The sight of a white tongue reflected back at you in your bathroom mirror might look frightening, but this condition is usually harmless.
White tongue refers to a white covering or coating on your tongue. Your whole tongue might be white, or you could just have white spots or patches on your tongue.
A white tongue is usually nothing to worry about. But on rare occasions, this symptom can warn of a more serious condition like an infection or early cancer.
That’s why it’s important to keep an eye on your other symptoms, and call your doctor if the white coating doesn’t go away in a couple of weeks.
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Keep reading to learn more about why this happens and whether you should treat it.
What causes a white tongue
White tongue is often related to oral hygiene. Your tongue can turn white when the tiny bumps (papillae) that line it swell up and become inflamed.
Bacteria, fungi, dirt, food, and dead cells can all get trapped between the enlarged papillae. This collected debris is what turns your tongue white.