Indications of Serious Illness
You may notice a white line by the side of your mouth that can be caused by biting your tongue or chewing it while sleeping. This is known as linea alba. While it may be painful at times, it doesn’t require medical treatment.
On the other hand, if you notice a single white spot on the side of your tongue, it could be leukoplakia that can occur as a result of tobacco use. Even though they are usually harmless, they can sometimes lead to dreaded diseases such as cancer. They may also indicate HIV or AIDS if the white spot is accompanied by an unusual loss of hair.
If your body experiences anything that appears to be off, be it white lesions or marks, it is a good practice to bring it to your doctor’s attention for further testing. There is a good chance that it is nothing, but it is always better to be safe than sorry.
Symptoms That Call for Attention
If all you experience is a white tongue and bad breath, then you don’t require professional assistance. However, if it continues for more than two weeks, despite a regular cleaning routine, then consider making an appointment.
Some symptoms that call for serious attention include:
- Soreness of the tongue that feels like a burning sensation
- Difficulty in talking, chewing or swallowing
- Skin rash followed by fever
- Inexplicable weight loss
- Painful open sores in your mouth
Tips to Prevent White Film
According to experts, the condition of your tongue speaks volumes about your hygiene and your overall health. By now you know that cleaning your tongue is as important as brushing your teeth. It is not enough to do it once in a while. The key is to maintain a regular routine of oral hygiene.
Here are some important tips from oral care experts to prevent the formation of debris on your tongue.
- Never underestimate the importance of cleaning your tongue regularly. If you want to prevent the growth of bacteria, then you need to abolish their breeding ground. Invest in a toothbrush that comes equipped with a tongue cleaner on the reverse side of its head. Experts also recommend that you should never use the brush part to clean your tongue.
- You can also consider using a tongue cleaner to scrape the gunk off your tongue thoroughly. However, avoid applying too much pressure while cleaning. Use the downward motion at least twice or thrice to remove the white part completely.
- Apply a layer of toothpaste to your tongue before scraping it clean. The ingredients in toothpaste can defuse the bacteria on your tongue, making them easier to remove.
- Rinse your mouth with water after cleaning your tongue. Also, remember to wash your mouth after each meal to inhibit the accumulation of bacteria in your mouth.
- Consider using mouthwash after cleaning your tongue. With your tongue feeling squeaky clean, mouthwash will provide a breath of fresh air by removing the bad odor that can be caused by plaque buildup. However, don’t use it every day, as it can dry out your mouth.
- Saline water is known to be effective for rinsing your mouth. Add half a teaspoon of sea salt to a glass of lukewarm water. Use this solution to rinse your mouth at least five times a day.
- Avoid drinking milk tea or coffee. You should, instead, switch to green tea that is not only healthy but also helps prevent the formation and accumulation of oral bacteria.
- Do not eat foods with dark colors such as berries and black grapes. These foods can leave behind colors on your tongue.
- If you notice the formation of a white layer during a fever, try removing it as you normally would. However, if it refuses to go away despite thorough scraping, then it could be a sign of a fungal infection. In this case, talk to your doctor to get suitable medication.
- Dehydration is the leading cause of plaque buildup and a stinky mouth. Drinking loads of water can promote the production of saliva that is necessary to keep your tongue clean.
That dreary white film you see each morning on your tongue as you brush your teeth doesn’t really have to be a serious concern. However, if you notice that it is persistent despite regular tongue cleaning or you feel something is off, don’t forget to bring it to your dentist’s attention. Sometimes your tongue might be warning you about the development of a deeper health issue.Related: 8 Things Your Tongue Can Tell You About Your Health