What You Need to Know About Bad Breath and White Tongue

in Overall Health by

It can be difficult to tell when you’re suffering from bad breath. In many cases, you need someone else to tell you that you’re experiencing this embarrassing problem, and that is far from ideal. But there is one quick way you can tell if your breath is a potential problem. You can check your tongue.

The proven link between a white tongue and bad breath means that a white tongue could be your first sign of a breath problem. Find out more about why a white tongue is linked to bad breath, and what you can do about the problem.

Causes of Bad Breath

There are many ways your lifestyle could be giving you stinky breath. For example, your oral health may be lacking. If you do not regularly brush your teeth or use floss then food particles build up and these create a bacteria problem. Smoking causes bad breath, as does a dry mouth, and certain foods like garlic and onion.

Causes of White Tongue

White tongue happens when the papillae on the surface of the tongue are swollen and overgrown. This results in a build-up of bacteria, which results in the white coating. There are many reasons for white tongue including illness, dry mouth, poor oral care, alcohol use, smoking, and dehydration. Leukoplakia is a condition that can cause white tongue, as can oral lichen planus which is an immune disorder. Oral thrush may be a cause of white tongue.

As you can see, these causes overlap with those that result in bad breath. Therefore, white tongue and bad breath overlap and it is very common to have one with the other.

Treating White Tongue and Bad Breath

Visit the dentist if you have white tongue with or without bad breath. Your dentist will look over your oral hygiene and see if there are any issues that are causing the tongue and breath problems.  You should also increase your fluid intake and make sure that you drink lots of water. You could also try using a special tongue scraper to remove the dead skin cells and bacteria on the surface of the tongue.

When to See a Doctor

If your tongue changes shape or alters dramatically in appearance, consult your doctor. You will also want to get your tongue checked out if it hurts or if the white coating on the tongue lasts several weeks even with treatment.

Image Credits: Flickr