White film on your tongue can cause a loss of taste, severe pain and embarrassment. The white appearance of the tongue is hideously unattractive and may also cause bad breath. A white tongue can be caused by many different things, but most common causes of white tongue can easily be cured. Unfortunately, white tongue may also indicate a serious underlying health problem.
Things You'll Need
- Tongue scraper
- Dental floss
Getting Rid of White Film on Tongue
Practice good oral hygiene. Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss a minimum of once per day. When you brush your teeth, make sure to thoroughly brush all areas of your teeth as well as your gums. Also use a tongue scraper to remove all the yellow gunk off your tongue until it is normal in color. If scraping your tongue causes severe pain or bleeding, stop immediately. If the white film on your tongue is just the buildup of debris or sulfurous compounds from bacteria, simply brushing and scraping should get rid of it. Also be sure not to use mouthwash because it also kills the helpful bacteria in your mouth that help balance the “good” and “bad” germs. A good bacterial balance will prevent oral thrush (a very common cause of white film on the tongue) from developing.
Try gargling saltwater. Oral thrush can usually be cured with this technique. Dissolve about 1/2 teaspoon of salt into 1 cup (237 milliliters) of warm water, and then swish the rinse for 30 seconds. When you are done, spit the rinse out and try not to swallow any of the solution.
Clean up some bad habits if you have any. Both smoking and drinking excessively can cause white tongue. Smoking is a hard habit to break, but there are other sources of nicotine such as nicotine patches and gum that can help you quit without experiencing severe withdrawals. You can drink alcohol in moderation, but just don’t drink it to the point where it dehydrates your body.
Tweak your diet a little bit. Avoid foods that have sugar and yeast in them because they promote the growth of the Candida albicans fungus (the fungus that causes oral thrush) in your mouth. Also drink plenty of water; dehydration helps bring about many of the things that can cause white film on your tongue. Another way to fight off oral thrush is to eat sugar-free yogurt. Sugar-free yogurt helps to restore the bacterial balance in your mouth, which helps prevent oral thrush.
Find the underlying cause of the white film on your tongue if none of the above treatments work. There are many other possible causes for white tongue such as Leukoplakia, oral lichen planus and syphilis. Your doctor may have to run a variety of tests on you to find out what the exact cause is of your white tongue so that you can determine the proper treatment. Unfortunately, white tongue can also be a sign of something as serious as diabetes, AIDS or cancer.