Here’s Why You Have A White Tongue & How To Fix It!

You know that a healthy tongue is pink. So waking up one day and noticing a white coating on the surface of your tongue can be pretty alarming. The tongue is covered with papillae – small nodules on the tongue that give it a rough texture. When

food debris, bacteria and dead cells become lodged between inflamed papillae, white tongue occurs. It’s usually harmless and temporary, but it can also be an indication of an infection or a serious condition.

What Causes White Tongue?

The most common cause of white tongue is dehydration. A dry mouth is a breeding ground for bacteria. Brushing your teeth and tongue less than twice a day increases your risk of developing white tongue. It can also be caused by an overgrowth of candida, which is a fungus that causes yeast infections or oral thrush. Candida often lives inside the mouth. The problem arises when it accumulates. It can spread to the roof of the mouth, the gums, tongue, tonsils and the back of the throat. This creates white tongue, lesions, redness and even bleeding.


White tongue that cannot be scraped off and doesn’t go away after using antifungal treatments may be the result of a more serious condition. A white tongue accompanied by a sore throat may be symptoms of strep throat. White tongue can be caused by any of these factors:

  • Dehydration
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Illness or infection
  • Dry mouth
  • Fever
  • Reaction to certain medications, such as antibiotics or steroids
  • Candida yeast infection (oral thrush)
  • Smoking or tobacco use
  • Alcohol use
  • Spicy food such as habanero and jalepeno peppers
  • Congenital heart disease in adults

Natural Treatments For White Tongue

1. Baking Soda

Baking soda is able to exfoliate the tongue, removing any residue that causes white tongue. It also helps maintain good pH levels in the mouth by neutralizing acids. Simply mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda with lemon juice until it creates a paste. Add the mixture to your toothbrush, then brush your tongue and mouth.

2. Sea Salt

Thanks to the natural antibacterial properties of sea salt, gargling can help eliminate bacteria in the mouth that causes white tongue. The coarse texture of sea salt also works as an exfoliate. Combine sea salt and water to create a mouthwash. Use the mouthwash, then brush your teeth and tongue with the sea salt.

3. Oil Pulling

Coconut oil pulling is a great way to remove bacteria from the mouth. Research has shown it to be just as effective as mouthwash at improving bad breath and reducing the microorganisms that can cause bacteria buildup in the mouth. Swish 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth for 10-20 minutes then spit it out in the trash. Rinse your mouth with warm water then brush your teeth as usual.

4. Aloe Vera Juice

Aloe Vera has natural antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s commonly used to heal infections and treat burns. It can be used to remove dead cells and destroy bacteria in the mouth. Swish 1 tablespoon of Aloe Vera juice in your mouth 2-3 times daily until the coating his disappeared.

5. Probiotics

Oral thrush and white tongue can be caused by an imbalance of healthy bacteria in your gut. Eating probiotic foods helps to balance your get bacteria and treat health conditions related to candida. Probiotic foods include kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut, miso soup, dark chocolate and kimchi.

Dr. Axe
Global Healing Center
Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic

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