White tongue is a symptom where your tongue grows a thick white coating on part or all of its top. You might also experience bad breath, a hairy tongue and irritation. White tongue can look unattractive but it’s usually harmless and temporary. A white tongue occurs when the bumps on your tongue swell and trap dead cells, bacteria, and debris. Though it looks pretty gross, it usually isn’t too serious and should go away with time.
Certain health issues, substances and habits can put you at higher risk to get white tongue or oral thrush (an infection causing a white patch on your tongue). These risk factors include:
- Having diabetes.
- Being very young or very old. Oral thrush is most common in infants and toddlers.
- Using antibiotics (they can cause a yeast infection inside your mouth).
- Eating a diet with a shortage of fruits and vegetables (iron or vitamin B12). Eating a diet of mostly soft foods can also cause it.
- Having a fever or a weak immune system.
- Wearing dentures or damaging your tongue with sharp objects.
- Having poor oral hygiene.
- Breathing through your mouth.
- Being dehydrated, having a dry mouth caused by a medical condition or by using medications (like muscle relaxers).
- Smoking or chewing tobacco.
- Drinking more than one alcoholic drink a day.
- Undergoing cancer treatments.
- Having hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid gland causing poor metabolism).
However, there are a few simple methods that can be used to clear it up faster – below you’ll find some of them!
Garlic is often said to cause bad breath, but we need to disregard this as raw garlic will help to kill bacteria and cleanse the tongue.
2. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory and healing properties. To kill the germs that are causing your white tongue, place a tablespoon of aloe vera juice in your mouth, swish it around for a few minutes, spit it out, and then rinse your mouth with warm water. You can repeat this procedure several times a day.
This is one of the best helpers for cleansing the tongue. The abrasive salt particles will remove contamination and dead cells from your tongue. Simply sprinkle some salt on your tongue and lightly brush with a toothbrush for one minute, then rinse your mouth with water. Repeat this procedure twice a day.
Turmeric is an excellent alternative to antiseptic drugs for the mouth. Combine some turmeric with some citrus juice until you have a paste consistency, and then rub this paste on your tongue for 2 minutes. Once the 2 minutes have passed, rinse your mouth thoroughly with warm water.
5. Toothbrush or Scrub
Gently brush your tongue with a toothbrush or a special brush from the base to the tip. Don’t press too hard and take your time.
6. Disinfectant Mouthwash with Herbs and Salt
Add a tablespoon of chamomile, a teaspoon of mint, a teaspoon of sage, a pinch of oak bark to a bowl and fill it with 4 cups of boiled water. Wait for the broth to cool and then strain it. Then pour a tablespoon of salt into the broth. Swish your mouth with this concoction twice a day after brushing your teeth.
When to see a doctor?
White tongue is generally harmless, and may be helped by gently brushing your tongue with a toothbrush or tongue scraper and drinking plenty of water.
Make an appointment with your doctor or dentist if:
- You’re concerned about changes in your tongue
- Your tongue hurts
- Your white tongue persists for longer than a few weeks
Dos and Don’ts for a Healthy Tongue
1. Don’t Smoke or drink alcohol (obviously not for kids) 🙂
Smoking inflames the papillae of the tongue, meaning that dead cells will be able to accumulate on the tongue, which in turn creates a nice environment for bacteria to grow in. Furthermore, cigarette smoke contains chemicals that are unhealthy for mouth tissue.
Alcohol affects the tongue in 2 ways at once – it, like smoking, causes inflammation of the papillae in the tongue and dehydrates the body. Therefore, it’s better to refrain from it.
2. Drink More Water
Water helps the whole body, the tongue included. Being dehydrated is one of the main causes of a white tongue. Therefore, you should make sure that you’re drinking enough every day. Always carry a bottle of water with you so that you can replenish your water levels whenever you’re thirsty.
3. Improve Oral Hygiene
Good oral hygiene will help you reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth. Therefore, it’s necessary to clean your teeth and tongue after every meal, in the morning and before bedtime. Ideally, the ritual should look like this: clean your teeth and tongue, use dental floss, use an oil irrigator, and finish with disinfectant mouthwash.
Source: Internet & Others
The views expressed in this article should not be considered as a substitute for a physician’s advice. Always make sure to seek a doctor or a professional’s advice before proceeding with the home treatment plan.