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What a White Tongue Truly Says

Are you wondering why your tongue is covered with a weird white coating? The cause is either your oral hygiene habits or your overall health. See what you need to do to get your coated tongue in better condition.

Poor Oral Hygiene

Bad oral hygiene can lead to bad overall health. When bacteria collect in the mouth and are not regularly removed, these bacteria can build up and lead to both dental and medical problems. But it’s not enough to simply brush and floss your teeth—you also should brush your tongue every time you brush your teeth. Why should you brush your tongue? These bacteria can collect in your mouth, causing a white, coated tongue, so you need to remove as much of the bacterial coating as possible to prevent it from causing more problems. That’s a good reason why you should brush your tongue as part of your daily dental hygiene routine.

Medical Causes

If you open your mouth and see a white tongue, it can be alarming. Fortunately, a white tongue is usually harmless and treatable. The causes of a coated tongue span the spectrum from mild to major, and include the following:

  • A white, coated tongue can be caused by mild dehydration and dryness of the mouth, which can occur when you’re recovering from an illness and not drinking enough fluids.
  • Another cause of a coated tongue is a chronic inflammation on the tongue, usually resulting from a sharp instrument, dental tool, or simply biting the tongue.
  • A white tongue is also a sign that you’re fighting an oral infection, such as oral thrush, a candida yeast infection.
  • The most serious causes of a coated tongue are smoking, an underlying medical condition, and a precancerous condition called leukoplakia.

While most causes and cases of a white tongue are minor, consult your dentist or doctor for a professional opinion.

To learn about our family dentistry practice in South Bend, call today at or make an appointment.


The Dental Center of Indiana offers affordable family dentistry and gentle, compassionate dental care in South Bend. With 8 affiliated practices throughout Indiana, our offices are conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At The Dental Center of Indiana, we provide most dental services, from basic preventative care and general dentistry to specialized procedures and complete dental reconstruction. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable dental care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping those smiles healthy, beautiful, and bright. Discover an affordable dentist who truly cares at The Dental Center of Indiana.

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