Do you have a white coating on your tongue?

White tongue


If you’ve ever looked closely at the surface of your tongue, you may have noticed that it is stippled with a dense thicket of little nodules that resemble that of a strawberry. Those are your taste buds!

“If you imagine a fence with different types of slats and posts, that’s what your tongue looks like magnified,” – says Dr. Brett Comer, a head and neck surgeon at the University of Kentucky.

There are gaps between the different taste buds and glands of your tongue. Often, these glands can collect debris. The debris ranges from bacteria that you’ve been fighting off or just mucous from congestion. The accumulation of bacteria is what gives your tongue a whitish appearance.

If your taste buds and glands become dried out, that can also cause your tongue to have a white appearance.

“We’re intended to breathe through our noses, not our mouths,” Comer explains. “You want your tongue to stay good and moist, which is difficult when you breathe with your mouth open.”

White tongue


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“Anything that might collect on the front of the tongue tends to get cleared away, because that’s where your saliva collects, and you rub that part against your food and the insides of your mouth,” Comer says.

The back of your tongue, your tonsils and other tissues found in your throat are well-designed to collect debris. It’s a way your body helps your immune system sample what’s coming into and out of your body.

Is a white tongue much cause for concern?

“If it’s associated with a sore throat that doesn’t go away for a few weeks, or blood in your saliva, or difficulty swallowing, or weight loss, then those are reasons to see a doctor,” Comer says.

Article: Time Magazine