White Tongue: Causes, Treatments & Prevention

Video Whats it mean when your tongue is white

possible causes

why is my tongue white?

White tongue typically occurs when bacteria, debris (such as food and sugar), and dead cells become trapped between papillae on the surface of the tongue. these rope-like papillae then grow and swell, sometimes becoming inflamed. this creates the white spot you see on your tongue.

Having a white tongue can also be due to several different conditions:

  • Leukoplakia: Leukoplakia is a common condition caused by an overgrowth of cells in the lining of the mouth. these cells combine with the protein keratin (found in hair) to form a raised white patch on the tongue. In many cases, you can get this condition by getting your mouth and tongue irritated when you drink alcohol or smoke tobacco. sometimes there is no obvious cause. Leukoplakia is usually not serious, but it can sometimes become cancerous (mouth cancer) years or even decades after it first appears.
  • Oral lichen planus: Oral lichen planus is a chronic (long-term) inflammatory oral condition. it is caused by a disorder of your immune system (your body’s defense against germs) and other microscopic threats. you cannot pass this condition on to others.
  • Geographic tongue: Geographic tongue occurs while the skin of the tongue grows back. Parts of the top layer of skin on the tongue slough off too quickly, leaving red, tender areas that often become infected. meanwhile, other parts of the tongue stay in place too long and turn white. you can’t pass the geographic tongue to anyone else.
  • Oral thrush: Oral thrush is an infection in the mouth caused by candida yeast (fungus). Although candida is normally found inside the mouth, it becomes a problem when it grows too large.
  • Syphilis: Syphilis is a bacterial infection and a sexually transmitted infection (STI). it is a serious condition with many symptoms, including white tongue.
  • who is most at risk for white tongue? Is white tongue genetic?

    Certain health problems, substances, and habits can put you at higher risk for white tongue or oral thrush (an infection that causes a white patch on the tongue). These risk factors include:

    • having diabetes.
    • to be very young or very old. thrush is most common in infants and young children.
    • use antibiotics (they can cause a yeast infection inside the mouth).
    • eating a diet low in fruits and vegetables (iron or vitamin b12). eating a diet of mostly soft foods can also cause it.
    • have a fever or a weak immune system.
    • wearing dentures or damaging your tongue with sharp objects.
    • having poor oral hygiene.
    • breathe through the mouth.
    • being dehydrated, having a dry mouth due to a medical condition, or using medication (such as muscle relaxants).
    • smoking or chewing tobacco.
    • drink more than one alcoholic drink a day.
    • being treated for cancer.
    • have hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid gland that causes poor metabolism).
    • do tongue piercings cause white tongue?

      If you (or your teen) have just had your tongue pierced, you may see a white coating on your tongue. it’s normal bacterial growth that you can reduce with an antifungal mouthwash, such as nystatin (such as nystop®). You might also notice a white ring of tissue around both sides of the piercing, but that’s how your tongue normally heals from an injury.

      what are the symptoms of white tongue?

      Depending on your symptoms, your white tongue could be just that. or it could present with other symptoms.

      As the papillae (those little bumps on the tongue) are raised, they create a large surface area for debris and microorganisms (food, plaque, and bacteria) to collect inside the mouth. this buildup almost certainly causes bad breath and can leave a bad taste in your mouth. white tongue can also lead to poor gum health (such as gum disease).

Content Creator Zaid Butt joined Silsala-e-Azeemia in 2004 as student of spirituality. Mr. Zahid Butt is an IT professional, his expertise include “Web/Graphic Designer, GUI, Visualizer and Web Developer” PH: +92-3217244554

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