There are several reasons that your tongue might appear white. Some of these are completely harmless and easy to remedy, others are more unpleasant and things that you might want to try and deal with as soon as you can.
At the same time though, you might find simply that you don’t like the aesthetic appearance of a white tongue. Perhaps you find this a little embarrassing – especially if you plan on going on a date or if you have a job interview!
The good news is that there are lots of things you can do in order to solve the issue of a white tongue. These include things that you can do in order to permanently cure the problems that caused the appearance in the first place and things you can do in order to quickly hide the appearance of the white tongue.
Read on and we’ll take a look at some of the things you can do to solve that problem quickly and easily.
1. Drink Water!
One of the most common causes of a white tongue is actually that you are dehydrated. This changes the balance of chemicals that appears on the tongue, and that can in turn lead to it appearing white. If you drink more, then you should find that this problem disappears over time.
Something to consider here is that we are particularly likely to experience a white tongue first thing in the morning. This is of course because when you are asleep, you will typically go for 6-8 hours or more without drinking anything. This prevents us from being able to produce saliva, which in turn leads to a build-up of bacteria. This is also why we often have bad breaths first thing in the morning – seeing as our breath is linked directly to the existence of bacteria on the tongue!
Salt is an interesting trick that you can use in order to remove white coating from the tongue. This is because salt is naturally coarse and is thereby more likely to help scrape away the top layer of dead skin and/or bacteria that can lead to the appearance of a white tongue.
To solve the problem, start by sprinkling just a little salt on your tongue and then scrub it gently using a toothbrush for about a minute. Don’t be too rough because you don’t want to end up with a very red tongue because you’ve broken the skin!
Another option is to mix a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water and then to gargle with the saline solution. This trick works because it helps to disinfect the tongue and thereby kill any germs that could be contributing to the problem.
3. Oral Hygiene
While I don’t mean to cast aspersions, you may have tongue that appears white owing to poor oral hygiene. This might not mean that you aren’t trying to look after your teeth and your gums – but simply that you may be making falling short of doing this as well as you could do. Maybe you aren’t brushing regularly enough, or maybe you are forgetting to scrape your tongue at the end?
This is actually one of the most important things you need to do when brushing your teeth: it will help you to remove any bacteria that might remain on your tongue, as well as to clean away sugars and acids that can likewise cause problems. It’s not all about your teeth – oral hygiene means keeping your whole mouth clean. In fact, you can even buy toothbrushes with specific ‘tongue scrapers’ included for this very purpose.
Probiotics are foods and drinks that help to support the growth of wanted bacteria. Many people will hear the word ‘bacteria’ and assume that this is necessarily a negative thing. In fact though, bacteria can be a good thing if it is the healthy kind. Good bacteria plays a lot of important roles in the body: it helps to kill off bad bacteria, it produces a number of important nutrients and hormones, and it does so much more.
You might find that the appearance of white on the tongue is actually due to a fungal infection. This in turn can be due to an imbalance of flora on the tongue. If you try consuming more yogurt along with things like apple cider vinegar, then you may be able to counteract this by supporting the growth of healthy bacteria and flora once again!
Note that you are particularly likely to notice that you have a white tongue if you have been on a course of antibiotics. These medications kill of bacteria and fungi with the intention of removing the negative bacteria that can lead to problems. However, they also, unfortunately, kill off good bacteria – which can lead to a host of problems.
As mentioned, it is possible to buy toothbrushes that include tongue scrapers on the back. Using this regularly can help you to improve that aspect of your oral hygiene and thereby to avoid getting a white tongue.
At the same time though, you can also use scraping in order to immediately address the problem in the short term. If you check yourself out in the mirror and you notice that your tongue looks very white, then you can quickly scrape it off in order to solve the problem. Just be aware that in some cases, it might actually make the problem worse if it means that you create dead skin around the top of the tongue.
If you have noticed that your tongue has recently become whiter, then you might want to think about what has changed about your routine that may have led to the problem.
One of the most common causes you are likely to find, is actually that you have begun a new course of medication. This is a fairly common symptom or a side effect of a range of meds, which can be due to a wide range of different causes – ranging from changes in bacteria to hormonal changes. As mentioned, antibiotics can also commonly cause this issue.
If you notice that your tongue is turning white as a result of meds, then you can either look at shorter-term solutions to that problem, or you can discuss the possibility of switching medications with your doctor.
Consuming more fiber is another relatively simple and easy trick to reduce whiteness on your tongue. The reason this works is that fiber can actually work a little like a toothbrush! When you consume fibrous foods, this will help to scrape and clear away things in your mouth, seeing as it won’t get dissolved or broken down like other food groups.
When you use fiber in your diet, it can also help to clear away sugars and food that might otherwise get lodged in your teeth. This can in turn remove the food that bacteria consume in order to produce plaque, and that can thereby help you to avoid unwanted substances in your mouth.
Ice can be a useful short-term solution to the appearance of a white tongue. This is because consuming ice will make your mouth very cold. More specifically, it can make your tongue very cold, and that in turn can cause blood to rush to the surface of the tongue. This makes it appear redder! If you are desperate and you’re willing to try anything, then you can even try massaging your tongue with your own hand. This will not only remove the whiteness directly, but it can also help to encourage blood flow to the area.
You might have considered attempting to ‘dye’ your tongue in various ways. Perhaps you’ve thought of consuming something like a red lolly, red wine, or beets with the hope of getting the red coloring on your tongue to hide the whiteness.
The problem with this plan is that it will of course also make your teeth and lips red! This is actually a worse look than a slightly white tongue – so it’s probably not a good option for most people.
And at this point, we should mention that it’s probably not as bad as you may think it is. Don’t worry about leaving your tongue just as it is – people probably aren’t looking at it.
9. Oil Pulling
Oil pulling is a technique that has been used in India for centuries but has recently been enjoying a surge in popularity owing to some positive blog posts and videos on the subject. The idea behind oil pulling is that you fill your mouth with oil (any kind such as olive oil will do) and then ‘swill’ for five minutes or even more at a time.
This will rush between your teeth, around your tongue, and everywhere else and it can actually work to dislodge and remove any trapped food, etc. while at the same time suffocating and killing off bacteria. This is a fantastic cure for halitosis and a fantastic way to improve your oral hygiene when used sparingly.
Iron is a mineral that the body uses to produce red blood cells. Red blood cells meanwhile are of course the blood cells that carry oxygen around the body to the muscles and the brain. They’re also what gives our blood it’s the coloring – hence the name!
When we have low iron, this can, therefore, make us appear somewhat pale. And this is particularly noticeable in the areas where you might normally appear quite red: for instance the tongue, the eyelids, the fingernails and etc.
If you have a white tongue, then this might be more noticeable if you don’t have a lot of blood flow near the surface. Consuming more iron can help with this – especially if there is a chance that you may be suffering from anemia (a condition characterized by a low iron content).