The tongue is one of the most important organs in the oral cavity. It is a muscular organ that typically constitutes pink tissue whose cells are mucosal in nature. The characteristic minuscule bumps on the organ give it its irregular feel. The tiny bumps are referred to as papillae, and are the site for the thousands of taste buds that connect to the brain.
The tongue plays a critical role in the proper functioning of the body as it allows for you to recognize different tastes that include the following: salty, sweet, sour, bitter. In recent years, a fifth distinct taste has been established.
The taste is referred to as umami, and has been credited to the recognition of glutamate in food. Glutamate is a key ingredient in MSG- Monosodium Glutamate, a popular culinary addition. There are various tongue conditions that may arise, and one of these is the white tongue. There are several reasons why a white tongue can develop. For example, when the papillae get inflamed.
This inflammation is almost always accompanied by the accumulation of food remains and bacterial populations in between the tiny bumps. Some of the causes of inflammation include excessive alcohol intake, fever and acute dehydration. Poor oral hygiene is also a causative agent for white coating of the tongue.
In extreme cases, a number of diseases can be pointed out to be the cause of a white tongue. Leukoplakia is a condition which leads to the excessive proliferation of cells in the oral cavity. This creates the white coating, and while it may not be carcinogenic, it is important to have your medical doctor affirm the same.
Candidiasis, also known as oral thrush is one of the most common reasons for a white coated tongue. The characteristic formation of cheese-like masses on the tongue is one of the symptoms of oral thrush, and is often the result of using antibiotics which destroy both the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ bacteria. Other medical conditions that can cause this include jaundice and lupus.
For the most part, the white coating is harmless, and will often resolve on its own, or with the help of a number of home remedies. If, however, the condition persists even after the use of these home remedies, it is imperative to secure a doctor’s appointment. This is because such an appointment rules out the likelihood that the white tongue belies a more serious medical condition that warrants attention. Below are the most effective home remedies for treating a white tongue, alongside the approximated time required for remedy application, what you require, and the estimated difficulty.
Time Required: 10 Min
What You Need: A pinch of salt, your toothbrush, and warm water.
Salt is a versatile compound in most home remedies, a factor that can be attributed to its cleansing capabilities as well as its ability to get rid of bacterial populations. Having mentioned that one of the causes of this condition is the accumulation of food debris and bacteria on the tongue, the use of salt will act as an abrasive tongue scraper to effectively get rid of these. The salt is also effective in getting rid of dead cells on the tongue, while ensuring that bad breath is dealt with.
- Place a pinch of salt on your tongue and using your toothbrush, brush gently for about 30 seconds.
- Rinse using warm water and repeat this procedure twice daily. You should be able to see a difference in about a week following regular use of this remedy.
- If you cannot stand the taste of raw salt on your tongue, you can add a a teaspoon of salt to a glass of warm water. Sip this salty water and gargle, swishing and swirling the water in your mouth for about a minute. Spit the water out. Repeat this procedure several times throughout the day.
Time Required: 10 Min
What You Need: Choice of probiotic yogurt or supplement.
Probiotics is a term used to define live bacteria and yeast that are great for your health and gut. Most people are of the opinion that all bacteria is bad, but this could not be further from the truth. There are ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria. The former constitute colonies of bacteria that ensure your digestive system remains functional. Bad bacteria, for obvious reasons, are responsible for infections and disease.
Since one of the causes of a white tongue is the decrease in the number of good bacteria as is the case with oral thrush, taking probiotics is an effective white tongue remedy. There are a number of sources of probiotics, and these include yogurt (labelled probiotic) and supplements. The mode of action of probiotics is to aid in the growth and proliferation of bacteria in the oral cavity. The specific bacterial species that aids this process is the Lactobacillus acidophilus. The live culture in probiotic yogurt goes a long way in ensuring that the good bacteria thrive in the oral cavity, thus providing an effective way to naturally get rid of white tongue.
For the use of probiotic supplements
- Take your choice brand of probiotic supplements as indicated in the dosage form.
For the probiotic yogurt
- Simply add probiotic yogurt to your diet. Take it as a healthy snack throughout the day and enjoy the benefits of increasing the good tongue bacteria while controlling the bad.
3. Oil Pulling:
Time Require: 10 Min
What You Need: Extra-virgin coconut oil, and warm water to rinse.
Difficulty: Moderate (largely due to the taste of the oil, which takes some getting used to for many).
Oil pulling is an ancient technique that involves the removal of toxins from the oral cavity using coconut oil. In the case of a white tongue, especially that which results from candidiasis, oil pulling works effectively in reducing the amount of yeast in the oral cavity. This in turn, reduces the population of the bad bacteria while detoxifying the mouth. Coconut oil is preferred because of its antibacterial properties.
Admittedly, it does require some regular use before you get accustomed to the taste of the oil. Note that it is preferable to use this white tongue treatment on an empty stomach as it is most effective in the absence of food remains. Additionally, you must avoid swallowing the oil after using this remedy because it is laden with toxins, and this will only transfer the bacteria to your digestive system, thus beating the very purpose of oil pulling. The added benefits of using this white tongue cure includes better oral health and an overall healthier life.
Use this remedy prior to your regular brushing routine.
- Place a tablespoon of the coconut oil on your tongue. Make sure you choose the extra virgin oil as opposed to refined as the latter is likely to be modified from a chemical perspective.
- Swish and swirl the oil in your mouth, ensuring that the oil-saliva mixture reaches areas between the teeth and gum as well as under the tongue.
- Carry on with the swirling motion for about 10 minutes, at which point you will notice that the oil-saliva mixture has become cloudy.
- Spit the oil before rinsing your mouth with warm drinking water. You could use this remedy once everyday, or simply incorporate it into your daily brushing routine even after the white patches on the tongue have disappeared.
4. Hydrogen Peroxide:
Time Required: 10 Min
What You Need: 3% Hydrogen peroxide, warm drinking water, and a toothbrush (preferably one with a tongue scraper).
Hydrogen peroxide is a common home remedy for those who would like to maintain oral health. The antibacterial properties of this compound helps to get rid of bacteria on the tongue’s surface, which is what leads to the formation of the white patches. In addition, hydrogen peroxide is an excellent way to whiten your teeth. The recommended amount of hydrogen peroxide for this coated tongue treatment is 3% of the solution.
Take note that the solution should NOT be swallowed after use. This is because when swallowed, the solution tends to overwhelm the body’s capacity to break down the hydrogen peroxide enzymatically. Consequently, the hydrogen peroxide causes damage to the body cells in just the same way it eliminates the bacteria on the tongue.
- Take half a cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide and mix it with a cup of drinking water.
- Put your toothbrush in this solution and swirl it around so that it is saturated by the mixture.
- Using the brush containing the solution, gently scrape the surface of your tongue. Concentrate on the areas where the white patches are most obvious.
- Spit the mixture out before rinsing your mouth with the warm water. Repeat this procedure once daily for a week or so for best results.
5. Baking Soda and Lemon Juice:
Time Required: 15 Min
What You Need: A tablespoon of baking soda (also referred to as sodium bicarbonate), a tablespoon of lemon juice, a toothbrush, and a glass of drinking water.
Baking soda is an affordable home remedy that effectively helps you get rid of the white patches on the tongue. This is attributed to the remedy’s ability to exfoliate, thus getting rid of dead cells from the tongue’s surface. In addition to this, the alkaline nature of the baking soda makes it possible to counter the acidity of food remains and sugary debris that remains in the mouth. The addition of lemon juice not only cleanses the tongue, it also gets rid of the mouth odor that accompanies a white tongue.
- Mix the lemon juice with the baking soda and form a paste.
- Transfer this paste to your toothbrush and gently scrape the surface of your tongue for about a minute.
- Use warm water to rinse your mouth. Repeat this procedure twice daily, or simply add it to your brushing regimen.
- Alternatively, dissolve the baking soda in a glass of warm drinking water and stir. Use this solution as a mouth rinse right after you brush your teeth.
Time Required: 10 Min
What You Need: Vegetable glycerin, and a toothbrush.
Vegetable glycerin is a natural substance that is both gentle on the oral cavity and effective in treating white tongue. This soothing effect is most effective for a coated tongue that is the result of dehydration. It is also a great home remedy for the elimination of mouth odor.
- Place 5 drops of glycerin on your tongue and brush using a soft-bristled toothbrush for 5 minutes.
- Use warm water to rinse your mouth. Repeat this procedure twice daily, or until your tongue shows its pink coloration.
Other effective home remedies for white tongue include turmeric, thanks to its antibacterial properties, Neem plant which boasts excellent antifungal and antibacterial properties as well as aloe vera juice. It is important to remember that persistent formation of white patches warrants medical attention as it could be a symptom of a deeper-seated problem.