White patches on tongue although not a serious health issue, can be embarrassing and indicates unhealthy living standard. Your tongue is one of the strongest muscular structure in the entire body. It has small nodules on its surface which are known as papillae. Sometimes it is these papillae that takes a grayish to white appearance when they are either inflamed, dead, damaged or in case of bacteria and other debris is lodged between them. Generally having a temporary white tongue is a common issue and it’s nothing serious. However, if it continues for a long while turning into a chronic condition then you might take a serious note about it.
There are several factors that can lead to the occurrence of the white tongue and each factor is treated by a specific treatment. However, the condition is said to be harmless and in rare cases, it can be a result of serious health conditions. In this post, you will discover some of the common causes, treatment and prevention measures to adopt in order to avoid the occurrence of such tongue condition in the future.
Major causes of white tongue:
- Illness or infection
- Poor oral hygiene
- Congenital heart disease especially in adults
- Tobacco use or smoking
- Reaction to medications such as steroids or certain antibiotics
- Alcohol usage
- Dry mouth
Dehydration is the main cause of white tongue since sine acts a breeding ground for various types of bacteria. You should brush your teeth diligently about two times on a daily basis to minimize the chance of developing this condition. White tongue is mainly caused by the accumulation of fungus known as candida when it accumulates in your mouth. This condition can spread to the root of your gum, tongue, and mouth if it is not controlled. It might also lead to the development of tonsils at the back of your throat.
Other symptoms associated with candida include nail and skin fungal infections, brain fog and chronic fatigue. White tongue can also be caused by bacterial infections or by chronic immune disorders such as oral lichen planus. Below are some of the effective natural treatments or remedies for a white tongue.
- Baking soda:
One of the many baking soda uses is its ability to exfoliate the tongue, removing any residue that causes white tongue, and maintain good pH levels in mouth by neutralizing acids. Plus, research shows that baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, possesses substantial inhibitory activity against Streptococcus mutans in saliva and plaque. Exposure to baking soda caused statistically significant decreases in the number of bacterial cells in the mouth. Simply mix a teaspoon of baking soda with lemon juice until it creates a paste. Then add the mixture to your toothbrush, and brush your tongue and mouth.
- Coconut oil:
Coconut oil pulling is one of the best ways to remove bacteria from the mouth. This oral detoxification is commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine. Ayurveda advises oil pulling to purify the entire system, as it holds that each section of the tongue is connected to different organs of the body. The oil sucks the debris and toxins out of your mouth and creates a clean, antiseptic oral environment, research shows that oil pulling can be used as an effective remedy in maintaining and improving oral health. It has shown to be just as effective as mouthwash at improving bad breath and reducing the microorganisms that may cause the buildup of bacteria in the mouth and white tongue.
Although you can use olive or sesame oil here, coconut oil benefits are superior, and that’s why it’s recommended for oil pulling. Coconut oil is highly absorb able, and it has the power to kill candida. Oil pulling is simply done by swishing a tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth for ten to twenty minutes. Then spit the oil out in the trash, rinse your mouth with warm water and brush your teeth as normal.
- Sea salt:
There are many benefits of sea salt, including its natural antibacterial activities, so by gargling and swishing sea salt with water, you can eliminate bacteria and debris that causes white tongue. Plus, the coarse texture of sea salt works as an exfoliant, helping remove the white coating on the tongue. Unlike table salt, seat salt undergoes very little processing, leaving behind healthful trace minerals and elements that help to ensure proper fluid balance in your body’s cells. Start by combining sea salt and water to create a mouthwash. After using the mouthwash, brush your teeth and tongue with the sea salt.
- Scrap your tongue:
Maintaining proper oral hygiene is vital to a healthy tongue. In addition to brushing and flossing your teeth, one complementary step that you should include in your oral hygiene regimen is tongue scraping. This method is especially effective in reducing and removing any debris and bacteria that settle in the oral cavity.
A study found that tongue cleaning reduced the amount of bacterial accumulation in the tongue coating. Scrape your tongue gently but thoroughly, from back to front, using a tongue cleaner or a soft toothbrush. Do not overdo it by applying too much pressure, which can lead to open wounds, making you susceptible to infection. Also, do not insert the scraper so far back that it causes a gag reflex, while there are specific tools manufactured for this function, some toothbrushes have an inbuilt tongue scraper at the back of their brush head.
White tongue may look disturbing, but it is usually temporary and not a cause for concern. This condition is often caused by negligent oral hygiene and can easily be resolved through gentle tongue cleaning and drinking plenty of water.
If these measures don’t work, the above-mentioned tips and remedies can help as well. However, it is always recommended to get a white tongue evaluated by a doctor to identify any other serious underlying condition that may require more concerted medical treatment.