Why bad oral hygiene can cause a white tongue - National Dental Care

When life is hectic and there are late nights, good routines can go sidetracked. Sometimes you have the suspicion your breath isn’t the freshest. But it’s a busy time.

Then one morning you’re cleaning your teeth and you notice your tongue isn’t pink any more. It’s white.

What does this mean? Is it serious?

This year’s Dental Health Week asks how your oral health is tracking. A white tongue may mean you need to up your oral health game.

What causes white tongue?

A white tongue can be caused by a number of things, including fungal infection, trauma and even cancer, but often occurs as the result of bad oral hygiene. Those days when you didn’t brush your teeth. Or you did but you haven’t flossed for a while.

The white coating is sometimes a buildup of debris such as dead cells and bacteria, causing the delicate papillae of your tongue to react.

An unhealthy diet, smoking and alcohol can all encourage white tongue. If you’ve had a blocked nose, mouth-breathing can also add to the problem.

White tongue usually means bad breath, too. So don’t ignore it.


How to get rid of white tongue

The first step is to get back to a good oral hygiene routine. You need to use a fluoride-based toothpaste to clean your teeth twice a day.

You can also gently clean your tongue with a soft brush or use a plastic tongue scraper each day.

Floss thoroughly or use interdental brushes once a day to clean between your teeth.

If your tongue hasn’t cleared within a couple of weeks or you have other issues with your tongue or mouth, check with your doctor.


How to keep your mouth healthy

A healthy mouth isn’t just about a great smile, it’s also knowing you have fresh breath.

If you’re unsure about when you last had a checkup, or how good your oral healthcare is, you can book a dental appointment online here. Your National Dental Care practitioner will thoroughly check your mouth and teeth for any issues. They will also do a professional clean and show you the right way to keep your teeth and mouth healthy.

Don’t let your oral health slide – every week counts for good dental health. Your National Dental Care team is always ready to help you smile with confidence.

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