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What causes a white tongue? http://www.localhealth.

com/article/white-tongue In many cases, a white coating on the tongue is caused by a layer of dead skin cells and debris that can be cleaned or scraped off the tongue. Some common conditions that lead to a visible white layer include dehydration, poor oral hygiene, excessive alcohol use, and smoking tobacco. A white tongue can also be a symptom of a variety of other disorders and diseases, such as a bacterial infection or a precancerous lesion. White spots or patches on the tongue (and other oral structures) can be due to leukoplakia (precancerous lesion), oral thrush (yeast infection), or oral lichen planus (an inflammatory disorder of the mouth). Oral lichen planus can also appear as a lace-like pattern on the tongue and the inside of the cheeks. The underlying cause of lichen planus is not known, although it may be related to oral hygiene and irritants, such as tobacco smoke. Oral thrush (candidiasis) can occur in all age groups and populations, but is common in HIV-positive individuals who are immunocompromised and more susceptible to the overgrowth of yeast, such asCandida albicans. Antibiotic use, diabetes, and immunosuppressant therapy can also lead to an overgrowth of Candida albicans. A white tongue combined with a sore throat may be due to a streptococcal infection or other bacterial infection. Injured and inflamed areas of the tongue are more susceptible to infectious microorganisms, such as the herpes virus, streptococcal bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus, and pathogenic fungi. Common conditions that can cause a white tongue A white tongue, particularly a white coating, can be due to the following conditions: Alcohol use Breathing through your mouth, which leads to a dry mouth Dehydration Smoking Infections that can cause a white tongue A white tongue can be due to infectious diseases including: Bacterial infection, such as an infection with streptococcal or staphylococcal bacteria Hairy leukoplakia (caused by Epstein-Barr virus; occurs most often in people with HIV/AIDS infection) Oral herpes virus infection (also known as herpetic stomatitis) Oral thrush (also known as candidiasis, which is caused by the yeast Candida albicans) Syphilis Trauma or injuries that can cause a white tongue A white tongue can be caused by tongue trauma and inflamed tissues, which make the tongue more susceptible to infection. Potential traumatic causes of white tongue include: Acid or corrosive chemical burn Biting the tongue Blisters or ulcers Burning the tongue Canker sores Dental appliances, dentures, or jagged or misaligned teeth Laceration (cut) Other disorders that can cause a white tongue A white tongue can be due to a variety of other diseases, disorders and conditions including:

Geographic tongue (an inflammatory disorder) Leukoplakia (precancerous sores in the oral cavity that can lead to cancer) Oral lichen planus (an inflammatory disorder) Tongue or oral cancer (sometimes caused by human papillomavirus) Questions for diagnosing the cause of a white tongue To diagnose the underlying cause of a white tongue, your doctor or licensed health care practitioner will ask you several questions related to your symptoms. Providing complete answers to these questions will help your provider in diagnosing the cause of a white tongue: Are you having tongue or mouth pain? Describe all diseases and conditions in your medical and dental history and list all the medications, supplements, and herbal drugs you are taking. Do you smoke? Describe any other changes in the texture and appearance of the tongue. Have you noticed any tongue swelling, mouth sores, or lesions? Describe any other symptoms you are having. Have you noticed a change in taste? Have you been in recent contact with any unusual substances or environments, such as hot or spicy foods? When did the white tongue first appear? What are the potential complications of a white tongue? Complications associated with a white tongue can be progressive and may vary depending on the underlying cause. Because a white tongue can be caused by a serious disease, failure to seek treatment can result in complications and permanent damage. It is important to contact your health care provider when you experience any kind of persistent discoloration, pain or other unusual symptoms of the tongue or mouth. Once the underlying cause is diagnosed, following the treatment plan outlined by your doctor can help reduce any potential complications including: Spread of infection Tongue or oral cancer Tongue removal due a serious infection or malignant condition

Jan 7, 2010 | By Susan Lavery If you have a coated tongue, you may be suffering from any number of conditions including thrush, autoimmune problems, digestive upset, strep infection of the throat, or an unhealthy lifestyle and diet. There are non-invasive, natural herbal treatments to help remove the coating on your tongue and keep your mouth healthy and clean. Step 1 Brush you tongue when you brush your teeth. Much of the time, any coating or discoloration will come off the tongue by performing this simple step. Step 2 Use a tongue scraper, available in pharmacies and grocery stores, to remove the coating on the tongue that may be a little more difficult to loosen. Do this twice a day after brushing the teeth. Step 3

Eat fresh garlic if you have thrush, an infection from candida yeast that thrives in the mouth. Thrush causes a white, curd-like deposit on the tongue, says Garlic, which is known for its antifungal and antimicrobial action, according to, has been found to be effective in destroying candida in the body. Don't scrape the thrush, however, as doing so can be painful and cause bleeding. Step 4 Use Neem, an herb from India/ Also known by its botanical name, Adirachta indica, Neem is an effective treatment for a coated tongue, says Depak Chopra, well-known Ayurvedic health care teacher. Neem is a blood purifier and can be found in Indian or Middle Eastern stores or online. Make a drink with 1 tablespoon of neem leaves mixed with 1 cup of boiling water. Cook the mixture down to about half and allow to cool. Use the mixture as a gargle. Neem is bitter tasting, so pinch your nose. Do not sweeten for use on the tongue. Step 5 Rinse your mouth with aloe vera juice, available in health food stores, suggests Chopra. Swirl a tablespoonful of aloe vera juice in your mouth and then gargle. Spit it out and drink another tablespoonful. Aloe vera is very soothing to the digestive tract membranes. Repeat this daily for 2 weeks to clean your mouth of toxins that may be causing the coated tongue. Step 6 Brush or scrape your tongue with hydrogen peroxide. Make a mixture of one part hydrogen peroxide to two parts water. Dip a toothbrush into the mixture and brush your tongue. Scrape the remainder of the coating from your tongue and spit it out. Repeat morning and night after brushing your teeth as long as necessary. Step 7 Adjust your lifestyle. Stop using tobacco products that discolor the tongue and leave a coating. Eliminate dairy products which create mucus and also coat the tongue. TIPS AND WARNINGS Treat your tongue gently. If after performing some of the suggestions here, you still have problems, see a doctor or natural health care practitioner to find out why. The information offered here is for educational purposes and is not meant to replace medical advice.

THINGS YOU'LL NEED Toothbrush Tongue scraper Raw garlic Neem leaves Aloe vera juice Hydrogen peroxide

REFERENCES The Chopra Center: Coated Tongue The Nutrition Reporter: The Wonders of Garlic Article reviewed by Libby Swope Wiersema Last updated on: Jan 7, 2010

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