White Tongue Discoloration

Rate your level of white tongue discoloration with respect to the image below

  • No white discoloration

    Votes: 4 8.5%
  • Less white discoloration

    Votes: 2 4.3%
  • Similar white discoloration

    Votes: 25 53.2%
  • More white discoloration

    Votes: 16 34.0%

  • Total voters
    47

undiagnosed

Senior Member
Messages
225
Likes
338
Location
United States
I would like to sample the community here to estimate the prevalence and severity of self-reported white tongue discoloration based on visual inspection. Could you please select the most appropriate choice for yourself from the poll above. I appear to have inflamed filiform papillae with a white discoloration and possible bacterial or fungal colonization. The image below shows white discoloration where individual filiform papillae can be seen towards the edges and larger patches are visible towards the back. The dark color at the back of the tongue is from the poor lighting in the back of the mouth and is not part of the tongue color.

 

undiagnosed

Senior Member
Messages
225
Likes
338
Location
United States
For me white tongue means candida overgrowth, also known as thrush. It goes away with caprylic acid supplements and avoiding sugar.
It's one of the possible explanations for white tongue coloration. I haven't taken any antifungals but I don't eat much sugar. My tongue condition has been chronic (years).
 

Hip

Senior Member
Messages
13,051
Likes
24,236
To my knowledge, there are four different types of white tongue coating:

Geographic tongue (also called benign migratory glossitis). With geographic tongue, there are often patches and borders that look a bit like a geographic map (hence the name geographic tongue). IL-1B polymorphisms are a risk factor for developing geographic tongue. 1

Oral candidiasis (also called oral thrush) which is caused by a Candida infection, and may appear not just on the tongue, but also on other areas of the mouth, such as the roof of the mouth. Oral candidiasis also has a texture looking a bit like cottage cheese.

Oral hairy leukoplakia, which tends to be located on the sides of the tongue. This is caused by Epstein-Barr virus, but only in immunocompromised patients such as HIV patients.

Leukoplakia, which can occur on tongue and on other areas of the oral mucous membranes. Leukoplakia is linked to an increased risk of mouth cancer.

There is also:

Black hairy tongue, which is thought to be caused by bacteria or fungi in the mouth. These micro-organisms build up on the papillae on the tongue surface, causing a lengthening of the papillae, with the papillae stained by the micro-organisms, or by food, tobacco, etc. Hairy tongue is most often black, but the tongue can also turn brown, yellow, green, or other colors.
 
Last edited:

undiagnosed

Senior Member
Messages
225
Likes
338
Location
United States
@Hip, I think hairy tongue would also be on the list. It can be various colors including white and is caused by hypertrophy of the filiform papillae. This can also result in overgrowth of various microorganisms.
 

Hip

Senior Member
Messages
13,051
Likes
24,236
@Hip, I think hairy tongue would also be on the list. It can be various colors including white and is caused by hypertrophy of the filiform papillae. This can also result in overgrowth of various microorganisms.
That's a new one for me, interesting. So that's 5 different types of tongue coating. I have updated my above post accordingly.
 
Messages
41
Likes
75
Location
Lancashire, UK
i know this is an old thread, but this is one of the symptoms that predates my M.E., or rather the period when it got considerably worse. I have had constant geographic tongue and white tongue discoloration over the past 6/7 years. I was told it was thrush by a nurse who i don't think knew what she was on about, and i've been given drops etc. nothing really changed it.

the whiteness i believe is simply food and debris getting stuck between inflammed (and therefore larger) papaillae. without this inflammation, the debris doesn't get stuck.
 
Messages
53
Likes
67
i know this is an old thread, but this is one of the symptoms that predates my M.E., or rather the period when it got considerably worse. I have had constant geographic tongue and white tongue discoloration over the past 6/7 years. I was told it was thrush by a nurse who i don't think knew what she was on about, and i've been given drops etc. nothing really changed it.

the whiteness i believe is simply food and debris getting stuck between inflammed (and therefore larger) papaillae. without this inflammation, the debris doesn't get stuck.
Mine lessens with a calmer GI system (periods of less inflammation) so I believe you may be right. But I also believe some of that discoloration could be bacterial toxins, or in some cases it really is yeast, but that is more obvious.
 

wonderoushope

Senior Member
Messages
238
Likes
321
Mine lessens with a calmer GI system (periods of less inflammation) so I believe you may be right. But I also believe some of that discoloration could be bacterial toxins, or in some cases it really is yeast, but that is more obvious.
Same. Mine lessons when my GERD and my food intolerances settle down. My swab did not come back with a candida overgrowth from GP.
 
Messages
2,390
Likes
6,287
I would like to sample the community here to estimate the prevalence and severity of self-reported white tongue discoloration based on visual inspection. Could you please select the most appropriate choice for yourself from the poll above. I appear to have inflamed filiform papillae with a white discoloration and possible bacterial or fungal colonization. The image below shows white discoloration where individual filiform papillae can be seen towards the edges and larger patches are visible towards the back. The dark color at the back of the tongue is from the poor lighting in the back of the mouth and is not part of the tongue color.

Chinese Traditional Medicine READS the tongue, and this white coating would be viewed as "dampness" and is an symptom of imbalance. This tongue above exhibits alot of heat on the side, check your liver. I have had this for years and do not believe it is yeast. Find a Chinese HERB expert.
 

sb4

Senior Member
Messages
1,160
Likes
1,855
Location
United Kingdom
That's about as likely as reading your future by examining tea leaves in a tea cup.
I'd have to disagree with this. I don't think it's impossible that if you had a problem in your liver that it could show on a certain place on your tongue with regards to acupuncture meridians. Obviously I'm not saying you can just look at the tongue and solve everything, but I would guess that you can derive some useful information from it.
 

Hip

Senior Member
Messages
13,051
Likes
24,236
Obviously I'm not saying you can just look at the tongue and solve everything, but I would guess that you can derive some useful information from it.
Sure, you can derive useful medical information from the tongue, as there are tongue symptoms that indicate various medical conditions.

I was referring to this idea that the tongue contains a map of the entire body system, which is purported to be an old Chinese medicine idea. You also find this idea in reflexology, that the soles of the feet are a map of the entire body and its organs. There is absolutely no evidence for this whatsoever.
 
Last edited:

sb4

Senior Member
Messages
1,160
Likes
1,855
Location
United Kingdom
I was referring to this idea that the tongue contains a map of the entire body system, which is an old Chinese medicine idea. You also find this idea in reflexology, that the soles of the feet are a map of the entire body and its organs. There is absolutely no evidence for this whatsoever.
Yes I was also referring to it and I don't think there be no evidence for it currently means the idea is bunk. I know I am less than an amateur when it comes to this sort of thing but I have a "hunch" that it's true, partly based on peoples opinions I have come to trust and that I don't think western medicine has given it sufficient chance as it doesn't fit with the current understanding of the body.

I read about this https://upliftconnect.com/science-proves-meridians-exist/ a while back and if the meridians are there and they do flow from corresponding organs to places on the feet / tongue then I don't think it's a stretch that if the liver is having problems then this can be somehow "transmitted" through the meridians to the tongue.