It might sound like stretching the truth if you say that tongue is the strongest muscle in the body, but it is true that it is one of the heaviest and strongest too. It is also one of the most sensitive too as it can not only taste the taste and texture of food, but also helps living beings in swallowing, chewing and digesting it.
According to age old Chinese tradition, the tongue helps in finding out and pointing out the overall health of a being. This is the reason, that the physical wellbeing, that is the looks and color of the tongue can help to determine whether or not a person is well or ill. Diseases like oral thrush can be diagnosed through the color of the tongue.
What is White Tongue?
A healthy tongue is one that is pink in color and has papillae on it. Papillae are nodules that make the surface of the tongue rather rough. Do a small test by rubbing the tip of your finger on your tongue. You will be able to see that it is kind of rough textured. These are the papillae.
A white tongue occurs when these papillae becomes inflamed due to the presence and accumulation of dead cells. These dead cells come from bacteria that is acquired from food debris. Even though white tongue is temporary condition and is mostly pretty harmless, it can be a sign of some other kind of infection or disease of the body. Some of the reasons why white tongue may have occurred are:
- Lack of oral care
- Severe dehydration
- Dry mouth
- Infection, bacterium or some other kind of illness
- Oral thrush, also known as candida yeast infection
- Some kind of reaction to antibiotics or steroids or other heavy dose medicines
- Excessive use of tobacco or alcohol
- Congenital heart disease
- Excessive use of spicy foods and chilies like jalapeno peppers or habanero peppers
Research shows that the most commonly occurring reason of the white tongue is dry mouth because of dehydration. This leads to bacteria which results in a white tongue. These chances intensify if a person does not brush twice a day, every day.
Candida and White Tongue
Another major cause of white tongue is candida. Also known as oral thrush or yeast infection of the tongue, candida is a fungus which is perfectly normal occurrence in the tongue, until it spreads in the mouth, gums, tonsils and even the back of the throat. This leads to redness, white lesions and sometimes bleeding. Some other symptoms of candida re skin and nail infections, chronic fatigue and foggy brain.
There are times when white tongue does not go away either on its own or through dental procedures like scraping or antifungal medicines. When this is the case and there is also an occurrence of sore throat, this could because of strep throat. Other dangerous diseases that are indicated through white tongue include syphilis, periodontal diseases or even chronic autoimmune disorders like oral lichen planus. Leukoplakia, AIDS/HIV and geographic tongue may also be first indicated by the white tongue or white patches on the tongue.
In traditional Chinese medication system, tongue coating is considered an important foundations of diagnosis. It not only helps in diagnosis but treatment as well. It states that tongue coating occurs because of the evaporation of vital energies of the stomach, also the called the “qi of the stomach” which is r=connected to the wellbeing of the body organs and blood system.
As per research published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine the tongue coating is because of the process of stomach and spleen. This coating changes with inflammation of the gastritis.
This shows that when Chinese views of the medicine are considered, the ideas about thick white coating are actually pretty accurate. It is all about the digestive system of the person. It could be because of either nutritional deficiencies or bacterial infection of the gut.
So it is best to consult a dentist to ensure that the white tongue is not a sign of something serious. Because if it is then it is best diagnosed at the earliest stage and treated in due time.