ZocdocAnswersWhy is my tongue always white?

Question

Why is my tongue always white?

I am a 20 year old male living in florida. I brush my teeth twice a day and I eat healthy high protein foods all day long. For some reason my tongue is always white and I have to constantly use a scraper to get the stuff off. But no matter how much I clean and brush it always makes my breath smell. What do I do?

Answer

This is an unfortunate problem that will need to be discussed with your dentist. Your question does not mention what measures you have taken thus far, other than scraping your tongue regularly. From the sound of your question, however, it is obvious that this issue should be addressed in order to confirm that there you have nothing causing this problem, such as a medical condition that can lead to dry mouth or chronic white tongue. Either of those would be problems that could then be followed by your health care professional and addressed with a physician as needed. Also, you don't mention whether or not you use tobacco, even smokeless tobacco, as this can cause chronic irritation that leads to leukoplakia, or white patches on the tongue. Additionally, you don't mention whether or not you use any steroids regularly, even inhaled steroids commonly used for asthma, as these can predispose you to have a fungal infection of the tongue that can cause whiteness that needs to be scraped off regularly. In short, please see your dentist soon to address this problem completely. Antibacterial mouthwashes, such as Listerine, might be appropriate to try briefly (as per the instructions on the bottle) while you are waiting to meet with your dentist.

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.