White Tongue Causes and Treatments

Jump to a Section in this Article:

White tongue is condition which is primarily characterized by white spots or patches on the tongue. While the discoloration may be disconcerting, the condition is often benign and temporary. Nonetheless, it can also sometimes be a side effect of a more serious ailment. The fact that white tongue can be caused by a wide range of conditions that could have serious complications makes it important for an accurate diagnosis to be given. So be sure to seek medical attention if the discoloration does not respond to treatments, persists more than 2 weeks, or is associated with pain, swelling or discomfort.

White Tongue
White Tongue.
Credit: Yuri


  • Dehydration
  • Illness or infection
  • Reaction to certain medications
  • Environmental irritants
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Tobacco exposure or alcohol consumption
  • Candida yeast infection (Oral Thrush)
  • Tongue inflammation, such as Glossitis
  • Spicy foods such as habanero and jalapeño peppers contain compounds in the peppers that are correlated with white tongue

Many people experience white tongue and associated dry mouth conditions due to one of these factors. It can be very frustrating and disheartening for people with the problem who have not been able to find relief.


If you suffer from white tongue, there are a few home remedies and lifestyle changes which may provide some relief from the problem. While these ideas are not beneficial to everyone, they can offer some help to many who suffer from the problem. All of these are remedies which can be done at home.

  • Sea Salt or Kosher Salt: Some find some relief from mixing salt with water to create a homemade mouthwash. Use it first as a mouthwash, then brush your teeth with salt, including your tongue. This is a favorite home cure for the problem that has been effective with some people with the condition.
  • Glycerin: Glycerin is a soft natural substance which helps some people with white tongue. It can sooth their tongue and may also whiten the teeth.
  • Acidophilus: This substance works as a coating for the tongue. It is a Probiotic so it also promotes healthy digestion.



Dry mouth is a common accompanying side effect of white tongue. Dry mouth causes discomfort, lack of saliva production, and other discomforting symptoms. When home remedies for white tongue and dry mouth don't work, XyliMelts slow-release adhering discs that you can get over-the-counter may be a solution. XyliMelts discs are placed on a tooth or gums in the mouth to slowly dissolve and release 500 mg of xylitol and soothing oral lubricant to coat the mouth and tongue, and stimulate saliva production which can provide temporary relief for some or all of the symptoms of white tongue or dry mouth.

If you are suffering from dry mouth in conjunction with white tongue, try XyliMelts adhering discs to relieve your discomfort.