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White Spots On Back Of Tongue

  • White tongue is a condition in which your tongue develops a thick white coating on part or all of its surface. 
  • You may also have bad breath, a hairy tongue, and irritation. 
  • White tongue can be unsightly, but it is usually harmless and only temporary.

  • A "white tongue" is a common symptom of a thick white film coating your tongue. This coating may cover the entire surface of your tongue, the back of your tongue, or appear in patches. 
  • You may also experience a bad taste in your mouth, bad breath, or skin redness.
  • White tongue is sometimes associated with a related symptom known as hairy tongue. The thick furlike coating you see isn't hair; it's your papillae, which are small bumps that contain your taste buds.

Why Is My Tongue White?

  • White tongue is typically caused by bacteria, debris (such as food and sugar), and dead cells become trapped between the papillae on the surface of your tongue. These string-like papillae then swell and become inflamed. 
  • This results in the white patch you see on your tongue.
  • A white tongue can also be caused by several different conditions, including:

    1. Leukoplakia

  • Leukoplakia is a common condition caused by an overgrowth of cells in the mouth lining. These cells form a white raised patch on your tongue when they combine with the protein keratin (found in your hair). 
  • In many cases, this condition is caused by irritating your mouth and tongue when you consume alcohol or smoke tobacco. 
  • There are times when there is no obvious cause. Leukoplakia is usually not serious, but it can progress to cancer (mouth cancer) years or even decades after it first appears.

    2. Oral lichen planus

  • Oral lichen planus is a chronic (long-lasting) inflammatory mouth condition. 
  • It's caused by an immune system malfunction (your body's defense against germs) and other microscopic threats. This condition cannot be passed on to others.

    3. Geographic tongue

  • Geographic tongue occurs when the skin on your tongue regenerates. Parts of your tongue's upper layer of skin shed too quickly, leaving tender red areas that frequently become infected. 
  • Meanwhile, other parts of your tongue become white from staying in place for too long. Geographic tongue cannot be passed on to others.

    4. Oral Thrush 

  • Oral thrush is an infection of the mouth caused by the Candida yeast (fungus). 
  • Although Candida is normally found in your mouth, it becomes a problem when it multiplies rapidly.

Who is most susceptible to the white tongue? Is a white tongue inherited?

  • Certain health issues, substances, and habits can increase your chances of developing a white tongue or oral thrush (an infection causing a white patch on your tongue). 
  • These risk factors are as follows:

    • Diabetes is a disease.
    • Being extremely young or extremely old. Infants and toddlers are the most susceptible to oral thrush.
    • Antibiotic use (they can cause a yeast infection inside your mouth).
    • Consuming a diet deficient in fruits and vegetables (iron or vitamin B12). It can also be caused by eating mostly soft foods.
    • You are breathing through your mouth.
    • Being dehydrated, experiencing dry mouth as a result of a medical condition, or taking medications (like muscle relaxers).
    • Tobacco use, whether smoking or chewing.
    • Consuming more than one alcoholic beverage per day.
    • Having cancer treatments.
    • Being hypothyroid (an underactive thyroid gland causing poor metabolism).
    • A fever or a weakened immune system.
    • Wearing dentures or causing tongue damage with sharp objects.

What are the signs and symptoms of white tongue?

  • Depending on your symptoms, your white tongue could simply be that. It could also manifest as other symptoms.
  • Because your papillae (those small bumps on your tongue) are raised, they create a large surface area in your mouth for debris and microorganisms (food, plaque, and bacteria) to collect. 
  • This buildup almost always results in bad breath and can leave a bad taste in your mouth. A white tongue can also indicate poor gum health (like gum disease).

What is the treatment for white tongue? Will my white tongue return?

  • Your white tongue may not require treatment. It should usually go away on its own after a few weeks. 
  • However, if it lasts longer than that or if you want to get rid of it sooner, you should seek treatment. 
  • The following are some treatments for common white tongue symptoms:

    1. Hairy tongue

  • Your provider is unlikely to treat your hairy tongue directly. Instead, they'll concentrate on restoring your compromised immune system. 
  • In rare cases, antiviral medications such as valacyclovir or famciclovir may be prescribed. Alternatively, they may apply a treatment (such as podophyllin resin or retinoic acid) directly to your white patch.

    2. Tongue rash

  • A tongue rash should not require treatment (oral lichen planus). 
  • However, it can sometimes stay in your mouth for years. Your doctor can prescribe steroidal mouthwashes (steroid pills dissolved in water) and steroid sprays to alleviate symptoms such as burning or sore gums.

    3. Fungus

  • If you have a mouth fungus (oral thrush), your provider will prescribe antifungal medications such as Diflucan. 
  • These are available as pills or as gels or liquids to apply to the patches inside your mouth. 
  • Several applications per day for one or two weeks are usually required.
  • There are no special treatments for having multiple white tongue patches (called geographic tongue because it looks like a map outline). 
  • Avoid any food or drink that makes you feel ill. Topical treatments for mouth fungus can provide some relief from any discomfort you are experiencing. 

There is no danger of this condition progressing to cancer.

How can I treat white tongue at home?

  • White tongue is usually simple to treat. The treatment for white tongue caused by debris buildup in the mouth is to practice good oral hygiene regularly. Simple treatments for white tongue include:
  • Drinking up to eight glasses of water per day.
  • Use a soft toothbrush to brush your teeth.
  • Use a toothpaste with a low fluoride content that does not contain sodium lauryl sulfate (a detergent).
  • Fluoride mouthwash is being used. If your child has a white tongue, your provider can prescribe an antifungal mouthwash for you to swab it.
  • To remove the white coating, brush your tongue or use a tongue scraper. If you don't have a tongue scraper, you can use a teaspoon instead.
  • When drinking cold drinks, use a straw.
  • Avoid substances that can irritate your tongues, such as alcohol mouthwashes and cigarettes. Avoid spicy, salty, acidic, or extremely hot foods and beverages as well.
  • Use over-the-counter pain relievers if you are in pain.

How can I avoid having a white tongue?

  • You can't always avoid getting a white tongue. However, good oral hygiene can help you avoid it. Every six months, visit your dentist for a checkup and tongue cleaning. 
  • Always brush your teeth at least twice a day. Floss once a day and eat a healthy diet that includes a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • If your doctor says your white tongue symptoms are severe, you should consider giving up alcohol or tobacco (or using less of either). Make regular follow-up appointments with your dentist or provider. This will help to ensure that your white patch does not grow or turn cancerous.
  • Your provider can also assist you in determining whether you have a food or drink allergy.

Should I consult a doctor if I develop a white tongue?

  • White tongue is usually harmless and temporary. You could wait to see if your white tongue symptoms go away on their own. 
  • If the only symptom you notice is a white tongue, you should be fine.
  • However, if your tongue hurts or itches, you should have it examined. It can sometimes be a sign of a developing health problem, such as an infection or oral (mouth or tongue) cancer. 

  • When a white tongue infection is not treated, it can spread to other parts of your mouth and body.
  • However, if your tongue hurts or itches, you should have it examined. It can sometimes be a sign of a developing health problem, such as an infection or oral (mouth or tongue) cancer. When a white tongue infection is not treated, it can spread to other parts of your mouth and body.
  • If your white tongue persists after a few weeks, you should consult your provider or dentist. You should also be examined if your tongue hurts or you have difficulty eating or speaking. Your service provider can assist you in resolving the issue. They can also assist you in determining whether or not you have a more serious condition. 


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