What White Tongue Is, and What to Do About It

There are many possible causes for white tongue, and in some cases, it comes with an unpleasant odor and mouth dryness. To get rid of it, sometimes you just need to brush your teeth. But what should you do if that doesn’t help?

❗ This article is for informative purposes only and can’t replace the advice of a specialist.

What white tongue is

© Ksenia Chernaya / Pexels© James Heilman, MD / Wikimedia Commons© CC BY-SA 3.0

The white film may cover the entire tongue, part of it, or appear as spots. At the same time, an unpleasant odor and taste in the mouth may appear. It looks as if there are small white hairs on the tongue’s surface. In fact, they are buds covered with organic particles, bacteria, and dead cells.

White plaque on the tongue (which can also be yellow) may appear for different reasons, like due to irritation or because of an infection. It usually disappears after several days. If the situation doesn’t change for several weeks, and it’s painful to eat and talk, it’s best to see a doctor.

It’s important to note that the plaque may not only be white. While a pink tongue is normal, a brown tongue means the person drinks too much coffee or tea. A yellow tongue means there’s something wrong with the liver, and a red tongue is a sign that the person lacks vitamin B.