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How To Get Rid Of A White Tongue

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How To Get Rid Of A White Tongue September 4, 2018

Did you take a random look in the mirror while brushing your teeth only to find a white tongue? Well, then, the chances are that you have been compromising on your oral hygiene for a while now. However, do not worry as we have got your back. This post includes some wonderful home remedies and even a few tips that can help you get rid of a white tongue rather easily. Continue reading to find out more.

Table Of Contents

What Is A Furry Tongue?

When your tongue turns white all over or in patches, it is referred to as a furry tongue. This condition is usually a common occurrence.

Most often, chances are that your entire tongue is coated white or there are white patches/spots spread all over it. While there is nothing to worry about in case you have a furry tongue, sometimes, it could be hinting at an underlying infection or even early cancer.

Therefore, it is necessary to keep an eye on such symptoms and reach out to your doctor if your tongue continues to remain white.

Let us look at less severe conditions or factors that can cause this condition.

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Causes Of And Risk Factors For A White Tongue

More often than not, a white tongue is usually caused due to poor oral hygiene. This can lead to tiny, inflamed, and swollen bumps (papillae) on your tongue.

These bumps can trap microbes, food, dirt, and even dead cells. The collection of this debris in the papillae causes your tongue to turn furry or white.

A few other conditions that can cause a white tongue include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Dehydration
  • Fever
  • Leukoplakia – A common condition that occurs due to smoking and has the potential to develop into oral cancer in rare cases.
  • Oral thrush – An oral infection caused by Candida.
  • Oral lichen planus – A problem with your immune system that can cause white patches and sores to form in your tongue and mouth.
  • Syphilis – A sexually transmitted condition that can even cause sores in your mouth.
  • Tongue or mouth cancer

Some lifestyle choices that may put you at a higher risk of developing a white tongue are:

  • Smoking and/or chewing tobacco
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Not brushing your teeth and flossing enough
  • Mouth breathing
  • Consuming excess of soft foods
  • Irritation from the sharp edges of your teeth or dental instruments rubbing against your tongue
  • Medications like antibiotics that can cause an oral yeast infection

If the only symptom you are exhibiting is a white tongue, there is nothing to worry. However, if you notice any of the following symptoms, it is best to get in touch with your doctor immediately.

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When To See A Doctor

You must seek medical intervention immediately if you develop any of the severe symptoms listed below:

  • A burning or painful sensation on your tongue
  • Development of open sores in the mouth
  • Trouble in chewing, swallowing, or even talking
  • Appearance of skin rashes
  • Weight loss
  • Sudden onset of fever

If your only concern is the unexplained white patches on your tongue, you can give the following natural remedies a try to treat and prevent the condition.

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How To Get Rid Of A White Tongue Naturally

  1. Baking Soda
  2. Probiotics
  3. Turmeric
  4. Coconut Oil Pulling
  5. Sea Salt
  6. Aloe Vera Juice
  7. Colloidal Silver
  8. Garlic
  9. Oregano Oil
  10. Pau D’arco Tea
  11. Apple Cider Vinegar
  12. Glycerin
  13. Cranberry Juice
  14. Neem

Home Remedies To Treat A White Tongue

1. Baking Soda

Baking Soda Pinit

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You Will Need
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • A few drops of water
  • A soft-bristled toothbrush
What You Have To Do
  1. To a teaspoon of baking soda, add a few drops of water to form a thick paste.
  2. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush, brush your tongue gently for a minute or two.
  3. Rinse your mouth with water.
How Often You Should Do This

You must do this once daily.

Why This Works

The alkaline nature of baking soda can help in neutralizing the acids in your mouth, thus restoring its pH. This has an antimicrobial effect on the oral pathogens and can help in their elimination, thus treating a white tongue (1).

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2. Probiotic Yogurt

Probiotic Yogurt Pinit

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You Will Need

1 bowl of plain probiotic yogurt

What You Have To Do
  1. Consume a bowl of plain probiotic yogurt daily.
  2. You can also leave a little yogurt on your tongue and rinse it off with water if you do not wish to consume it daily.
How Often You Should Do This

You must follow this remedy once daily.

Why This Works

Probiotic yogurt contains beneficial cultures of L. acidophilus and B. lactis. These can help combat the trouble-causing oral pathogens like bacteria and fungi that may be responsible for the development of white patches on your tongue (2).

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3. Turmeric

Turmeric Pinit

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You Will Need
  • ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • A few drops of lemon extract
  • A soft-bristled toothbrush
What You Have To Do
  1. Mix half a teaspoon of turmeric powder with a few drops of lemon juice to form a paste.
  2. Using your finger or a soft-bristled brush, scrub your tongue gently for a couple of minutes.
  3. Rinse your mouth with plain water.
How Often You Should Do This

You must do this at least once daily for effective results.

Why This Works

Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin that has antimicrobial properties (3). Curcumin prevents the growth of oral pathogens in your mouth and also promotes your oral health, thereby helping in getting rid of a white tongue (4).

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4. Coconut Oil Pulling

Coconut Oil Pulling Pinit

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You Will Need

1 tablespoon of coconut oil

What You Have To Do
  1. Swirl a tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth for 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Spit it out and go about with your regular brushing.
How Often You Should Do This

You must do this once daily, preferably every morning.

Why This Works

Oil pulling offers multiple benefits when it comes to your oral health. It helps maintain your oral hygiene by eliminating the plaque build-up in your mouth, which is one of the many reasons for the development of a furry tongue (5).

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5. Sea Salt

Sea Salt Pinit

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You Will Need
  • Sea salt (as required)
  • A soft toothbrush
What You Have To Do
  1. Sprinkle a little sea salt on your tongue.
  2. Scrub your tongue gently using a soft toothbrush.
  3. Rinse your mouth with warm water.
  4. You can also add a teaspoon of salt to a glass of warm water and use it as a mouth rinse.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this twice daily for best results.

Why This Works

Sea salt is another great remedy for treating a white tongue. It is naturally antiseptic, antibacterial, and exfoliating and can help alleviate oral problems that could be triggering the condition (6).

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6. Aloe Vera Juice

Aloe Vera Juice Pinit

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You Will Need

1 tablespoon of fresh aloe vera juice

What You Have To Do
  1. Swish a tablespoon of aloe vera juice in your mouth for a few minutes and then spit it out.
  2. You can also drink a tablespoon of aloe vera juice for added benefits.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this 2 to 3 times daily for 2 weeks to start seeing results.

Why This Works

Aloe vera has natural anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. These properties can help treat oral conditions like oral lichen planus that could be responsible for the development of a white tongue (7).

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7. Colloidal Silver

You Will Need
  • 1 tablespoon of colloidal silver
  • 1 tablespoon of water
What You Have To Do
  1. Mix a tablespoon each of colloidal silver and water.
  2. Use this solution to rinse your mouth for a couple of minutes.
  3. Spit it out and rinse your mouth thoroughly with water.
  4. You can also opt for a colloidal silver-based mouthwash.
How Often You Should Do This

You must do this 2 to 3 times daily for optimum benefits.

Why This Works

Colloidal silver is a wonderful remedy for treating oral infections that could be causing your tongue to turn white. It can help eliminate multiple oral microbes like fungi and bacteria (8), (9).

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8. Garlic

Garlic Pinit

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You Will Need

2-3 garlic cloves

What You Have To Do
  1. Crush two to three garlic cloves.
  2. Apply the crushed garlic paste to your tongue.
  3. Leave it on for about 10 minutes and spit it out.
  4. Rinse your mouth with cold water.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this twice daily.

Why This Works

Garlic possesses strong antimicrobial properties due to the presence of organosulfur compounds like allicin in it. Allicin gets activated upon being crushed and can help eliminate the infection-causing microbes in your mouth (10).

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9. Oregano Oil

Oregano Oil Pinit

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You Will Need
  • 1 drop of oregano oil
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil (or any other carrier oil)
What You Have To Do
  1. Add a drop of oregano oil to a tablespoon of any carrier oil.
  2. Swish this mixture in your mouth for 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Spit the oil out and brush and floss as usual.
How Often You Should Do This

You must do this once daily for the desired effects.

Why This Works

Oral infections caused by pathogens are one of the major triggers of a white tongue. Oregano (Origanum vulgare) oil exhibits strong antimicrobial properties against oral microbes like candida that cause oral thrush (12).

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10. Pau D’arco Tea

Pau D’arco Tea Pinit

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You Will Need
  • 2 teaspoons of pau d’arco bark
  • 4 cups of boiling water
What You Have To Do
  1. Add two teaspoons of pau d’arco bark to four cups of water.
  2. Bring it to a boil in a saucepan.
  3. Simmer for about 20 minutes.
  4. Cool the tea and strain.
  5. Drink the pau d’arco tea at regular intervals in small amounts.
  6. Refrigerate the remaining tea.
How Often You Should Do This

You must drink 1 to 2 cups of this tea daily.

Why This Works

The antifungal nature of pau d’arco tea can help combat oral fungal infections naturally. Its anti-inflammatory properties can also help alleviate a swollen tongue (13).

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11. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar Pinit

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You Will Need
  • 1 tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1 glass of warm water
What You Have To Do
  1. Add a tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar to a glass of warm water.
  2. Mix well and swish this mixture inside your mouth for a couple of minutes.
  3. Spit it out and rinse your mouth with water.
  4. You can also drink apple cider vinegar.
How Often You Should Do This

You must follow this procedure at least once daily.

Why This Works

Apple cider vinegar is a rich source of multiple nutrients, and it also exhibits powerful antimicrobial properties (14). These properties can help treat fungal infections like oral thrush quite easily, thereby helping you get rid of a furry tongue.

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12. Glycerin

Glycerin Pinit

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You Will Need
  • Vegetable glycerin (as required)
  • A soft toothbrush
What You Have To Do
  1. Pour a little vegetable glycerin on your tongue.
  2. Using a soft toothbrush, scrub your tongue gently.
  3. Rinse your mouth with plain water.
How Often You Should Do This

You must do this twice daily to start seeing results.

Why This Works

Glycerin (glycerol) can help you get rid of a white tongue quite effortlessly, especially if the underlying cause for the condition is a dry mouth (15). It moisturizes your tongue instantly and prevents further issues (16).

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13. Cranberry Juice

Cranberry Juice Pinit

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You Will Need

1 glass of fresh cranberry juice

What You Have To Do

Consume a glass of fresh cranberry juice daily.

How Often You Should Do This

You must drink fresh cranberry juice once daily.

Why This Works

Cranberry juice is a powerful antimicrobial agent that can help you get rid of the pathogens responsible for oral infections. It is also a popular remedy for candida, one of the main causes of oral thrush and the subsequent white coating on your tongue (17).

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14. Neem (Indian Lilac)

Neem (Indian Lilac) Pinit

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You Will Need
  • 1 tablespoon of dried neem leaves
  • 1 cup of water
What You Have To Do
  1. Add a tablespoon of dried neem leaves to a cup of water.
  2. Bring them to a boil in a saucepan.
  3. Continue to simmer until the water is reduced to half the initial volume.
  4. Strain and allow the neem solution to cool.
  5. Swish this solution in your mouth for a minute or two and spit it out.
  6. Rinse your mouth with warm water.
How Often You Should Do This

You must do this twice daily until you notice an improvement in your condition.

Why This Works

Neem possesses excellent antifungal and antibacterial properties that can help clear infectious oral pathogens from your mouth (18), (19). This, in turn, also helps in eliminating a white tongue with time.

Once you have begun using these remedies, you should also follow a few tips to reduce your odds of developing a furry tongue again.

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Prevention Tips

  • Use a fluoride toothpaste for brushing your teeth.
  • Use a mouthwash regularly.
  • Floss daily.
  • Quit smoking or chewing tobacco.
  • Limit your alcohol intake.
  • Follow a healthy diet that consists of several fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Visit your dentist once every six months.

While most cases of white tongue begin clearing up without treatment, you can use the remedies and tips provided here to help you recover faster. If you notice no difference in your tongue despite regular treatment and care, consult a doctor to find out the underlying cause of your condition.

Hope this article cleared all your queries. For more questions, ping us in the comments box below.

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Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

What is the difference between a white tongue and bumps on the tongue?

The swelling or bumps (papillae) on your tongue are usually a result of poor oral hygiene. They can even be caused due to irritations from hot foods. When food, bacteria, debris, or dead cells get trapped between these inflamed bumps, a white coating is formed on the tongue.

How long does it take for a white tongue to go away?

A white tongue usually disappears in a few weeks. With treatment, it will disappear even faster. However, if the condition persists, it is best to seek medical attention immediately.

References

1. “Antibacterial activity of baking soda” The Compendium of Continuing Education in Dentistry, US National Library of Medicine
2. “Use of Probiotics and Oral Health” Current Oral Health Reports, US National Library of Medicine
3. “A Review on Antibacterial, Antiviral, and Antifungal Activity of Curcumin” BioMed Research International, US National Library of Medicine
4. “Role of curcumin in systemic and oral health: An overview” Journal of Natural Science, Biology and Medicine, US National Library of Medicine
5. “Oil pulling for maintaining oral hygiene – A review” Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, US National Library of Medicine
6. “Antimicrobial properties of salt (NaCl) used for the preservation of natural casings” Food Microbiology, US National Library of Medicine
7. “Clinical Effectiveness of Aloe Vera in the Management of Oral Mucosal Diseases- A Systematic Review” Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research, US National Library of Medicine
8. “Silver colloidal nanoparticles: antifungal effect against adhered cells and biofilms of Candida albicans and Candida glabrata” Biofouling, US National Library of Medicine
9. “Silver nanoparticles as active ingredient used for alcohol-free mouthwash” GMS Hygiene and Infection Control, US National Library of Medicine
10. “Antimicrobial properties of allicin from garlic” Microbes and Infection, US National Library of Medicine
11. “In vitro activity of origanum vulgare essential oil against candida species” The Brazilian Journal of Microbiology, US National Library of Medicine
12. Pau D’arco, University of Colorado, Denver
13. “Antimicrobial activity of apple cider vinegar against Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans; downregulating cytokine and microbial protein expression” Scientific Reports, US National Library of Medicine
14. “Interventions for the management of dry mouth: topical therapies” Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, US National Library of Medicine
15. “Promising results of cranberry in the prevention of oral Candida biofilms” Pathogens and Disease, US National Library of Medicine
16. “Therapeutics Role of Azadirachta indica (Neem) and Their Active Constituents in Diseases Prevention and Treatment” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, US National Library of Medicine
17. “Azadirachta indica: A herbal panacea in dentistry – An update” Pharmacognosy Reviews, US National Library of Medicine

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