White Tongue and Bad Breath? Let’s Decode The Connection Between The Two


Ever stuck out your tongue to clean it and noticed a white sticky coating? It’s called white tongue. Don’t worry, you aren’t the only one. There are many who experience coated tongue, especially after waking up in the morning - we guess that’s why tongue scrapers exist. But white tongue isn’t that big a problem, what accompanies it is - bad breath. Anyway, let’s talk about white tongue and what causes it?

Causes of white tongue

The surface of your tongue contains tiny bumps called papillae. When these papillae become inflamed, mouth bacteria, food, and dead cells can get trapped between the tiny bumps. This leads to swelling up of the papillae and causes a white coating on your tongue. Dry mouth, poor oral hygiene, tobacco consumption, etc., also lead to the white tongue and bad breath. In fact, a white tongue can be a sign of halitosis in the first place.

White tongue and bad breath treatment

This condition is quite normal, so you have nothing to worry about! Here’s what you can do to stave off problems like white tongue, bad breath and more to get a clean mouth:

  • Good oral care routine: Both white tongue and bad breath are primarily caused by poor oral hygiene. Leftover food particles can get stuck between the teeth and invite plaque-causing bacteria in the mouth, to create bad odour and sticky coating on the tongue. So, it is important to have a solid oral care routine in place. Brush twice a day using a soft-bristled toothbrush. If you have sensitivity in the teeth, you can consider using a sensitizing toothpaste for better results. Rinse off with a dental-approved mouthwash, and don’t forget to floss twice a day. Also, clean your tongue each morning with a tongue scraper.

  • Stay hydrated: Just like bad breath, dry mouth can also cause a white sticky coating on the surface of the tongue. Saliva is the mouth’s self-cleansing mechanism. It washes away the bacteria and food particles present in the mouth. And lack of saliva can reduce this cleansing process and lead to both white tongue and smelly breath. So, keep sipping water periodically to keep your mouth moist. Popping a dental-approved sugar-free chewing gum is also known to promote saliva production.

  • Avoid foods that leave odour: Steer clear of certain pungent foods such as onions, garlic, and spices as these can lead to bad breath and white tongue quite easily. Avoid these foods completely if you can, especially before going to bed, or at the very least reduce the intake.

  • Visit the dentist: Regular dental visits can help prevent halitosis and persistent white tongue. A dentist can guide you better on how to take care of the teeth, hence, it’s recommended to get dental cleanings every six months.

White tongue and bad breath share a lot of common causes as they often go hand in hand. But the good news is - both halitosis and white tongue are treatable. All you need to do is improve your oral health care and visit your dentist regularly. It is also super important to use advanced dental products such as the Oral-B electric toothbrushes to prevent bad breath and ensure proper oral cleaning.

Interested in reading more about the causes of bad breath and remedies? Here’s a complete guide to bad breath causes and remedies.