White Tongue Vs. Thrush

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White tongue is an unattractive, possibly painful coating of debris, bacteria and dead cells on your tongue. One of the more common causes of the condition is oral thrush, a yeast infection, also known as candidiasis.

Symptoms

  • White tongue can be accompanied by bad breath, pain on the tongue, loss of taste and a sickly-looking tongue. Symptoms of thrush can develop suddenly and include creamy white lesions on your tongue, cheeks or roof of the mouth.

Causes

  • White tongue is characterized by an inflammation of the tongue. It can be caused by dehydration, excessive alcohol consumption, or more serious factors like thrush, oral lichen planus (an auto-immune disorder) and leukoplakia, which may be pre-cancerous. Thrush and similar infections are caused by a weakened immune system.

Risk

  • Thrush and other causes of white tongue usually are harmless. However, the condition can indicate a serious problem, such as diabetes, cancer or AIDS. It can be dangerous if you have a weakened immune system and thrush spreads to the esophagus or intestines.

Prevention

  • Drink plenty of water. Do not drink too much alcohol or smoke. Try to breathe through your nose while sleeping. Thrush can be prevented by avoiding foods high in sugar and yeast.

Treatment

  • Brushing your teeth at least twice and flossing once per day probably will help get rid of white tongue. Gargling with salt water also is helpful.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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