Dental One Associates at Beltway
7650 Belair Road, Baltimore, MD 21236

The Black-and-White Facts About White Tongue

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A tongue that’s covered with a strange white coating may frighten you at first, but it’s often a temporary tongue issue that is easily resolved. Yet there are some times when a white tongue signals a more serious medical problem, so you will want to get some answers to its cause, its care, and its cure.

What Causes a Coated Tongue?

White tongue is seen when the tiny bumps called papillae that cover the tongue get inflamed or enlarged. Then, bacteria, debris and dead cells get trapped between these inflamed and enlarged papillae. This leads to the appearance of a white coating on the tongue. The primary causes include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Dehydration
  • Poor dental hygiene
  • Breathing only through the mouth
  • Irritation caused by a sharp tooth or dental tool
  • Poor diet that is low in roughage
  • Alcohol use
  • Fever

What Health Conditions Cause a White Tongue?

While a white tongue is usually is no cause for concern, it is occasionally a sign of a medical problem that demands a doctor’s attention. A coated tongue is a noticeable symptom of the following health conditions:

  • Oral thrush
  • A yeast infection caused by prolonged use of certain antibiotics
  • Geographic tongue, which is when smooth patches form on the tongue
  • Leukoplakia, which are white patches in the mouth that can’t be brushed away, is often attributed to tobacco use
  • Syphilis
  • Mouth cancer
  • Tongue cancer
  • HIV/AIDS

What Are the Treatments for a White Tongue?

Typically, a coated tongue isn’t serious. Often, the best treatment is simply brushing your tongue when you brush your teeth. But why should you brush your tongue? Well, white tongue is often just a buildup of bacteria in the mouth, so by brushing your tongue regularly, you can remove debris and get your tongue back in the pink. Now that you know why should you brush your tongue, you should also know that sometimes a coated tongue requires medical care.

If you notice any changes or pain in your tongue, or your white tongue lasts for more than a month, call your dentist or doctor to have it looked at.

To learn about our family dentistry practice in Baltimore, call Dental One Associates at Beltway today at (410) 775-5536 or make an appointment.

Dental One Associates offers affordable family dentistry and gentle, compassionate dental care in Baltimore. With 12 affiliated practices throughout Maryland, our offices are conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At Dental One Associates at Beltway, we provide most dental services, from basic preventative care and general dentistry to specialized procedures and complete dental reconstruction. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable dental care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping those smiles healthy, beautiful, and bright. Discover an affordable dentist who truly cares at Dental One Associates at Beltway.

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Ms. Shannon, Ms. Denise and Dr. Patel were all very nice and informative.
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Great hygienist
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Shannon is very nice and approchable. Megan made my son comfortable.
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Marie the hygienist is amazing. She is the most thorough, friendly person I’ve ever been seen by. I was also examined by DR. Patel afterwards. He is so nice. Even the staff is friendly. I was […]
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Hygienist Marie always makes my visit quick and informative. She is very knowledgeable and does a great job.
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Extremely professional and friendly staff ! I had my orthodontic treatment recently and was impressed by Dr. Sagafi! She was wonderful and caring and always paid attention to my needs and worked with […]
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The care of that my mother was provided was very good. Both the doctor and the staff we’re very gracious and dealing with an 80 year old woman who has Alzheimer’s.
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I love when I come here. And Ms Denise cleaned my teeth she did a great job, gave additional advice. Very nice and sensitive to the fact my jaw was recently broken!!
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Marie is the most thorough dental hygienist that I have ever had the pleasure of working with. She does outstanding work with adult and pediatric clients alike. I actually look forward to my dentist […]
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