What Causes White Tongue and How Can You Treat It?

what causes white tongue

Although it may look and feel scary (especially when it affects children and infants), white tongue is rarely a sign of a serious underlying condition. Most often, white tongue is caused by oral trush – a fungal infection of the mouth characterized by the recognizable white bumps on the tongue and the inside of the mouth.

So, let’s see what causes white tongue and how it can be treated.

What Is Oral Trush?

A fungal infection caused by the overgrowth of candida albicans, oral trush can often appear in toddlers and infants. The condition is also called oropharyngeal candidiasis and it can affect the inside of the mouth as well as the tongue. Typical symptoms of this condition include:

  • White painful bumps of the inner cheeks, tongue, or gums;
  • Redness or soreness at the site;
  • Loss of taste;
  • Difficulty swallowing;
  • Cracked and red skin at the corners of your mouth.

Risks and Prevention

This infection is very rare among healthy adults. Babies are usually at a higher risk of oral trush, as well as people who:

  • Have diabetes;
  • Wear dentures;
  • Have a disease that affects the immune system (like HIV);
  • Take corticosteroids or antibiotics;
  • Take drugs that can cause dry mouth.

Treatment Options

Fungal infections of the mouth are usually treated with antifungal medications like fluconazole and clotrimazole – a lozenge you keep in your mouth and wait for it to dissolve. The treatment usually takes a couple of weeks. You can prevent oral trush by brushing your teeth regularly, flossing, and replacing your toothbrush often.

Final Word

If you were wondering what causes white tongue, we hope this article answers your question. Most cases of white tongue are caused by oral trush, which can be treated relatively easily with antifungal drugs and lozenges.