White tongue means white coating on the tongue. The coating may occur at some places on the tongue or on the entire tongue varying from case to case.
It may simply arise from poor oral hygiene, not cleaning the tongue properly, eating soft foods in excess but in some cases, it may occur from some medical reason (for example, oral thrush). In most cases, it is a harmless sign but rarely may indicate some serious issue.
Homeopathy can be very effective in managing the cases of white tongue. With use of homeopathic medicines, the coating on tongue gradually decreases. Along with this, if there are any attending symptoms, these help to provide relief. As the reasons for white-coated tongue vary from mild to serious ones, it is advised to take any homeopathic medicine under supervision of homeopathic physician after complete case evaluation. Use of these medicines is recommended only when the cause is mild, but in case of serious causes like cancer, it is advised to take help from conventional mode of treatment.
Homeopathic Medicines For White Tongue
1. Antimonium Crudum – For Thick White Coating
It is a very effective medicine for cases having thick white coating on the tongue. The tongue looks milky white. There is excessive salivation that may have a salty taste. There may be pain, soreness and redness on the edges of the tongue. Sometimes there is bitter taste in the mouth. In some cases, slimy mucus is present in the mouth.
2. Merc Sol – For Tongue Coated White Like Chalk
It is a well-indicated medicine for cases in which tongue is coated as white as chalk. It appears as if covered with white fur. The tongue is moist and may be swollen. This is attended with a bad, putrid, slimy or metallic taste in the mouth. Bad breath may also be there. Excessive salivation attends the above symptoms. The saliva is fetid, thick, soapy and stringy. Sores or ulcers may be present in the mouth and on the tongue. It is one of the prominent medicines for managing cases of oral thrush with thick white coating.
3. Pulsatilla – For Coated Tongue With Bad Taste In Mouth
This medicine is prepared from a plant Pulsatilla Nigricans commonly known as ‘wind flower’. It is useful for cases having white tongue in the morning accompanied by bad taste in the mouth. Tongue may be dry in morning. In some cases, a burnt taste is present in the mouth. The edges of the tongue may feel sore and scalded. Other than the above, mucus may cling to the mouth or tongue. In some cases, painful blisters are present on tongue.
4. Nitric Acid – For White Tongue With Sore Spots
Nitric Acid is a beneficial medicine for cases of white tongue with sore spots. The tongue is sensitive even to soft food. It is dry especially in the morning. In some cases, blisters with burning type of pain are present on the tongue. A foul smell attends the above symptoms. Next, there may be ulcers in the mouth with splinter-like pain.
5. Bryonia – For White Tongue With Red Edges
It is prepared from root of the plant Bryonia Alba, commonly known as ‘wild hops’. This medicine is indicated for cases having white coated tongue with red edges. In most cases needing it, the tongue is dry. There is bitter taste in mouth. The breath is offensive. Little ulcers on tip of tongue may be present.
6. Kali Mur – For Thin White Coating On Tongue
Use of this medicine is considered when there is thin white coating on the tongue. Along with this, the taste can be sour, bitter or salty. Coldness may be felt on the tongue. In some cases, the tongue is inflamed. Sometimes, blisters occur on the tongue with burning, stinging sensation.
7. Borax – For White Fungus Like Growth On Tongue
It is a helpful medicine for a white fungus-like growth on the tongue. It is a very suitable medicine for cases of oral thrush. Persons who need it may have dryness and cracks on the tongue. Next, they can have ulcers in the mouth and on the tongue. These are painful, tender and may bleed easily.
8. Arsenic Album – For White Coated Tongue As If Painted White
In cases requiring it, the tongue is white coated as if painted white. The taste of mouth is also bad. It can be sour, metallic, putrid or woody. The tongue is dry. Violent burning sensation is felt on the tongue along with the above complaints.
9. Petroleum – For White Tongue In The Centre
It is an important medicine when there is white coating in the centre of the tongue. There are dark streaks along the edges of the tongue. The taste of mouth is slimy, sour or putrid. The mouth smells like odour of garlic. The mouth and throat are very dry.
10. Taraxacum – For White Patches On Tongue
This medicine is used when there is white patchy coating on the tongue. It is a prominent medicine for geographic tongue (loss of papillae on the tongue’s surface forming geographical shapes).
The white spots may clear off leaving behind dark red, tender spots. These spots are very sensitive. Sour or bitter taste in the mouth accompanies it. Lastly, rawness, smarting, burning in the mouth can be felt.
11. Rhus Tox – For White Tongue On One Side
This medicine helps cases having white coated tongue only on one side. The tip of the tongue is red and triangular. Tongue is sore and dry. Taste of mouth can be metallic or bitter.
12. Phosphorus – When Tongue Is Coated Like Fur
This medicine is indicated for cases in which the tongue is coated like fur. The tongue is uniformly white, it is also dry and sometimes cracked. A stinging pain on the tip of the tongue can attend. Aphthous patches (small shallow lesions) may be present on the roof of mouth and tongue. The taste in the mouth is bitter, sour, sweet or salty in nature.
13. Chamomilla – For Coated Tongue And Burning Sensation On Tongue
It is prepared from a plant Matricaria chamomilla. It works well in cases having white tongue and burning sensation on the tongue. In some cases needing it, the tongue is white only on the sides and red in middle. Sometimes blisters on tongue are present attended with stinging pain.
What Are The Causes Behind It?
Mostly white tongue is a result of poor oral hygiene, poor brushing of teeth and not properly flossing the teeth. Initially, there may occur overgrowth, swelling and inflammation of the papillae (tiny bumps) on the tongue surface. Following this, debris, dead cells, dirt, germs, bits of food get trapped between these papillae. Lodging of all these particles gives white-coated appearance to the tongue. White tongue can next arise from dry mouth that may arise from mouth breathing or some medical condition. Smoking or chewing tobacco, regular alcohol intake may also lead to it. It may arise in case of fever, dehydration or from irritation from sharp edges of the teeth or braces etc. Sometimes, use of certain medications may cause it (like prolonged use of antibiotics).
Apart from the above, in some cases a white tongue may arise from some medical conditions.
It firstly includes oral lichen planus (OLP). It is an inflammatory condition of autoimmune origin that affects mucous membranes inside the mouth. In this disease, the tongue, inside of the cheeks, gums, inner surface of the lips or palate can be affected. White, lacy patterned lesions or sores occur in the mouth in this condition.
Next is oral thrush (oral candidiasis). It is an infection in the mouth caused by a fungus called candida albicans. In this, there occur white or creamy yellow patches in the mouth. These patches may form on inner cheeks, tongue, gums, roof of mouth or on the tonsils.
Third condition is leukoplakia. In this condition, thick, white patches form inside the cheeks, on gums, and on tongue. This condition is thought to arise usually from chronic irritation as from tobacco and alcohol use.
It may also arise in case of geographic tongue. It is an inflammatory condition of tongue characterised by appearance of island-shaped patches on the tongue giving it a map-like or geographic appearance.
Syphilis is yet another condition linked with it. It is a STI (sexually transmitted infection) caused by bacteria Treponema pallidum. It can cause white patches on the tongue if the infection is not treated.
Lastly, in rare cases it may arise from cancer of tongue or mouth.
What Are The Symptoms?
In many cases, there is just a white coating on the tongue. But in some cases, there may be a bad taste in the mouth or bad breath. In some case, white lacy thread-like patches in the mouth, sores in the mouth or tongue, pain, soreness and burning sensation in mouth or tongue may occur depending on the cause behind it.