White Tongue- What it Means

Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention of whitish tongue

The tongue is an important part of the body. It is the major tool or catalyst for the sense of taste. Your tongue helps you know the taste of foods, it helps you to talk clearly and also, the tongue helps you digest your food as well as it helps to maintain overall oral health.

The tongue comes normally in different shades of pink, so if your tongue has a different color than this, there might be a problem. One of the issues that might affect the tongue is the white tongue. When this occurs, you will notice the presence of excess white coatings on your tongue.

Having a whitish tongue could sometimes be a sign of an infection or even cancer. This is why it is advisable and important that you familiarize yourself with the symptoms of white tongue, the causes of a white tongue as well as the treatments so that you will be able to check for the symptoms and signs from time to time and discover the problem in time.

Causes of Whitish tongue

Some of the reasons that might cause you to have a white tongue oral health condition include:

  • Improper flossing and brushing of the tongue. (Read: importance of brushing teeth)
  • Prolonged dehydration
  • Dryness of the mouth
  • Consumption of excess amounts of soft foods
  • Tobacco consumption
  • Fever
  • Alcohol consumption and so on.

Poor care of the mouth is the number one cause of a white or whitish tongue, and it is therefore pertinent that you pay special attention to your Oral hygiene and take proper care of your mouth, teeth and tongue. If the bumps that are normally tiny and present on your tongue gets inflated, they become a catalyst for a whitish tongue as they might trap food, debris particles, dead cells and fungus.

Some health conditions that can cause white patches on the tongue

If you discover white patches on your tongue, these are conditions that are possibly responsible are listed below. For further clarification and a more in depth article read this whitish tongue article.

Oral lichen Planus, Leukoplakia, Oral thrush, Syphilis, Oral cancer, Geographic tongue, medications that can lead to oral yeast infection such as antibiotics.

Whitish tongue; When should you visit your Dentist?

While whitish tongue might not necessarily be a serious condition, you must know the point where you should pay your Dentist a visit for proper check-up and treatment. (Read: Find the right dentist)

  • If your tongue becomes white and painful, you should visit your dentist.
  • If the white coating or patches appear to you as more than just a coating, you need to see your dentist.
  • Also, if the coating does not disappear within a couple of weeks after you discover them, it is advisable to visit a dentist.

Paying attention to your oral hygiene, and promptly visiting the Dentist will help you keep your oral health as sound as it can be.

Treatment of Whitish tongue

If you visit your Dentist, he/she will be able to properly and professionally diagnose the cause of your whitish tongue, and determine the treatment that will be best to combat the condition.

While it is good to monitor, discover and treat whitish tongue, we can not overrule the old saying “Prevention is better than cure. However, preventing a white tongue might be impossible, but taking some steps can help you lower the risk of having a whitish tongue.

Such steps include:

  • Making use of a tongue scraper to scrape all the plaques, food trappings and bacteria off your tongue every day.
  • Using a Flouride active mouth wash and toothpaste every day
  • Regular flossing
  • Brush for two minutes up to two or three times daily
  • Make use of a soft-bristled brush

Good Oral hygiene will help you reduce the risk of having a whitish tongue. Also, making regular check-up and cleaning calls at your Dentist’s is good for your oral health, and the prevention of whitish tongue.

Visit my oral health website,  Toothbrush Life for more great oral care tips!

Kelly Hancock, RDH

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