White Tongue – Causes Treatment Prevention. In this article, you will read the causes of white tongue, how to recognize white tongue, treatments of white tongue, prevention of white tongue, and much more. A white tongue indicates the state of health. Several more or less serious pathologies can be the cause.
The tongue usually has a pinkish-red colour and a relatively smooth appearance. It can however happen that it takes a whitish aspect with more or less pasty texture. This appearance is most often transient, and not serious. Note that, depending on the cause, the coating may take on a specific appearance. A whitish tongue is indeed a multi-entry symptom.
White Tongue – Causes Treatment Prevention
Causes Of White Tongue:
In the majority of cases, a whitish tongue is explained by an accumulation of bacteria and cellular debris as well as a thickening of the papillae present on the surface – this is also called the coated tongue. The coating that covers it can be removed by scraping the tongue. The causes are many and varied. They range from a simple localized infection to an alteration in the general state of health of the person, or even illnesses.
-In the most frequent cases, a white tongue is of infectious origin, caused by a fungus (or mycosis). This is called candidiasis, or oral thrush, most often developed after treatment with antibiotics. Bacteria unbalance the digestive flora and allow certain fungi to develop in large quantities in the mouth and digestive tract.
-Insufficient oral hygiene, which can lead to bad breath, is also called halitosis. Brushing too short and/or badly done, or abuse of alcohol-based mouthwashes can lead to an imbalance of the oral flora. Certain foods can also help promote the formation of a deposit.
-In more serious cases, the white tongue is a side effect of anti-cancer treatment.
-Canker sores, occurring after a burn (drink or food too hot) or a dental addict (after the break of a crown or dental appliance) can also lead to the appearance of a white tongue.
-Gastric reflux is the common cause of white tongue. The acidity of the stomach which goes up towards the oesophagus creates a permanent irritation at the level of the digestive tract and the mouth.
-In some cases, constipation can cause the tongue to turn white. Stagnation of stool in the colon unbalances the intestinal flora and over time, the flora of the entire digestive tract and mouth.
-Tobacco, stress, and taking certain medications (antidepressants, antihistamines) modify the quantity of saliva and its quality, which can also be the cause of a white tongue, under the effect of drying out.
-Finally, the origin can be allergic. Eczema or psoriasis can sometimes be associated with a white tongue.
-In infants, especially when breastfed, the tongue may turn white after feeding. Nothing serious, it is only a deposit of milk. On the other hand, if this white colour persists between each feeding, the possibility of thrush due to a fungus cannot be ruled out. In this case, it is necessary to consult to treat this infection which risks irritating the baby.
How To Recognize A White Tongue?
The whitish deposit can be more or less thick, covering the whole tongue or appearing only on certain well-localized areas, giving the impression of stains. The deposit can be painful, burn, cause difficulty in swallowing, and give a metallic taste to the mouth. This is why it is important to consult a doctor because it is all the symptoms that will help him to guide his diagnosis.
White tongue – When To Worry?
It is recommended to consult your doctor urgently if the white tongue appears suddenly. On the other hand, if it settles gradually, over several days, it is always better to see a doctor, dentist or dermatologist, but without haste.
The general practitioner will first carry out a clinical examination of the tongue. If he suspects an infectious origin, he will request an analysis by taking a sample of the deposits from the tongue (biopsy) and a blood test.
Treatments For White Tongue:
To make a white tongue disappear, it is necessary to treat its cause. And to each cause its solution. The doctor may prescribe an anti-reflux for gastric problems, an antifungal in case of candidiasis, and antibiotics in case of bacterial infection.
Prevention For White Tongue:
Generally, a white tongue is not a serious phenomenon. Just follow a few tips to maintain good oral hygiene:
-First, brush your teeth twice a day, except for gum disease (3 times), for two minutes each time.
-It is also advisable to pass dental floss or brushes in the interdental cavities to eliminate the bacteria deposited in too large numbers.
-Brush your tongue regularly, especially not with a conventional toothbrush.
-As for solutions for mouthwashes, they must be alcohol-free, unless prescribed by a doctor
-Medical mouthwashes are not intended for long-term use, otherwise, the oral flora will be unbalanced. There are also specific mouthwashes, designed for cases of halitosis.
-You can also sprinkle your toothbrush with a little baking soda. It reduces the acidity of the mouth and promotes the proliferation of good bacteria.
-Finally, don’t forget to drink enough water and eat a healthy diet. A fermented plain yoghurt without sugar helps maintain the bacterial balance of the tongue and intestine.