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The White Tongue, Bad Breath Conundrum

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Bad breath – everyone's been there before. You can't smell your own necessarily, but sometimes you're certain you can taste it. Most people think it comes from eating certain foods or not regularly brushing your teeth. One way to check without suffering the indignity of asking a close friend to smell your breath is to check the colour of your tongue.

White tongue is an accumulation of dead cells, germs and debris on the tongue that makes it appear white. Even though the look of the white tongue might be worrying, this condition is normally temporary and harmless according to research. On the other hand, this condition might indicate a number of serious conditions, which range from precancerous conditions to infection. Whenever you have any concerns about white spots or white coating, it is important to visit a dentist or a doctor.

A white tongue and bad breath combination usually goes hand-in-hand. Before examining the link between a white tongue and bad breath, here are some causes of bad breath.

Bad Breath and White Tongue Causes

The above condition occurs as a result of inflammation and overgrowth of the fingerlike projections known as papillae on your tongue. The white coating is as a result of dead cells, germs and debris accumulating between the overgrown, and at times, swollen papillae. Some of the causes of white tongue include:

  • Fever
  • Excessive use of alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Dehydration
  • Dry mouth
  • Bad hygiene
  • Mouth breathing
  • Smoking

Germs and dead cells that lodge between the papillae cause the white coating. Numerous causes encourage white tongue, including alcohol and tobacco use, fever, dry mouth and mouth breathing, dehydration and poor oral care. Many causes overlap with the causes of bad breath, including germs in the mouth, so it's easy to see how the conditions intersect.

White Tongue Treatment

When you notice a white tongue, schedule a check-up with your dentist to have him/her properly assess the at state of your oral health and provide targeted guidance based on your dental health history. Some treatments directly address some of the more common causes, such as eliminating alcohol and tobacco use and drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated and adopting good oral hygiene habits. Also be sure to brush twice each day with toothpaste, such as Colgate® Total Clean Mint, to keep your breath fresh and clean, and floss daily to eliminate food particles brushing might miss.

It will not always be possible to prevent this condition. But, there're several things you can carry out to minimize the odds of acquiring this condition.

Practicing proper oral hygiene is essential by:

  • Flossing once a day
  • Using a mouthwash containing fluoride every day
  • Brushing your teeth two times a day using toothpaste containing fluoride.
  • Use a toothbrush with soft bristles
  • Visiting your dentist twice a year

Other ways to prevent white tongue include: eating varying diets containing lots of vegetables and fruits, reduce alcohol consumption and stay away from tobacco products and visit your dentist after every six months for a cleaning and checkup.

It is important to see your dental hygienist when you have difficulty in talking, swallowing or chewing or when you feel like a burning sensation on the tongue or when you notice open sores inside your mouth.

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