How to Get Rid of a White Tongue?

People are so busy settling their lives that they forget about the nitty-gritty of life. Oral hygiene routine is one such factor that we do not take into notice.

Ignoring oral hygiene leads to accumulating bacteria, food, dirt, and dead cells between the enlarged papillae. Debris collection gives rise to a white tongue. The thick white coating results from a dry mouth weakened immune system and poor oral hygiene. These give rise to mouth fungus which accelerates these oral symptoms.

Ignoring such a factor may lead to severe bacterial infection, oral thrush, and even oral cancer. An oral hygiene routine is needed to get rid of these risk factors. It would help if you treated mouth fungus by taking the advice of a healthcare professional.

Poor mouth hygiene leads to an issue called geographic tongue as well. Tongue cleaning is one simple lifestyle change one can make to avoid complications of tongue discoloration.

It is important to know the factors associated with a white tongue, treatment options, and prevention to know your required antifungal medications.

1. Conditions That Lead to A White Tongue Coating

Leukoplakia, Oral Lichen planus, Syphilis, and Oral Thrush are some of the problems that may build if a white tongue is ignored.

Some of the conditions that lead to risk factors due to tongue coating are:


One of the conditions that influence oral symptoms is Leukoplakia. This issue causes burning or sore gums. White blotches form on the tongue and insides of your mouth.  tobacco consumption and smoking are the main reasons for Leukoplakia formation.

These patches formed on the inside of the tongue cannot be scraped off. If untreated, the benign signs of Leukoplakia can be cancerous. Good oral hygiene is essential to treat the white patches on the tongue.

Hairy Leukoplakia causes a hairy tongue which causes a burning sensation and in some cases tongue cancer. Patients with weak immunity caused by AIDS are greatly affected by Leukoplakia.

If you are worried about how to treat Leukoplakia, do not worry. Here are some easy solutions you can follow. Lifestyle changes are the best remedy for this disease. Reducing alcohol intake, smoking, and having antioxidant-based foods like carrots and spinach go a long way toward preventing Leukoplakia.

However, it is best to visit a doctor and get a biopsy for confirmation of the issue. Laser treatment may be helpful to remove the patches caused by Leukoplakia.

Leukoplakia l Precancerous lesions l Oral pathology l Mediklaas

1.2.Oral Thrush

Oral thrush is a Candida yeast infection. This issue affects patients who suffer from Diabetes or a weakened immune system. White lesions develop on the inner cheeks and the roof of the mouth, tonsils, and gums. The entire tongue suffers pain and irritation. The taste buds become inactive on such occasions.

The doctors perform a biopsy along with an endoscopy to confirm the disease. There are popular medications for Oral Thrush as well. Some of these are Fluconazole, Nystatin, and Amphotericin B.

Usually, Oral Thrush vanishes after such treatment. However, it may return in certain cases as well. One may follow home-based oral hygiene to prevent a recurrence of this disease.

ORAL THRUSH - Candidiasis or yeast infection. Angular cheilitis ©

1.3.Oral Lichen planus

Oral Lichen planus is best described as an inflammatory issue of the mouth. It affects the mucus membranes of your mouth. This disease takes place when your immune system poses an attack on the cells of the immune system.

You can easily detect Oral Lichen planus as the symptoms are distinct. These appear to be white with lacy patches. At times these have red tissues and open sores. However, there’s one plus point. This issue is not caused by transmission!

These commonly occur inside the cheeks, on the gums, or tongue. People suffering from the issue regularly need treatment and regular monitoring. Visiting the doctor is the best way to treat these oral problems.

Commonly, doctors recommend a biopsy of the lesions. This assists in the right diagnosis of the disease. You may visit the link to get a fast appointment.

Lichen planus - causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, pathology

1.4. Syphilis

This is a sexually transmitted disease. Syphilis causes painful mouth sores. If the issue remains untreated it may lead to an advanced stage known as Syphilitic Leukoplakia. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that there were up to 115,000 Syphilis cases recorded in 2018.

Syphilis occurs during oral sex. The bacteria enters an opening present in the mouth or the lining of the lips. Lesions caused by Syphilis occur at the spot of the bacterial entry. The bacteria, Treponema pallidum causes the disease.

This may spread through kissing but it usually doesn’t spread due to sharing of eating utensils.

You may note that the disease has three stages. These are:

  • Primary and Secondary Phase
  • Early non-primary and non-secondary phase
  • Late phase

These phases will help you to understand what treatment you may require. One must treat Syphilis in the early stages to avoid the potentially risky consequences that may occur at the later stage.

If you suffer from Syphilis talking to your doctor is the best solution. A tissue biopsy to diagnose the issue is the most recommended treatment.

Antibiotics like penicillin G are effective as well. If you have been suffering from a white tongue for more than a year, you are required to take more than a dose of the medicine.

Brushing teeth at regular intervals, changing toothbrushes after treating oral thrush, and avoiding chemical mouthwashes are helpful remedies.

Syphilis | Clinical Presentation

2. Normal Issues Causing A White Tongue

The cause of white tongue is not only due to the conditions of Oral Thrush, Syphilis, etc. White tongue is often the cause of poor oral hygiene.

To treat white tongue one may try using a tongue scraper to get rid of the dead cells surrounding the tongue’s surface. Drinking a good amount of water every day helps to flush out bacteria and debris from your mouth.

If you make these lifestyle changes you’ll notice improving oral health.

  • White tongue is usually the reason for the lack of regular brushing and flossing. Tongue scraping using a tongue scraper is needed to do away with the white tongue coating. You can treat mouth fungus and yeast infections if you brush your teeth regularly.
  • You have a dry mouth. It occurs when your salivary glands fail to secrete enough saliva. Dehydration is one of the reasons for a dry mouth. It may be a side effect of taking medications for depression, diarrhea, diuretics, and certain chemotherapy medicines. So, one must not forget to remain hydrated to avoid these issues.
  • Another common lifestyle habit is breathing through the mouth. This is one of the main reasons for a white tongue. Continual mouth breathing may cause gum disease and bad breath in adults.
  • Addiction to soft foods is one of the reasons for a white tongue that we often ignore. Having a diet that lacks vegetables and fruits containing vitamin B12 and iron is a good reason for a white tongue.
  • The habit of chewing tobacco and smoking is yet another reason for a white tongue that you can’t ignore.
  • Last but not least, alcoholism is one of the lifestyle blunders. Alcoholics have the worst oral health. People who drink alcohol lose water from their bodies. Consequently, your mouth becomes dry as well. A dry tongue is the cause of a white tongue. This is when the papillae are inflamed and bacteria and debris collect in your mouth.
  • Many people love to get a tongue piercing. However, it has its disadvantages. In most cases, you’ll observe bacterial overgrowth at the spot of the piercing. But do not worry. Talking to your doctor and getting an antiseptic mouthwash takes care of the trouble. Penicilin Penicilin helps improve the condition of the white tongue caused by tongue piercing.
How to get rid of a white tongue
Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on pexels

3. Tips to Prevent A White Tongue

Practicing oral hygiene is a must. But the right way to practice it is as follows:

  • Never forget to use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Along with this, tongue scraping must be followed every day to reduce the issue of white tongue.
  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day. It would be great if one could brush after every meal.
  • Using fluoride toothpaste and fluoride mouthwash is helpful. Fluoridated water helps prevent cavities and kills bacteria present in the mouth.
  • Flossing two times a day is beneficial as it is one of the best ways to maintain mouth hygiene.
  • Alongside following the above ways to remove a white tongue one must not forget to visit the dentist after every six months.
  • One must reduce the use of alcohol and tobacco products. These dehydrate the body and ultimately lead to a dry tongue. White tongue occurs due to dryness of the tongue as the bacteria remains trapped on the tongue coating.
  • Having a varied diet helps. Only having soft foods like eggs, mashed potatoes, yogurt, etc leads to deficiency in essential vitamins like B4 and iron. So, having fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins is essential to prevent a white tongue.
  • I was using baking soda as a natural remedy. A teaspoon of baking soda along with a little lemon juice does the magic. It fights against Streptococcus bacteria trapped in the mouth and helps remove the white coating.
  • Coconut oil pulling is yet another natural method to assist in oral detoxification. This is an Ayurvedic medicine that pulls away toxins and debris like a magnet from your mouth.
  • Aloe Vera Juice and Sea Saltwater gurgle are equally helpful. So, wash your mouth at least three times per day to view the results. Continual usage of these mixtures helps remove the white coating from the tongue completely.
  • White tongue is usually the result of fungal infection. Garlic is one of the most popular medicines to deal with fungal infections. It is one of the best remedies to treat Oral Thrush. So, want to deal with your hairy tongue? Have a clove of raw garlic every day.
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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels

4. When to Visit A Doctor?

If the natural remedies are enough for treating your white tongue, you may not require a doctor. But at times, the issue of the white tongue worsens. If the problem does not find its cure in two weeks, one must visit a doctor without delay.

You must call on a doctor if you observe these symptoms:

  • Your tongue has a painful sensation and becomes red with swelling
  • Your tongue has open sores
  • You have difficulty talking, chewing, and swallowing due to the prolonged infection of your tongue
  • Other symptoms include loss of weight, skin rashes, and fever.

Never ignore the problem of a white tongue, no matter how insignificant it is. Ignoring the first stages of a white tongue is usually the cause of serious infections in the future.

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on pexels

The End Note

Poor hygiene of the mouth is the leading cause of several diseases. So, it is always recommended to follow the right steps to prevent the thriving of harmful bacteria in the mouth. One must take care of the oral cavity by following lifestyle habits of tongue scraping, mouth washing, and brushing.

If the natural remedies are not helpful enough, an antifungal medication always does the work. So, visit a doctor in the early stages of a white tongue to prevent tongue cancer. If your tongue hurts, it is high time you must go for a biopsy.

Last Updated on April 30, 2024 by Sunanda Basu