White spots on your tongue that heals on their own within two weeks are absolutely harmless to your health. However, those that last more than two weeks may be caused by a serious underlying condition that can be life threatening and requires a doctors diagnosis and treatment.
The appearance of white spots on your tongue usually varies depending with the cause. They may be scattered all over your tongue or clustered at the same location. The size also varies, they may appear on the surface of the tongue or slightly raised above the surface.
White spots may also develop at the tip of your tongue, sides, back or the whole tongue. They can be accompanied with other symptoms like inflammation or swellings.
Why do I have a white Spot on my Tongue?
The most common causes include the following:
- Oral thrush
Oral thrush is also referred to as candidiasis or yeast infection. This condition may develop on different parts of your mouth including the tongue. It causes white patches on the various parts of your mouth like inside the cheeks and on the tongue.
This condition commonly affects children, elderly people and those individuals with low body immunity. Other body conditions like diabetes, asthma or lung infections also increases your risk of getting oral thrush. Taking antibiotics for a long time may also increase your chances of developing oral thrush. They kill useful bacteria from your mouth.
Leukoplakia is a condition that develops when your tongue is irritated due to various factors like tobacco smoking and taking very hot, spicy and salty foods. This condition causes your mouth cells to grow excessively which may lead to white spots on tongue.
Most of people who are suffering from cancer has encountered leukoplakia. It is therefore recommended to visit a physician to determine the exactly what causes white bumps on tongue. Cancer is easily treated when identified early.
- Oral lichen planus
This is a condition that causes various raised white strips on your tongue that resembles a lace. The exact cause of this condition is still unknown but it usually disappears on its own after a certain time. Some studies have linked it to poor oral hygiene, tobacco smoking or other tongue irritants found in food.
- Mouth cancer
There are various types of cancer that can cause white dots on your tongue. The most common one is known as squamous cell carcinoma. The white patches usually develops at the tip or sides of your tongue. Apart from being white, the lumps may also appear grey, pink or red in color and bleeds easily especially when touched.
Oral tongue cancer can also develop on other parts of your tongue including the back area. It can be difficult to identify them in their initial stages as they can be painless as they develop. It is recommended to visit a doctor when you are suspicious with your spots. It can easily be treated either by surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy.
- HIV and STDs
HIV and STDs is also among what causes white spots on tongue and sore throat. These are infections that are transmitted sexually from infected partner to the other. The major STIs that causes white patches on tongue includes HIV and Syphilis.
Syphilis usually stars as a small sore that will come and disappear after a short time. They are followed with more sores that will also disappear after some days. It is easy to treat syphilis during the initial stages. However, when left untreated, can cause damage to the brain, tissues and even result to death.
In its initial stages, it also causes white patches on different parts of your mouth including the tongue and roof of your mouth. You may also experience other symptoms like muscle pains, swollen lymph nodes, sore throat, headache and flue like symptoms. This condition can be treated using antibiotics.
- Canker sores
Canker sores can be the reason as to why you are experiencing white spots on tongue. The white spots are usually surrounded by red streak at the base. The white bumps can appear on the whole tongue or in clusters of small or large bumps.
There are a number of things that can cause canker sores in your mouth. They include: virus or bacterial infections, allergies, trauma or injuries, low body immune system, tobacco smoking or nutritional deficiencies.
- Tongue piercing
Tongue piercing can cause a white spot to appear near the pierced site. This normally occurs when your piercing is infected. It is commonly accompanied with other symptoms like inflammation, bleeding, presence of discharge, redness or difficulties in chewing and swallowing food.
- Tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption
White spots on tongue is common among individuals who smoke and consume alcohol excessively. The white spots may also appear on the mucous membrane of cheeks and tongue. This occurs due to regular irritation of your tongue and mouth from smoking and alcohol consumption.
To get rid of this condition, you have to quit smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. Practice good oral hygiene to get rid of the present spots by scraping and brushing your tongue regularly. You also have to clean your entire mouth by brushing and flossing your teeth regularly.
- Digestive track disorders
Disorders affecting gastrointestinal functions may cause some white patches to appear on your tongue. Some of the disorders causes regurgitation of stomach acid to your mouth that causes irritations to your tongue.
This is a condition that causes inflammation of all structures that are found in your mouth including the tongue, cheeks, gums, palate, lips and roof of mouth among others. This condition is the common cause of white spots on baby tongue.
Dehydration or inadequate water into your body also causes temporal white spots on your mouth including the tongue. This condition normally disappears few minutes after taking water. Therefore, you need to keep your body hydrated by taking at least eight glasses of water a day.
- Mouth infections
There are various bacterial mouth infections like streptococcus pyogenic that causes white or red spots on tongue. This infection is usually accompanied with other symptoms like sore throat, fever, swollen lymph nodes and white patches on the tonsils among others.
- Other causes of white spots on tongue
Apart from the above causes, there are also other things that can cause white patches to develop on your tongue and other parts of your mouth. They include: poor oral hygiene, reaction to certain medications, illnesses, environmental irritants, spicy foods, common cold and spleen disorders.
What does White Spots on Side of Tongue mean?
White spots, patches or dots that occurs on the sides of your tongue are symptomatic to a certain condition. They may cause some pain while others are absolutely painless. Some people have a wrong believe that painless patches or dots on the tongue are harmless. That may not be true.
It is true that some of painless patches on side of your tongue can result from less serious conditions like dehydration or minor injuries to the tongue. There are also other serious body conditions like oral cancer that causes painless white bumps on the tongue in its initial stages and you are not supposed to ignore such spots.
As you read earlier, white spots on tongue can result from various conditions like canker sores, oral thrush, irritations from spicy food and dental appliances, trauma or injuries from tongue biting, mouth infections, allergic reactions from foods and medications and digestive track disorders among other condition.
The appearance and size of white spots on the sides of your tongue may also vary from small to large. Some also be painful while others are painless depending with the underlying cause. You need to be careful and identify any other symptom that may accompany the patches.
Some of the patches may heal on their own within a period of two weeks while others may persist for a long time. It is therefore recommended to visit your health care provider to determine the exact cause of your condition and prescribe the required medicines to treat the condition.
What are Small, Little Dots on Tongue a Symptom of?
There are various mouth infections and other conditions that can cause small, little dots on your tongue. Some of the dots may be harmless and usually disappears on their own while others that are caused by serious conditions may require treatment to heal.
The common little white dots on tongue are caused by thrush. This is an overgrowth of fungus into your mouth that results to oral thrush. This condition results to small dots or bumps to develop on various part of your mouth including the tongue, inside cheeks or gums.
There are various conditions that encourages the growth of fungus into your mouth like low immune system, diabetes and lung infections among other conditions. Children and elderly people are prone to this condition.
Canker sores is another condition that causes small and painful white spots on tongue. The other parts of your mouth that can be affected includes: inside the cheeks, gum line, lips and throat.
Canker sores can result from nutritional deficiencies and trauma or injuries to the tongue from accidental biting. This condition is not contagious and usually resolves on its own within a certain period of time.
Small or little white or red dots on tongue can also result from transient lingual papillitis. Most of us have experienced lie bumps at some point in our life. This condition results from inflamed or irritated papillae that become slightly swollen.
The exact cause of this condition is not clearly defined but it is believed to result from hormonal changes, spicy and very hot food and beverages and allergic reactions among other conditions. The bumps usually clear on their own without treatment after a few days.
Can you get White Spots on Back of your Tongue
Sometimes it is normal to have white bumps at the back of your tongue as a result of swollen circumvallate papillae. This are bumps that are normal and naturally belong to the surface of your back tongue
Sexually transmitted infections might be another cause of white bumps at the back of your tongue. STIs like syphilis and HIV is among the common infections that causes various symptoms like swollen lymph nodes, white bumps at the back of your tongue and some lesions on other parts of your mouth.
How to Treat White Spots on Tongue
Treating white spots on your tongue depends with the cause. Less serious conditions can easily be treated by the use of home remedies while those that result from more serious conditions requires a doctor’s diagnosis and treatment. Here are some of the treatments that you can employ to get rid of this condition.
- Improve your oral hygiene
Improving your oral hygiene will help to reduce the amount of white patches on your tongue as well as preventing new ones from developing. It involves brushing your teeth and tongue after taking every meal and before going to bed. You should also floss your teeth regularly to remove food particles that sick between your teeth.
Gargle antiseptic mouthwash into your mouth daily and spit it out. It helps to kill bacteria and other pathogenic microorganism that causes different mouth infections. It also gives you a fresh breath.
- Avoid smoking and reduce alcohol consumption
Smoking tobacco causes inflammation of the taste buds as well as staining your tongue. Bacteria and other microorganisms can get trapped into your stained tongue to cause infections that result to white patches and other problems to your tongue.
Smoke contains harmful chemicals that can damage other parts of your mouth like. Smoking is also a risk factor to various diseases including oral cancer.
You also have to avoid excessive consumption of alcohol. It causes inflammation of taste buds as well as causing excessive dehydration of your body that is another cause of white patches on the tongue.
- Take enough water to avoid dehydration
Keeping yourself hydrated helps to avoid white spots on tongue that results from dehydration. Keep a glass of water at hand, once you feel thirsty, it means that your body is already dehydrated.
The amount of water you are supposed to take per day depends with your body weight, the activities you are doing and climate of your area. It is therefore recommended to take at least 8 glasses of water per day.
- Remove the white spots
There are several tips you can use to remove the white coating on your tongue. They include brushing your tongue with a tooth brush, using a tongue scraper to scrape off the white coatings, using an antiseptic mouthwash to kill the bacteria or washing your tongue with clean water.
- Limit intake of salty and spicy foods
Salty and spicy food and beverages causes inflammation of the tongue and hence resulting to white patches. When you limit its intake, your tongue will restore back its normal healthy color.
- Use vegetable glycerin
Vegetable glycerin is an effective home remedy treatment for white spots on tongue. It helps to moisturize a dehydrated mouth. It also restores a fresh breath into your mouth. You simply place few drops to the surface of your tongue and rinse your mouth thoroughly using water and spit it out.
- Try oil pulling
This is an effective remedy that was used from ancient time to get rid of white patches on tongue. It helps in treating oral thrush by eliminating the yeast. Before performing your routine dental cleaning, put 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin coconut oil on the surface of your tongue. Swish around the mouth and spit it out.
- Visit your doctor for treatment
There are various infections or disorders that requires to be diagnosed before treatment. It is therefore recommended to visit your doctor when having persistent white spots on your tongue and other parts of your mouth.