What Causes a White Tongue?
There are a number of things that can cause a whitish coating on the tongue or also some white spots to develop on the tongue, which includes the following;

Leukoplakia
This condition causes cells in the mouth to grow excessively. This may lead to the formation of white patches inside the mouth, including on the tongue. Although not dangerous on its own, leukoplakia can in some cases, be a precursor to cell changes which can, lead to cancer. It is therefore important for your dentist to determine the cause of white patches developing on your tongue. Leukoplakia can develop when the tongue has been irritated, and it is often found in people who use tabacco products.

Oral Thrush
Also known as candidiasis, oral thrush is a yeast infection which develops inside the mouth. The condition results in white patches that are often cottage cheese-like in consistency on the surfaces of the mouth and tongue. Oral thrush is most commonly seen in infants and the elderly population, especially some denture wearers, or in people with weakened immune systems. People with diabetes and people taking inhaled steroids for asthma or¬†several types of respiratory conditions or patients with lung diseases can also get oral thrush. Oral thrush is more likely to occur after a course of antibiotics which may kill our “good” bacteria, present in the mouth. Eating plain yogurt with live and active cultures may help restore the proper oral fauna in your mouth. Additionally some medications may be used to combat the oral infection.

Oral Lichen Planus
This presents as a network of raised white lines on the patients tongue, with a lace-like appearance, which can be a sign of this condition. Doctors often can’t pinpoint its cause, but once diagnosed as being Lichen Planus, it usually can be monitored and resolves itself.

Patient Actions which can help restore oral health:

– Adhere to a well-practiced oral health routine
– Attend dental hygiene at least every six months
– Avoid using tobacco and if this is a problem, consider attending a smoking cessation programme
– Avoid or reduce foods that you know irritate your mouth.