Sometimes, the human body shows a number of signs to show the development of a specific health risk. Doctors and physicians often check and ask for such indicators when the person comes up with a health condition to them.
For example, the occurrence of lumps around a specific area of the body is typically the most common symptoms of cancer. A person on the way to developing throat cancers may get several such lumps around the neck area.
Similarly, the white tongue is cited as one of the prevalent symptoms of oral health problems. Not many people know that the tongue is not only the most sensitive area of the body but also the strongest muscle. Without the tongue, a person cannot perform simple tasks such as talking.
In accordance with traditional Chinese medicine practitioners, the tongue is one of the primary places to check a person’s health. In addition, in the midst of receiving medication for any complication, the efficiency and improvement in the health status can be seen through inspection of the tongue.
Why Does White Tongue Happen?
A healthy tongue is considerably different from the tongue of an unhealthy person which can be seen through changes in color and texture. There are small nodules on the surface of the tongue called papillae.
These tiny nodules are also responsible for giving the tongue its rough texture and pink color. In a person with good health, the tongue will appear pink or sometimes a little-faded shade of it. The color might change after eating for a temporary period of time but it does not signify anything else.
On the contrast, a person with poor general health or oral health can have a mixture of white and pink colors on their tongue as well as a completely faded white. This is usually due to inflammation of papillae on present on the tongue.
When a person’s tongue appears white after having a meal or a drink, it is because debris of food gets stuck between the papillae. Though it is temporary, whiteness in the tongue for more than a day means the food debris is not alone.
Piles of bacteria debris and dead cells can additionally, combined with food particles and lodge between the papillae. This causes inflammation among the papillae and they start to discolor. Normally, the debris and dead cells are removed and inflammation goes away by itself.
In other cases, especially when a person has a white tongue for a long period of time, it is often an indicator of some underlying health condition. Though most of the complications associated with the white tongue have been observed to be treatable, ignoring them for long can make them serious.
The white tongue can be linked to trivial dental health problems, infections, and serious issues. No matter whatever the factor causing the white tongue in a person is, it is usually recommended that it should not be ignored.
Following are some of the health conditions that can cause a white tongue:
- Poor oral hygiene
- Dry mouth
- Low intake of fluid or dehydration
- Infection or illness
- Oral thrush (also known as Candida Yeast Infection)
- High intake of alcohol
- Reactions to certain medications such as steroids and antibiotics
- Usage of tobacco
- Congenital heart disease (in adults)
- Consumption of food loaded with spices (for example jalapeño peppers)
Although all of these conditions are found in a good number of people with white tongue, sometimes white tongue can occur with health complications it is generally not associated with such as gut and stomach problems.
At other times, the reason behind white tongue can be hard to diagnose as it might as well be able to happen randomly even to a healthy person. In the end, food is concluded as the main culprit in such cases observed by doctors and physicians.
The most common for all the reasons listed that cause white tongues are dry mouth and lack of fluid intake. Both of these are interlinked and primarily lead to oral infections and diseases. This is because dehydration and dry mouth increase the chances of infections.
Lack of moisture in the mouth can make the gums and tongue breeding ground for bacteria and fungus. Bad breath can also be explained in such a way. Inactivity in the mouth in a person during sleeping dries the mouth and bacteria multiply more quickly.
As a result, the mouth odor is created by the bacteria in the mouth of a person by the time he wakes up. In a similar way, a person having dry mouth syndrome has higher chances of bacteria and fungus attacks that can cause comparatively serious conditions.
A significant example of this is a Candida infection. It is actually normal for the fungus candida to live in a person’s mouth.
It remains there due to the dry moments in the mouth. However, when the fungus accumulates, it can grow at gums, the roof of mouth, throat and even tonsils, creating white tongue, lesions, redness, and bleeding.
Sometimes, the white tongue does not go away even if medication for such minor conditions is taken. This is when a person should consider some very serious health issues. If the white tongue comes with a sore throat, the person might have strep throat, syphilis or periodontal disease.
In addition, the chronic autoimmune disease oral lichen planus, HIV/AIDs, leukoplakia, and geographic tongue can all cause white tongue. These conditions require immediate medical attention as they can be proven fatal.
Natural Treatments for White Tongue
Usually, the white tongue can occur because of common infections or habits. Changing a few daily routines and following some remedies can effectively get rid of the white tongue in a short period of time. Consider doing the following to get rid of a white tongue:
Probiotics come with several advantages including oral health benefits. Gut bacteria in a person’s body are responsible to increase or decrease the likelihood of getting candida infections to a great extent. An imbalance in gut bacteria can sometimes lead to the white tongue and fungal infections.
In order to prevent this from happening, try adding fermented foods such as yogurt and kefir that are rich in probiotics to daily intake. Additionally, probiotic supplements can be taken for a comparatively faster effect.
One of the most common home remedies for whitening teeth is using baking soda with toothpaste. Studies have shown that baking soda not only cleanses the mouth and gums and gets rid of any residue causing white tongue but also balance pH levels.
Make a paste of one teaspoon of baking soda and lemon juice. Add to toothpaste before brushing every morning. The results are usually visible within a day only.
A common technique in mouth detoxification in Herbal medicine is oil pulling. Oil pulling is done by swishing about a tablespoon of oil of preference in the mouth and spitting out after 10-20 minutes.
A person can use olive oil sesame oil, but the most suggested oil in coconut oil due to its comparatively higher number of benefits to the mouth.
This process is supposed to be done in the morning before brushing. Make sure to not eat anything for 20-30 minutes when doing this before brushing.
Garlic has been known to have the same effects on the tongue as the drug used to treat fungal infections in the mouth. Taking just one clove of garlic per day can reduce the chances of bacterial and fungal infections as well as treat them naturally.
Aloe Vera Juice
Aloe Vera has anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Using it to treat and prevent infections in the mouth is one of the most effective ways. Simply swish aloe juice in the mouth for 10-20 minutes and spit it out before brushing.