What is white tongue?


Back-to-Directory A health article about white tongue from Your Health Online the A to Z directory of dealing with Health Problems & nutritional Self Care Strategies

Signs & Symptoms

Bad breath, Tongue discoloration (This can be white, yellow, even black)

People who have a white tongue, also known as a geographic tongue, are definitely more likely to experience an abnormally colored tongue.

Geographic tongue simply means a tongue that has lots of grooves and fissures in it. These grooves and fissures make an excellent breeding ground for the anaerobic bacteria that cause bad breath and a white tongue.

Under certain conditions, a geographic tongue can be white, yellow, even black in color. A geographic tongue can also be coated and sometimes dry and cracked.

What Causes white tongue?

The way around this problem is simply making sure that your tongue is kept as clean as possible.

But...not all tongue cleaning is created equal.

Treatment/Therapy -

Here is some details information from Dr. Harold Katz in his article “How To Effectively Clean a White Tongue, a Cause of Bad Breath”

Tongue cleaning or tongue scraping is a process that the majority of people in the United States don't do on a daily basis. Yet, it's one of the most important steps you can take to keep your breath clean and fresh!


MYTH #1:

You have to scrape hard to clean a white tongue. This is false! You do not need to scrape your tongue so hard that it bleeds. In general, pressing harder does not remove more bacteria.

You simply need to press hard enough that the tongue cleaner you're using is pressed flush across the surface of your white tongue. Try not to leave any gaps.

MYTH #2:

Tongue Cleaning Alone Prevents Bad Breath. This is also false! Tongue cleaning alone does not kill the bacteria that cause bad breath that are breeding below the surface of a white tongue.

It simply removes the gunk on the surface. This gunk (mucus and food debris) is a food source for anaerobic bacteria, the cause of a white tongue.

MYTH #3:

You must use a complex, expensive gizmo to successfully clean your tongue. Again false! Really, all you need is a fairly rigid instrument, that you can easily make flush on the surface of your white tongue and cover the largest area possible.

Those electronic tongue cleaners you see can be helpful if you have arthritis, difficulty with coordination, or in general have a a tough time performing some simple actions on tongue cleaning, which I'll outline below.

Tongue cleaning is really not that difficult to do, and it's not even very time consuming.

That extra minute or two you spend on your tongue per day can reap huge rewards in preventing bad breath. It'll help prevent a white tongue, return it to it's normal color, and most importantly cut down on bad breath.

Self Care strategies for Living with white tongue


STEP 1: Starting at the base of your tongue, place a tongue cleaner/scraper flush against your tongue's surface and make slow sweeping strokes from the back to the front.

You can start at either side of your tongue and work your way across to the other side. Depending on the tongue cleaner you are using, you might need to make three to four different swaths across your white tongue.


Once the surface debris from your white tongue has been removed, apply a small bead of toothpaste to the head of your tongue cleaner.

Make sure your toothpaste does not contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate because this ingredient will dry out your mouth.

Dr. Harold Katz recommends using TheraBreath Oxygenating Toothpaste from (http://www.therabreath.com/products.asp?CAT=3).


Gently coat the surface of your tongue (as far back as possible without gagging yourself) with the toothpaste. This allows the toothpaste to penetrate below the surface of your tongue and neutralize those sulfur-producing anaerobic bacteria.

Believe it or not, there are more bacteria in the rear of your tongue than in the front!


Once your tongue is coated, allow the toothpaste to stay on the surface of your tongue as long as you can.

Up to 90 seconds is ideal. If you begin to cough, or your gag reflex kicks in, that's okay, just spit whenever you need to.


Ideally, it's best to leave the toothpaste on the surface of your tongue, while you brush your teeth normally.

Following this routine daily gives you the most benefit possible in cleaning a white tongue. This routine will help prevent white tongue, keep your breath fresh, and give a geographic white tongue its best possible chance at maintaining the normal, healthy, pink color that everyone would like to have.

Diet change strategies:

Here is a simple test to check on your general health:

Your tongue should be pink and bumpy like a strawberry.

If it is shiny and smooth, you may have a digestive disorder.

If it is coated white, you may need to cut down the amount of diary in your diet.

A yellow tongue is a sign of a disturbed liver – eat more fruit and vegetables.

A black tongue is often a reaction to antibiotic treatment, and you may need to eat more live-culture yoghurt or take an acidophilus supplement.

A green tongue is a symptom of bile reflux, so make sure your diet includes plenty of wholegrain foods.

Vitamin & Nutrient Associations

Aloe Vera Juice is a refreshing and anti-bacterial drink, you might find that taking this daily, diluted in some filtered water will not only cleanse your mouth and improve your oral hygiene, but also assists in dealing with any digestive issues you may also be experiencing that could also be assisting in the cause or bad breath.

This problem, like so many others, indicates that your body system is working to deal with underlying problems.

This may be a build up of toxins and poisons in your system and the symptoms you are experiencing is part of your bodies attempts to deal with them.

You may find benefit from our information on Detoxifying through change of diet.

It may be due to difficulties with your digestive system that is causing your body to be starved of key nutrients, vitamins or minerals.

In this case you may find useful answers by reviewing our article on Nutrition For Your Cells.

Bad breath is something you have to check for yourself, because nobody will tell you.

Cup your hand over your nose and mouth. You Exhale through the mouth and inhale quickly through the nose.

You can also lick your forearm, and them immediately smell the saliva on your skin to see if it has any bad odor.

If you can detect the odor of bad breath you should not neglect the problem, but instead go and see your dentist, to rule out the possibility of a gum disease.

Some Homemade Remedies for Curing bad Breath

** Rinse your mouth well after each meal and even after a snack. The problem of bad breath begins in the mouth. Food particles get trapped in the teeth, decay fast and give rise to the problem.

** When you brush your teeth, use dental floss between the teeth. Mouthwashes and rinses can also help. Clean your tongue as well. A coated lounge can sometimes cause bad breath.

** A dental check-up is a must. There may be hidden pockets around the roots of the teeth, or under the gums, where food particles keep collecting.

Or, you may have a gum disease. If there is even slight bleeding when you brush your teeth, you should see your dentist. Red, puffy, or bleeding gums can point to gum diseases.

See our article aboutabscessed teeth for more information on gum health.

Curing Bad Breath - Through your daily diet

Calcium, phosphorous, vitamins A and D help to keep the mouth healthy, while vitamin C prevents bleeding of the gums. Your daily diet should include citrus and other fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, milk and mill products, like yoghurt and cottage cheese and unrefined cereals.

Food that you can eat raw, like fresh fruits, salads and sprouts, not only cleanse the teeth, but also help to exercise the gums and teeth, because they have to be chewed.

Home Remedies for Bad Breath

1) When you brush your teeth, use dental floss between the teeth. Mouthwashes and rinses can also help. Clean your tongue as well. A coated lounge can sometimes cause bad breath.

2) Parsley leaves are rich in chlorophyll, nature's own deodorizer. Chew some leaves regularly for fresh breath.

In these ways you can cure the problem of bad breath in your own home.

It may be that your metabolism has slowed due to pressures that have been placed on your system through life in general or through specific “challenges” you have faced in the last few months or last few years.

Review this by looking at our article about balancing your Metabolic Rate.

Further reading through our articles on health issues will give you a body of information that will help you decide what options you have to deal with the underlying causes of your problem through giving your body the nutrition products that will assist you body to heal from the inside out.

We wish you well in your search for solutions to this problem and your movement towards better health in all areas.

Below here are examples of Health Success Results other people have had with using a self care strategy for dealing with oral hygiene and white tongue problems:

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