The tongue is one of the strongest muscles in the body. It helps us taste food, swallow and talk. A healthy tongue is pink in color and covered with small nodules called papillae. But at times, your tongue may have a white coating. This is a common problem and can lead to symptoms like bad breath or a bitter taste in the mouth.
The tongue appears white when food debris, bacteria and dead cells get lodged between inflamed papillae. This inflammation can happen due to dehydration, dry mouth, excessive alcohol use, fever and smoking. Improper oral hygiene and eating highly acidic or sugary foods can also contribute to a white-coated tongue.
Certain diseases like liver congestion, jaundice, lupus, candida, oral thrush, leukoplakia and syphilis can also play a role. At times, it can even be due to side effects of some antibiotics and medications.
In most cases, the condition is harmless and temporary. Most likely, it is a sign of dehydration. Drink water, natural fruit juices or other healthy fluids throughout the day after first noticing a white tongue. When your body becomes hydrated, the problem will go away naturally.
Plus, there are many natural treatments to help remove the coating and keep your mouth healthy and clean. However, if the problem is severe and persistent then make sure to consult your doctor to rule out the possibility of it being caused by a serious condition.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for a white-coated tongue.
Salt is the best remedy to treat a white-coated tongue. The coarse nature of salt will work as a natural tongue scraper to remove debris and dead cells. Plus, its antiseptic property will help kill bacteria that may cause bad breath.
- Sprinkle some salt on your white tongue and scrub gently with a toothbrush for a minute. Then rinse thoroughly with warm water. Repeat twice daily and you will surely get the results you want in a week.
- Also, mix 1 teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water. Gargle with this salt water thoroughly and then spit it out. Repeat several times a day until you are satisfied with the results.
Probiotics are a good remedy for a white-coated tongue caused by the growth of candida fungus. Probiotics contain L. acidophilus and B. lactis cultures, which help control the growth of bacteria and fungi in the mouth.
- Mix the powder of one probiotics capsule with a little water. Brush your teeth as usual and then use the solution as a mouthwash, swishing and swallowing. Then drink a glass of water. Repeat this treatment once daily for a week.
- Also include yogurt with live cultures in your diet.
- Alternatively, take probiotic supplements at least 3 times a day.
3. Vegetable Glycerin
Another popular tried-and-tested home remedy for a white-coated tongue is vegetable glycerin. It is especially effective when the problem is due to dry mouth. It can even help get rid of bad breath. Vegetable glycerin is readily available in health food stores.
- Put a little vegetable glycerin on your tongue.
- Lightly brush your tongue with a soft-bristle toothbrush.
- Rinse your mouth thoroughly with warm water.
- Do this 2 times daily until your tongue returns to its natural pink color.
4. Oil Pulling
Oil pulling, an age-old Ayurvedic practice, is an excellent way to treat white tongue, especially when it is due to oral thrush. Oil pulling will help eliminate the yeast from oral thrush. Plus, it helps expel toxins from the body.
- Before brushing your teeth in the morning, put 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin coconut oil in your mouth.
- Swish it around in your mouth, between your teeth and under the tongue.
- Do this for 15 minutes or until the oil turns milky in color.
- Spit out the oil in the trash and rinse your mouth with warm water.
- Do this once daily for overall oral health.
Oil pulling can be done with sesame oil also.
Note: Do not gargle or swallow the oil. Dispose of it in the trash. Do not spit it down the drain as it can clog the drain.
5. Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide has a strong antibacterial property that helps kill bacteria accumulated on the surface of the tongue. This in turn helps treat a white-coated tongue. Plus, hydrogen peroxide can make your teeth white. For oral health, it is highly recommended to use only 3 percent hydrogen peroxide solution.
- Prepare a mixture of 1 part hydrogen peroxide to 2 parts water.
- Dip a soft toothbrush into the mixture and gently scrape your tongue.
- Spit it out and then rinse your mouth thoroughly with water.
- Follow this remedy once daily for 3 to 4 days.
Note: Do not swallow hydrogen peroxide.
6. Aloe Vera Juice
Due to its anti-inflammatory and healing properties, aloe vera can help treat oral problems. Being an antimicrobial, it also kills bacteria that cause white tongue as well as bad breath.
- Put 1 tablespoon of aloe vera juice in your mouth.
- Swish it around for a few minutes and spit it out.
- Then drink 1 tablespoon of aloe vera juice.
- Repeat this remedy a few times daily for 2 weeks.
Another good remedy for a white tongue is turmeric. Its strong antibacterial properties help prevent the growth of bacteria on the tongue.
- Mix 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder with enough lemon juice to make a paste. Scrub this paste on your white tongue for a few minutes. Then rinse thoroughly with warm water. Do this once daily for a few days.
- You can also mix 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric in a glass of water. Gargle with this solution once or twice daily for a healthy tongue.
8. Baking Soda
Baking soda is an inexpensive remedy to remove a white coat from the tongue. Its exfoliating nature can help get rid of residue sticking to the tongue. Plus, it maintains good pH levels in the mouth by neutralizing acids.
- Mix a little baking soda with enough lemon juice to form a paste. Use this paste to brush your tongue with a toothbrush. Rinse your mouth with water. Do this once daily until you get the desired results.
- You can also dissolve 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water. Use this as an effective mouth rinse twice daily to treat white tongue and beat bad breath.
9. Colloidal Silver
If your white tongue is due to an overgrowth of yeast in the mouth, it can be quickly treated by using colloidal silver. It has natural antimicrobial, antibiotic and antifungal properties and is safe for oral use. It can also alleviate bad breath.
- Dilute colloidal silver with an equal amount of water.
- Swish this solution around in your mouth for 5 minutes.
- Spit it out and then rinse your mouth with warm water.
- Follow this remedy 2 or 3 times a day for a few days.
10. Indian Lilac
Indian lilac, also known as neem, can also effectively treat a coated tongue. Due to its antifungal and antibacterial properties, neem can clear fungus, yeast and bacteria from your mouth. Plus, neem is a blood purifier that will help remove toxins from your body.
- Add 1 tablespoon of dried neem leaves to a cup of water.
- Boil the water until it is reduced to about 1/2.
- Allow it to cool and then gargle with it.
- Rinse your mouth with warm water.
- Do this twice daily until you get rid of the problem.
- Drink enough water to keep the tongue clean and prevent food deposits on the tongue’s surface.
- Regularly gargle with warm water, especially after meals to prevent the accumulation of food particles on your tongue.
- Eat crunchy fruits and vegetables like apples, strawberries, guavas, carrots and others to naturally clean a white-coated tongue.
- Always brush your tongue when you brush your teeth to maintain oral health.
- You can also use a tongue scraper to easily remove a white coating from your tongue
- Stop smoking and using tobacco products that can discolor the tongue and leave a coating.
- Reduce alcohol consumption.
- Avoid dairy products and sugary foods that create mucus and also coat the tongue.
If you have a white-coated tongue that lasts more than 2 weeks and is accompanied by pain and inflammation, consult a doctor immediately.