• Español
  • Join Now
Book now. It's free!
Specialty
(i.e. Dermatologists)
Location

Can acid reflux cause one's tongue to turn white?

Is it true that acid reflux can make your tongue turn white? I have had heartburn so frequently that I'm starting to wonder if I have acid reflux. I read that white tongue can be a symptom but it seems like the back of my tongue has always had a whitish film, even before I ever had heartburn.
There are many causes of white tongue, most of which fortunately are not medically serious. The physicians who are well qualified to discuss this issue with you include your primary care physician. The most common cause of white tongue is simply of film of debris composed of food particles, skin cells, and bacteria in the mouth. This is perfectly normal, but at times it can be unsightly. Lifestyle modifications that you can perform to minimize this include drinking plenty of fluids, avoiding alcohol and tobacco. Occasionally, heartburn can be associated with white tongue by causing inflammation of the tongue and making the film of debris appear more prominent. Occasionally, white tongue is caused by a fungal infection in the mouth called thrush. This can occur in healthy people, but is more common in those who have an immune condition such as HIV infection. Rarely, white tongue is a precancerous lesion known as leukoplakia, more common in smokers. As always, the diagnosis and the management of your specific condition will likely require a physical examination by your personal physician. If you have concerns about your white tongue, you should speak about this with a physician. Furthermore, it is highly recommended that you schedule on office visit with your primary care doctor to discuss your frequent heartburn.
This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under ZocDoc’s Terms of Service.
Who answers these questions?
Answers are written by doctors from top institutions:
  • Cleveland Clinic
  • Boston Children's Hospital
  • NYU Langone Medical Center
  • Brigham and Women's Hospital
  • Johns Hopkins Hospital
  • Mass General Hospital
  • Beth Israel Medical Center
Share This Answer
Have further Questions? See a doctor!
With ZocDoc, you can find local doctors in your insurance network and book appointments instantly.