Why Is My Tongue White?

Posted by DrSimmons | Filed under , , ,

Why is My Tongue White?


            A White tongue is most often a sign of dehydration or a dry mouth (caused by some prescription medications and autoimmune diseases). The dryness allows bacteria and debris to build up on the tongue instead of being washed away by saliva.  Within a short time it is usually accompanied by bad breath. 

            White spots or patches can occur on the tongue with infection, irritation or chronic inflammation.  Sometimes they can be precancerous so if white patches suddenly appear please schedule an appointment with your dentist to have them assessed.  There is a benign condition called Geographic Tongue where the tongue presents with a white border and irregular red patches.  This is due to a lack of papillae normally present on the tongue.  It is a harmless condition and generally runs in families.

            Causes of tongue irritation can vary from too much rinsing with alcohol mouthwash, using a toothpaste with sodium lauryl sulfate, rinsing with non diluted hydrogen peroxide and even spicy foods.  Even everyday stress can affect our dental health by making our mouth drier than normal


Tongue Facts:

1.  Taste buds on the tongue vary in length.  About 50% of the population have taste buds so long and dense that their tongues are more prone to hosting the organisms/bacteria that cause dental decay and gum disease.

2.  It is estimated that 90% of bad breath originates from these creatures living on the surface of our tongues!

Tongue Hygiene

     While most of us brush our teeth on a daily basis, we neglect to clean our tongues!  The extra minute this takes can make a big difference in preventing bad breath and returning the tongue to its normal color.

     Using a tongue cleaner will help remove the largest amount of organisms possible from the tongue surface.  It’s not necessary to scrape hard; you do not want to bleed!  You simply need to press hard enough so that the tongue cleaner contacts your tongue flush across the surface, moving from the back of the mouth to the front. 

    Tongue cleaning will not kill the bacteria that are causing the bad breath below the surface of the tongue.  It’s job is to remove the gunky substance.  In order to get rid of the bacteria, you must use an oxygenating toothpaste which can penetrate beneath the tongue surface.  Please call us if you would like a recommendation on which brands to use!

     Brushing your tongue should be part of your daily mouth cleaning.  This small act can improve our breath almost instantly!


Your Gentle Dentists,


Dr. Simmons

(661) 947-3163




Your Dental Breath

Posted by DrSimmons | Filed under ,


     Lots of patients share a concern about bad breath.  We've all found ourselves chatting with someone whose breath could knock us over.  However there are simple tips to fix this problem.
     Bad breath strikes when people aren't properly taking care of their oral health.  The odor is usually caused by food particles and bacteria in your mouth.  That's why brushing and flossing your teeth is so important,but don't forget to brush your tongue to get rid of even more bacteria.
    Gum disease is the first dental problem we suspect when it comes to halitosis.  A periodontal check up during your regular dental visit gives us a chance to control gum problems as a source of bad breath.
    A clean tongue goes a long way to warding off bad breath.  The tongue is like a "shaggy carpet".  There are millions of filaments on your tongue that trap particles and bacteria.  Regularly cleaning your tongue using a toothbrush and/or tongue scraper will help remove the bacteria.  If you have any mouth guards or oral appliances, make sure to clean them thoroughly before putting them in your mouth.
    Mouthwash is only a temporary fix.  It masks the odor instead of correcting the source of the problem.
    Believe it or not saliva is your best weapon against bad breath.  That's why dry mouth, often caused by certain medical conditions, leads to odor problems.  Saliva helps wash away food particles and bacteria.  The term "morning breath"  is because saliva production slows while you sleep allowing particles and odor to linger longer.                  
     Sugarless chewing gum is a natural odor fighter!!  Chewing gum stimulates saliva production.  Mints, do not stimulate saliva, but temporarily mask bad odors.  .Gum makes you salivate and the more saliva in your mouth the fewer bacteria you have.  Saliva contains enzymes and natural antiseptics that kill bacteria.  While anything that makes you salivate will improve your breath, a gum that is sweetened with xylitol is your best defense.  Xylitol is a sugar substitute that not only increases salivation, but also works to prevent bacteria from developing in your mouth.  Make sure Xylitol is the first ingredient to be most effective.  But most important is having regular cleanings every 3-6 months, and dental examinations to catch and prevent halitosis.

 Your Gentle Dentists - Dr. Simmons