Gentle Dental of Reading
4 South 4th Street, 1st Floor, Reading, PA 19602

What to Do About a White Tongue

dca-blog_tongue-scraping-brushing

Have you noticed a weird white coating on your tongue? There is usually no need to worry, but you may wonder what is causing your white tongue and how you should properly treat it. For the causes of a white tongue, check out these tips.

Causes of a Coated Tongue

A white tongue occurs when the small, hair-like projections on the tongue called papillae become swollen or overgrown. Then, bacteria, debris, and dead cells get trapped between these inflamed and enlarged papillae. This leads to the appearance of a coated, white tongue. The primary causes include:

  • Poor dental hygiene
  • Dry mouth
  • Dehydration
  • Unbalanced diet that is low in roughage
  • Breathing only through the mouth
  • Alcohol use
  • Fever
  • Irritation from a sharp tooth or dental tool

Conditions That Contribute to a Case

A coated tongue is usually harmless, but it may have a more serious meaning and be a sign of a health condition. A white tongue is a noticeable symptom of the following medical issues:

  • Yeast infection caused by the prolonged use of certain antibiotics
  • Oral thrush
  • Mouth cancer
  • Tongue cancer
  • Leukoplakia, which are white patches in the mouth that can’t be brushed away, is often attributed to tobacco use
  • Geographic tongue, which is when smooth patches form on the tongue
  • Syphilis
  • HIV/AIDS

Treatments for a White Tongue

A coated tongue typically isn’t serious and dentists often say that the best treatment is simply brushing your tongue when you brush your teeth. But why should you brush your tongue? Well, white tongue is often just a buildup of bacteria in the mouth. By brushing your tongue regularly, you can remove that dental debris and get your tongue back in the pink. Now that you know why should you brush your tongue, you should also know that there are certain times when a coated tongue requires medical care. If you notice any changes or pain in your tongue, or your white tongue lasts for more than a month, call your dentist or doctor to have it looked at.

To learn about our family dentistry practice in Reading, call Gentle Dental of Reading today at (484) 334-2592 or make an appointment.

Gentle Dental offers affordable family dentistry and gentle, compassionate dental care in Reading. With 14 affiliated practices in the Greater Philadelphia area, our offices are conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At Gentle Dental of Reading, we provide most dental services, from basic preventative care and general dentistry to specialized procedures and complete dental reconstruction. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable dental care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping those smiles healthy, beautiful, and bright. Discover an affordable dentist who truly cares at Gentle Dental of Reading.

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