Getting Rid Of White Tongue – 10 Effective Natural Treatments?


The tongue is one of the most sensitive places in the body. The only muscle that works without any support from the skeleton, the tongue is covered in more than 10,000 tastebuds and is the strongest muscle in the whole body.

The tongue allows us to taste food, talk, and swallow. Interestingly, the tongue print of a person is as unique as a fingerprint, and the color of a tongue can be an accurate indicator of a person’s health.

Traditional Chinese medicine has incorporated tongue health in assessing medical conditions for thousands of years. A different or abnormally colored tongue can be indicative of poor health, with a white tongue one of the most common tongue discolorations.

A white tongue can be caused by a number of health issues, such as poor oral hygiene, oral thrush, or even fungal infections.

A white tongue can be concerning and cause bad breath, but there are a number of simple natural remedies that can improve oral health and help to return your tongue to normal.

In this article, we’ll provide information on the most common causes of tongue discoloration and present some natural treatment techniques.

What Causes White Tongue?

When in a healthy state, the tongue is pink. A healthy tongue is covered in papillae, which are the small nodules that give the tongue a rough texture.

When the tongue becomes unhealthy, these papillae may become inflamed and sore. Swollen papillae can cause bacteria, food debris or dead cells to become stuck to the tongue, exacerbating inflammation and causing a white, pasty discoloration.

While this discoloration may cause bad breath and discomfort and is usually easy to treat, in some cases it can be indicative of a more serious infection or health disorder.

Tongue discoloration can be caused by the following influences:

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Throat infection, illness, or the common cold
  • Dehydration
  • Fever
  • Dry mouth
  • Certain antibiotics or steroids
  • Tobacco use or smoking
  • Spicy foods that contain capsaicin, such as jalapeno peppers or chili
  • Candida yeast infection, commonly known as oral thrush
  • Congenital heart disease

Some of these causes can be concerning, especially in the case of heart disease or yeast infection. The most common cause of white tongue, however, is a dry mouth caused by dehydration.

A dry mouth is a breeding ground for many forms of bacteria that will cause a white buildup and bad odor. Preventing this form of white tongue is simple through maintaining a regular oral hygiene schedule.

It’s critical to brush your teeth at least twice daily to minimize the risk of developing white tongue and other oral hygiene complications.

Failing to maintain a proper oral hygiene schedule for an extended period of time can lead to the development of oral thrush, a type of yeast infection caused by Candida fungus.

The mouth actually hosts several strains of Candida fungus in small amounts while healthy, but poor oral hygiene will allow Candida to accumulate. Candida fungus accumulation can spread to the gums, tongue, tonsils, the roof of the mouth, and the back of the throat.

The early warning signs of an oral thrush infection are a white tongue and inflamed papillae, but if left untreated can cause white lesions, bleeding, and redness. Unchecked candida yeast infection can lead to fungus colonizing other parts of the body, such as skin and nail fungal infections.

Systemic issues caused by fungal infection include chronic fatigue, poor immune system function and poor cognitive function.

The early stages of white tongue can be treated by increasing water intake, maintaining a regular oral hygiene schedule, and scraping the tongue. Antifungal treatments can also assist with dealing with white tongue.

White tongue symptoms that persist after these basic treatments, however, can be indicative of a more serious health condition. A white tongue combined with a sore or swollen throat can be caused by strep throat, a disease caused by an infection of streptococcal bacteria.

Other serious medical conditions that can cause white tongue include syphilis, periodontal disease, or oral lichen planus, which is a chronic autoimmune disease.

As the immune system is linked closely to the ability of the body to regulate fungal infection in the body, an excessively white tongue can even be indicative of HIV/AIDS.

White tongue can also be caused by leukoplakia, a non-cancerous disorder that causes the cells of the tongue to grow uncontrollably, potentially developing into cancer.

Geographic tongue, a condition that causes reddish spots or a white border around the periphery of the tongue, can also be confused for white tongue.

If you’ve failed to treat persistent white tongue with basic treatment techniques and believe you may have any of these health conditions, it’s important to seek medical attention.

Diagnosing Illness Via Tongue Health

The health of the tongue is critical in many diagnosis techniques. Traditional Chinese medicine uses tongue diagnosis extensively to assess oral health, using tongue coating to determine health issues and the best form of treatment.

Traditional Chinese Medicine attributes the coating of the tongue to the evaporation of a vital energy, called “qi”, that evaporates from the stomach. In the context of traditional Chinese medicine, “qi” is closely linked to the overall health of the blood, bodily fluids and the internal organs. In this traditional medicine system, tongue coating is interpreted as an indicator of overall health.

Several modern scientific studies have supported the veracity of this claim. A 2013 study performed by the Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine that assessed the metabolic markers of tongue coating in 70 chronic gastritis patients and 20 control patients determined that there are important connections between the coating of the tongue and metabolic components.

In this study, evidence was observed that the composition of tongue coating changes rapidly during the development of stomach inflammation or chronic gastritis.

With both traditional medicine systems and modern scientific evidence both agreeing that the coating of the tongue can provide a clear assessment of the health of an individual, it’s safe to assume that white tongue can also be caused by a poorly-functioning digestive system or imbalanced gut bacteria.

Poor digestive system health can be caused by nutritional deficiency, stress, environmental factors, or a lack of probiotic balance.

If you’re experiencing a white tongue, it’s unlikely that you’re suffering from some of the rarer and more serious causes but a sure sign that something isn’t right in your overall health.

Getting Rid Of White Tongue Summary

The best way to rid yourself of white tongue is by first assessing your dietary and lifestyle choices and pursuing natural treatment by rebalancing gut bacteria, following a nutritionally balanced diet and trying a number of at-home white tongue cures.

Promoting oral health through positive and natural methods not only helps to cure white tongue, but also improves overall health.

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