit smoking and tobacco chewing, as it is one of the reasons for white tongue. Besides it is also a cause for precancerous condition called leukoplakia.
- Eat a balanced diet that is rich in vitamins and minerals, since it helps to enhance your immunity and effective aid in controlling yeast and other fungus infection.
- Drink sufficient water and fluid to counter dehydration, as dry tongue caused due to dehydration is a reason for white coated tongue.