Have you ever noticed white patches on your tongue? It may be the result of bacteria, debris or dead cells getting lodged between inflamed or enlarged papillae. Papillae are fingerlike projections on the surface of your tongue. Dehydration, fever, a diet low in roughage, excessive use of alcohol, breathing through mouth, tobacco use and smoking are the common causes of white tongue. In most cases a white tongue is a harmless symptom. However, there are some rare cases in which having a white tongue maybe indicative of a serious condition. While most people get a white tongue because of poor oral hygiene, others might have it despite having healthy oral hygiene habits.
Read below to know some common causes of white tongue:
1. Oral thrush
Oral thrush is referred to a fungal infection which may cause white tongue. Candida yeast can be the reason behind oral thrush. It causes white patches in the mouth and tongue. Oral thrush is a fungal infection which may cause pain during eating or drinking. If you have a weak immune system, you are more prone to risks of oral thrush.
2. Oral lichen planus
This is an inflammatory condition which results in thick and white patches of skin on mouth and tongue. These white patches may also be accompanied by painful cheeks, gums and ulcers.
Yes, a sexually transmitted disease (STD) like syphilis can also be the reason why you have white tongue. If left untreated, syphilis can cause sores in the mouth.
This condition also results in white patches on tongue and mouth. Regular smokers and alcohol drinkers are likely to have white tongue because of leukoplakia. Irritation from dentures and inflammatory conditions may also cause leukoplakia. White patches causes by leukoplakia are usually harmless.
Treatment of white tongue
For treating oral thrush, antifungal medicines are recommended. Persistent white tongue should be monitored by your doctor to prevent it from getting worse. This is the case with leukoplakia and oral lichen planus.
In case of syphilis, you need to treat it with antibiotics which destroy the bacteria that caused the disease. Quitting smoking and cutting down on alcohol intake can also help in getting rid of white tongue.
Preventive tips for white tongue
1. Maintaining proper oral hygiene is the most effective way to prevent white tongue. Brushing teeth twice a day and flossing teeth regularly are some effective ways of maintaining proper hygiene.
2. Cleaning your tongue with tongue scraper can also help in preventing white tongue.
3. Make sure you visit your dentist every 6 months to ensure proper oral hygiene and prevent white tongue.
4. Using probiotics can also help in preventing white tongue. This is because probiotics contain bacteria which are beneficial for the digestive system.
5. Another effective home remedy for preventing white tongue is eating raw garlic. Garlic can help in fighting infections caused by candida.