Have you ever examined your tongue, especially early in the morning, and found a white film coating the back half or possibly the entire tongue? The most common cause of white tongue is dehydration, which leads to overgrowth of bacteria in the mouth and tongue.
Another common cause is candidiasis – overgrowth of the candida fungus (yeast infections and organ thrush). This usually occurs during periods of high carbohydrate intake, as sugars are the main food source for candida. Other common and associated symptoms include chronic fatigue, brain fog, frequent yeast infections (women) and skin rashes (women & men).
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) would state that a white tongue indicates depletion of the stomach qi (energy) and closely reflects the function of the upper digestive system (Stomach, Liver, Gallbladder & Pancreas).
Research published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine confirms the TCM belief that a white tongue coating can be be caused –or at least a viable suggestion–of splenic and stomach congestion as the tongue coating coincides quickly with cases of chronic gastritis or inflammation of the stomach.
Natural Methods To Address A White Tongue
Step 1: Increase Hydration, Brushing/Flossing and Tongue Scraping
As most cases are due to lack of oral hygiene and water, this seems obvious. What may not be so obvious are the additional benefits of tongue scraping. A tongue cleaner/scraper or brush is a metallic device used to scrape bacterial and fungal build-up from the surface of the tongue. Its recommended to scrape your tongue each time you brush (which should be after each meal you consume).
Step 2: Increased Probiotic Use
An imbalance of the healthy bacteria in your gut can lead to oral thrush and a white tongue coating. Taking probiotic supplements and eating fermented foods can balance the bacteria in your gut which in turn decrease the chances of them migrating towards the esophagus and mouth. You can even sprinkle a probiotic onto your toothpaste (as long as you are using a natural, organic non-fluoride toothpaste. See below for an alternative homemade toothpaste that not only helps white tongue, but also cleans, polishes and whitens!
Step 3: Coconut Oil Pulling
Research shows that coconut oil pulling can be used as an effective remedy in maintaining and improving oral health. It has shown to be just as effective as mouthwash at improving bad breath and reducing the microorganisms that may cause the buildup of bacteria in the mouth and cause white tongue. Simply place 1-2 TBSP coconut oil into your mouth daily and swish for 10-20 minutes, spitting the mixture out when complete.
Step 4: Increase Garlic Consumption
Garlic is naturally antifungal and antibacterial, which makes it an effective natural treatment for white tongue. Research shows that allicin, one of the active compounds in garlic, also demonstrates anticandidal effects! Simply suck on a raw garlic clove and rub it directly onto your tongue for local therapy, and consume raw garlic (1-2 cloves directly) for full body effects.
Step 5: Oregano Oil
Oregano oil is anti-everything (viral, bacterial, fungal and parasitic) and also acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory. A 2010 study published in the Brazilian Journal of Microbiology notes that oregano oil has powerful antifungal effects against candida and may represent an alternative treatment for oral thrush, a major cause of white tongue. Simply take 5-10 drops daily, directly, in hot water or tea or create your own oregano oil capsule with an empty veggie cap. Warning: this is powerful stuff! A little goes a long way! And it has a very powerful flavor as well. So be ready!
Step 6: Sea Salt Gargle and Brush
Sea salt carries many antibacterial properties. Create a quick sea salt mouth wash for gargling and rinsing. You can also brush your tongue and teeth/gums with sea salt directly for additional effects.
The best part? All of that is easier, cheaper and much less invasive than a trip to your doctor, then the pharmacist, then a follow-up and whatever other reactionary, drug-addled solution an MD might come up with.
How To Make Your Own “White Tongue” Toothpaste
- 2/3 cup aluminum free baking soda
- 1 tsp fine ground sea salt
- 1 tsp peppermint essential oil
- Filtered water
Mix all ingredients together into a paste and use as you would any toothpaste. Don’t be afraid to use it after all that garlic you’re eating now.