If you develop white spots on your tongue, it is an indication that you may be having a health problem. The white spots, dots, marks or patches may appear on side of tongue, back of tongue, under or at the tip of your tongue and may be painless or painful. In some cases, only one white spot develop and it may be small or large. What causes white spots on tongue? Discover what may cause the white spots and how you can get rid of them using medical treatments or home remedies. Also, explore excellent pictures of white spots on tongue in order to have an idea of how they look like.
Summary of Page Contents
- Signs and Symptoms of White Spots on Tongue
- Causes of White Spots on Tongue
- White Spots Under Tongue
- White Spots on Tip of Tongue
- White spots on Back of Tongue
- Small White Spots on Tongue
- Single White Spot on Tongue
- Painful White Spots on Tongue
- White Spots on Tongue Toddler, Baby or Child
- How to Get Rid of White Spots on Tongue
- When to See a Doctor Over White Spots on tongue
- Sources and References
Signs and Symptoms of White Spots on Tongue
Some of the common signs and symptoms of white spots on tongue include:
- Painless white discoloration on tongue
- Painful white discoloration on tongue
- Loss of taste and appetite.
- Dry mouth
- White lesion on other parts of the mouth.
Causes of White Spots on Tongue
White spots on tongue are a common problem that affects many individuals. White patches can appear suddenly on your tongue though these dots might be lie bumps that can’t be a serious health problem to you. However, the development of white coats on your tongue can be as a result of an infection that needs a checkup from a dentist.
From the traditional aspect of belief, white spots on tongue are the consequence of taking white meals. This speculation about tongue coating is not scientifically proved. But the fact remains that, white spots or marks on the tongue are associated with the following factors that include:
This condition result to the formation of white patches on the tongue. Apart from affecting your tongue, leukoplakia can also cause white patches on the gums, lower surface of the mouth and on the side of cheeks. White coating develops from an overgrowth of cells in the mouth.
Generally, the condition is linked to tobacco products although it can also affect people who neither chew nor smoke tobacco. Taking alcohol often can also encourage the development leukoplakia condition in your mouth.
Having leukoplakia on your mouth is not a big risk especially when the white spots on tongue are not painful. Despite that, leukoplakia can be a precursor to cancer in your mouth and for this reason, you need to see your dentist as soon as you observe white patches on side of your tongue.
2. Oral thrush
Thrush on tongue is a yeast infection and sometimes is referred to as candidiasis infection. The fungus develops inside the mouth and causes the development of white spots on tongue. Thrush on tongue usually affects infants, elders and denture wearers. A Baby tongue is prone to thrush infection.
People with poor immune system also get affected with oral thrush. Having an underlying disease in the body like diabetes and asthma can also cause oral thrushes.
Furthermore, oral thrush can appear after the use of strong antibiotics that kills oral bacteria that limit the growth of fungus in the mouth. Taking yogurt that has live culture can help to restore bacteria in the mouth that limit the spread of fungal infection in the mouth.
Apart from causing creamy lesions in the mouth, oral thrush can have the following symptoms:
- Spots that look like cottage cheese.
- White lesion on other parts of the mouth.
- Loss of taste and appetite.
- Dry mouth
- Red sores on corners of the mouth.
3. Canker sores
Canker sores are small white ulcers on tongue that usually have red borders. Canker sores can also affect gums, lips and inside the cheeks. The sore on tongue appear with white centers and sometimes they can get inflamed and cause irritation that can make you feel a discomfort.
Canker sores can affect anyone regardless of the age. The problem is common to infants or toddlers. Adults also can get canker sores.
The cause of canker sores on tongue is unknown but the infection is commonly caused by the following triggers:
- Weakened immune system
- Trauma in the mouth
- Deficiency of nutrients
- Tobacco use
- Fluctuation of body hormones.
Canker sores are not a contagious infection but it can easily affect anybody who gets exposed to agents that cause the infection in the mouth.
4. Oral lichen planus
This condition results in the development of raised white spots on tongue. The patches appear lace-like shape. From medical research, the cause of this condition is unknown although the infection is associated with poor oral hygiene practices.
5. Tongue cancer
A cancerous condition might be the cause of white spots on side of your tongues and other parts of the mouth. The patches on the mouth can be white or red in color. The condition can result in the development of oral sores hence bleeding is common.
Tongue cancer can also be associated with the following signs and symptoms;
- Loss of weight
- Difficulty in chewing and swallowing
- Difficult in talking
- Sore throat
- Hoarse voice
- Hard bumps on the skin of the mouth
It is advisable to visit your doctor to find out the main cause of white spots on tongue because it might be a tongue cancer that can result to a serious health problem.
6. Lie bumps
Lie bumps are white raised spots on tongue surface. You can develop single or many bumps on the surface of your tongue. Having a lie bumps is not a big health problem, they usually clear up themselves and no need to look for treatment.
White Spots Under Tongue
White spots not only appear on the surface but also under the tongue. Tiny sores or ulcers can appear under the tongue. The sores can be white or red and make the affected area inflamed. The inflammation under the tongue can be the painful due burning sensation that can affect the functioning of the tongue and find it difficult to talk and chew food.
White spots on tongue can be caused by canker sore, oral thrush, leukoplakia and tongue cancer. Other underlying conditions can result to tongue disease.it is advisable to visit health providers to determine the cause of pain under your tongue for diagnosis.
White Spots on Tip of Tongue
It is not easy to expect a white spot at the tip of your tongue however it is possible to develop a white spot at a very tip or even on side of the tongue. The bump can’t be hurting though can be annoying you so much if it takes relatively long time before going away.
A white spot on tip of the tongue arises due to the healing of sores that are caused by biting your tongue. Apart from biting your tongue with the teeth, the sores can also be caused by physical injuries from sharp objects on the mouth.
Use of hard toothbrush can cause damage to the tongue that develops into white spots on tongue. The sores from injuries on tip of the tongue get tender and whitish in color. The white spot on tip of the tongue might be painful, red and swollen. This can be signs and symptoms of a fungal attack and you need to see a doctor for treatment.
Occasionally, a white spot on tip of the tongue and the entire mouth can be a symptom of precancerous and cancer infection. In such a case, your doctor can help you in the treatment.
White spots on Back of Tongue
White spots on tongue can also appear at the back of the tongue. The bumps at the back of the tongue can have various sizes depending on the causes. Generally, the back of the tongue has tiny natural bumps called papillae that are not easily visible.
The papillae can only be visible after some irritation caused by cold or throat infections. Some food can also cause the tiny bumps to increase in size. These foods include spicy, salty and acidic food. Too hot food can also irritate papillae and cause white spots on tongue.
Poor oral hygiene can result in accumulation of food debris at the back of the mouth that encourages the development bacteria and fungi that cause the development of white spots on tongue.
Sexually transmitted infection like syphilis and HIV can also cause white spots on tongue. Sexually transmitted infection usually causes white bumps to appear at the back of tongue.
Allergies reaction can be the cause of white spots on back of the tongue. Oral products and strange chemicals taken in the mouth can cause white bumps to develop at the backs of the mouth.
Small White Spots on Tongue
In most case, white spots on tongue are small but sometimes they may appear as big and large in size. When having small whites spots on your tongue no need to seek medication because they can go away themselves.
Small and tiny white patches on your tongue can take a couple weeks before they disappear. Sometimes, tiny white spots on your mouth can spread to entire mouth parts which can be a clear indication of an infection that needs medication.
Big white patches on the tongue are a symptom of serious health problem that needs more attention and treatment from recommended health providers.
Single White Spot on Tongue
A baby’s tongue usually develops a single white spot. However, anybody can get a single white spot on tongue. Having a single white bump on tongue can be a symptom of canker sore or a lie bump. This infection starts with the development of a fluid-filled blister that burst to leave an open ulcer on the tongue that is usually white in color.
A single white spot on tip or side of your tongue can be a beginning of oral thrush infection that can develop into many spots by time. You should understand that other tongue diseases can start with a single white patch on tongue that can latter spread and dominate the whole mouth.
Painful White Spots on Tongue
White spots on tongue can be painful and cause a discomfort to you. When your tongue has a burning sensation, you should at first determine the main cause of the pain. If the pain is caused by an injury that came as a result of biting your tongue, no need to worry more about it.
In addition, painful white spots on your tongue can result if you take too hot food during cold day condition. Taking hot coffee or tea can burn your tongue resulting to white painful sores that usually last for few hours or days before they get healed.
Painful white spots on your tongue can also be caused by underlying problems that require special treatment. If your tongue is painful and it persists for a long time, it is advisable to seek medical advice from a dentist.
White Spots on Tongue Toddler, Baby or Child
Can a toddler get white spots on tongue? This can be the question that comes into your minds when your baby starts to show signs and symptoms of white dots on tongue. Like adults, toddlers and infants also develop white spots on their tongue that can lead to loss of taste and appetite.
Canker sores might be the main causes of white spots on tongue of a baby. Lie bumps can also be a problem to children. As a parent or a guardian, be on the watch about the progress of oral health of your child and seek medical advice if necessary to keep your toddler healthy.
How to Get Rid of White Spots on Tongue
There are two main methods you can use to get rid of white spots on tongue depending on the nature and type of spot on your tongue. For tiny and few white spots on tongue, home remedies can be used to get rid of it. However, when white patches have dominated your mouth and they are becoming a health problem, you can alternatively go for a treatment by visiting your doctor.
Home Remedies for White Spots on Tongue
If your tongue has white spots, try the following home remedies to get rid of the white spots on tongue:
You can use salt as a home remedy to get rid of white spots on tongue. Salt solution has antiseptic property that removes bacteria from the mouth to give fresh breath. Salt solution can help to remove white coats on tongue. It also helps to remove food debris and dead cells on tongue.
How to use:
- Get a small amount of salt and sprinkle it on your tongue.
- Use a toothbrush to scrub white coats on the tongue.
- Rinse your mouth with warm water.
- Repeat the treatment twice per day until your tongue gets a natural pink color.
- Alternatively, mix one teaspoon of salt in one glass of warm water and gargle it in your mouth several times.
2. Vegetable glycerin
You can use a vegetable glycerin to get rid of white patches and spots on your tongue. The glycerin works best if the problem of white spots is due to having a dry mouth.
How to use it:
- Get vegetable glycerin and apply a small amount on your tongue.
- Use a toothbrush to scrub your tongue.
- Use warm water to rinse your mouth.
- Repeat the same treatment two times per day until white patches disappear.
3. Baking soda
Baking soda can be used as a home remedy to remove white spots on tongue. The reagent has the ability to exfoliate the tongue and remove any debris that coats your tongue. It also maintains standard mouth pH. Baking soda also has the ability to kill bacteria that can cause white spots in your mouth.
How to prepare:
- Make a paste of baking soda by mixing one teaspoon of the reagent with few drop of lemon juice.
- Put the paste on a toothbrush and brush your tongue gently.
- Rinse your mouth with warm water.
4. Aloe Vera gel
Aloe Vera has antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory ability that can be used to remove white spots on tongue. Aloe Vera gel is the best home remedies to use to clear white coating on the tongue. Enzymes in the aloe Vera gel can help to remove accumulated debris on the tongue.
How to use:
- Get one teaspoon of aloe Vera gel and swish in your mouth.
- Spit out the gel.
- Rinse your mouth with warm water.
- Repeat the treatment two times per day until your tongue becomes pink.
Treatment for White Spots on tongue
In case home remedies fail to remove white spots on your tongue; you can opt to go for medical treatment by visiting your doctor. Your doctor might order a test to be done on you to determine the exact cause of the white bumps on your tongue. Oral sample and sputum from your mouth can be taken to the laboratory to be tested.
Basing on the result of the test, your doctor will decide a treatment plan for you. Different methods of diagnosis will be applied by the doctor according to the type of infection.
For fungal, bacterial and virus infection, your doctor might prescribe some medication that can help you in the treatment of white spots on tongue. Your doctor can suggest prescription of amitriptyline and amisulpride medication if the infections are a serious problem.
Your doctor can also decide for you the type of painkiller to use in order to relieve pain on the tongue. Some of the drugs that might be suggested by your doctor include acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and aspirin.
For a cancerous condition, your doctor can use a suitable cancer therapy for treatment.
When to See a Doctor Over White Spots on tongue
It is advisable to see a doctor over the white spots on your tongue if:
- White spots on your tongue persist for several weeks.
- When the spots are getting too painful and inflamed.
- If home remedies fail to remove white dots on tongue.
- If the patches are caused by underlying infections in the body.
- When white bumps result to mouth bleeding.
- If the white bumps become hard and tumor like growth.
White patches and spots on tongue can develop into a complication that needs to be addressed to health providers. Precancerous condition on the mouth should be treated before the condition worsens. In case you notice white spots on your tongue, visit a doctor for treatment.
Sources and References
- Cause of white spots on tongue: http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/tongue-problem-basics-sore-or-discolored-tongue-and-tongue-bumps#1
- Cause of white spots on tongue: http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/conditions/mouth-sores-and-infections/article/white-spot-on-the-tongue-1215
- White spots under the tongue: https://www.reference.com/health/causes-white-spot-under-person-s-tongue-a6ce5698b1312895?aq=white+spot+under+the+tongue&qo=cdpArticles
- White spot on tip of the tongue: https://www.zocdoc.com/answers/11089/why-do-i-have-a-white-bump-on-the-tip-of-my-tongue
- White spot on back of the tongue: http://www.md-health.com/Bumps-On-Back-Of-Tongue.html,
- Single white spot on tongue: https://community.babycenter.com/post/a39883198/single_white_spot_on_tongue_help_please
- Painful white spots on tongue: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/tongue-pain/Pages/Introduction.aspx
- White spots on toddler’s tongue: https://www.hitched.co.uk/chat/forums/thread/very-unhappy-baby-with-white-spots-on-tongue-updated-111260/
- Home remedies for white spot on tongue: http://www.top10homeremedies.com/home-remedies/home-remedies-white-coated-tongue.html
- Treatment of white spot on tongue; http://www.wikihow.com/Get-Rid-of-Bumps-on-Your-Tongue