What To Do If Your Tongue Turns White

Trusted Health Products

Written By Kassandra Foreman / Reviewed By Ray Spotts

The color of the tongue is an indicator of not only oral health but also of whole body health. When the tongue appears white, or has a white coating, it can be a sign of thrush or other oral conditions. Several other conditions may be mistaken for thrush, and we will discuss some of them here.

Geographic Tongue

This condition is generally harmless and has no long-term effects on health, causing it to be considered a cosmetic problem rather then a health concern. It appears on the tongue as red patches that may change in size and disappear only to reappear later.

This may be accompanied by smooth patches and burning, and red spots may appear in other areas of the mouth as well as on the tongue. These are caused by the skin on the tongue shedding either too quickly or too slowly causing red spots in areas it shed too quickly and white spots in areas that it remains on too long.

Oral Lichen Planus

An inflammatory appearance on the skin or on the tongue when found within the mouth and on the tongue is called oral lichen planus. On other areas of the body it is referred to as skin lichen planus. Most people who have either of these are likely to also have the other, and it is most often found in women.

This noncontagious appearance of white patches and threads around the mouth may also be accompanied by red gums and ulcers that become painful. Due to the chronic nature, it may appear and disappear for extended times, only to return again.


When the cells that make up the lining within the mouth grow too rapidly they can create white patches that appear on the tongue and the inside of the mouth. They can potentially develop into cancer but are otherwise not considered to be dangerous or harmful to health. They can be treated with oral medications or through surgical removal.

Canker Sores

These small but painful ulcers can occur anywhere within the mouth, beginning as small round sores of white or gray that will develop a red ring around them. They are generally harmless and can occur when foods are spicy or acidic or if there has been friction or a slight injury from food along the inside of the mouth.

Generally canker sores clear up on their own, but there are rinse and ointments available for treatment.

Coated/Hairy Tongue

When the papillae on the tongue begin to lengthen and grow, the increased keratin will create a coating on the tongue. While this coating is usually white there can be different colors created by food, tobacco use, or germs that cause it to appear yellow, green, brown, or black.

Milk Tongue

Babies will occasionally have a white appearance to their tongue that is caused by milk on the tongue. It can be wiped away gently with a cloth or soft toothbrush.

Looking for a 100% all-natural liquid tooth oil and mouth rinse? Check out OraMD Original Strength and OraMD Extra Strength. Subscribe to our Trusted Health Club newsletter for more information about natural living tipsnatural healthoral care, skincare, body care and foot care. If you are looking for more health resources check out the Trusted Health Resources list

Written By:

Kassandra Foreman has been writing freelance for five years now and enjoys learning about new things to write about. When not writing she teaches yoga and meditation with a focus on health and fitness.

Reviewed By:

Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at

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