A “white tongue” is a common symptom when your tongue is coated by a thick white film. This coating can cover the entire surface of your tongue, the back part of your tongue or it might show up in patches. You might also notice a bad taste in your mouth, bad breath or redness.
Following are possible medical reasons for a coated tongue and the best remedies for treating the problem.
Hairy Leukoplakia Reason:This condition is seen as a hairy, irregular white patch along the sides of the tongue. It’s caused by the autoimmune condition called Epstein-Barr.
Remedy: This type of coated tongue can be a recurrent problem, so people with an immune-compromising condition are usually treated with antiviral medications. If you are not suffering from a weakened immune system, then an HIV test may be given to see if there is any correlation.
Leukoplakia Reason: Unlike oral thrush, this type of white coating on the tongue cannot be simply wiped away. The cause of this condition is sometimes uncertain, but it may be associated with tobacco use or a recurrent irritation in the mouth.
Remedy:The remedy could be as simple as stopping a smoking habit, but since it results from smoking, it may be an early indication of oral cancer. It’s wise to have your doctor do a biopsy and continually monitor the area for any changes.
Linea Alba Reason:Instead of causing a completely coated tongue, linea alba results in a thin white line along the edges of the tongue. It is simply caused by an irritation or trauma from aggressive chewing.Remedy:Since biting your tongue usually causes it, no treatment is needed.
Oral Lichen Planus Reason:Oral lichen planus is a chronic inflammatory condition caused by an autoimmune response. It can result in a coated tongue, yet the coating appears as a lace-like white pattern.
Remedy: There is really no treatment for oral lichen planus because it’s an autoimmune response, but a doctor should regularly monitor it since any changes could indicate oral cancer.
Oral Thrush Reason:This condition is also called candidiasis and it results from an excess of yeast in the mouth, which creates the appearance of a coated tongue.
It often occurs after you’ve taken antibiotics, if you’re under stress, or facing an illness because these conditions disturb the balance of bacteria in your system.Remedy:While you can easily wipe away the white sections of yeast, you always should brush your tongue when brushing your teeth, especially if you’ve been sick or on medication.
Experts recommend that you check your tongue daily when you brush your teeth to see if it’s appearance seems unusual. In the case of white tongue, proper oral hygiene which includes brushing, flossing and tongue scraping, can frequently resolve the condition or even prevent it from occurring.
If your white tongue is not resolved in two weeks, it is a good idea to see a doctor who can better determine the potential causes and provide you with a good treatment.