Causes of White Tongue

The tongue appears white or pale yellow and coated when the surface is colonised by bacteria or fungi, and dead cells become trapped between the small nodules on the tongue.A coated tongue is not a disease and is not usually a sign of anything serious. It’s usually only temporary.You can try gently brushing it with a tongue scraper and drinking plenty of water to help it improve.White tongue is the result of inflammation of the finger-like projections (papillae) on the surface of your tongue. The appearance of a white coating is caused by debris, bacteria and dead cells getting lodged between the inflamed papillae.

Causes of inflammation include:

  • Dehydration
  • Dry mouth
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Fever
  • Smoking

Conditions associated with white patches or other discolorations of your tongue include:

  • Certain medications
  • Geographic tongue (a condition that gives your tongue a map-like appearance)
  • Leukoplakia (may be precancerous)
  • Oral lichen planus (a chronic, autoimmune disorder)
  • Oral thrush (a yeast infection, also known as candidiasis)
  • Syphilis (a bacterial infection usually spread by sexual contact)


For further details take guidelines from your dentist. You may call Dr. Haddon Suttner for any type of dental problems on 02 9365 6197. For details about the services visit Dentist Bondi.