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What causes dry, white tongue? I am susceptible to canker sores every now and then and I recently got over a cold. I attached a picture. Just can't tell if it is Thrush or if it's normal. I tryed using a tongue scraper, Orajel mouth rinse with peroxide and swished with warm salt water. What can cause this and how can I get rid of it? Thank you

Tony -  I cannot fully tell you that the whiteness is due to yeast overgrowth or if it just normal oral bacteria overgrowth.  If the area was never overly white before, the changes can occur from a change in the acidity of the area or it can be due to an overgrowth of yeast or bacteria due to an undergrowth of other competing organisms.

In my experience, the best way to eliminate an excess white growth is simply brushing the tongue in the morning after breakfast and at night before bed.  If the brushing alone does not eliminate the whiteness, you need a dentist or physician to swab the area and attempt to culture the scraping.  Once that material is cultured, an oral rinse or medication may be necessary.

In general the daily brushing with toothpaste or an antibacterial mouthwash is all that is necessary.  


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Joel S. Teig, DMD, Diplomate ABOMS, retired


I am a board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon and I am available to answer questions related to tooth extractions, implant insertion, facial recontruction, facial and oral tumor removal, TMJ dysfunction and various successful treatments, including surgery if all else fails, and occlusal discrepancy requiring orthognathic or jaw surgery.


Board Certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon practicine for over 20 years. Assistant Clincal Professor and State University School of Dentistry.

American Dental Association, American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons

BA -University of Connecticut DMD - University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine

Awards and Honors
National Honor Society (OKU), Philadelphia County Dental Society, Mosby Book Award, Oral Surgery Honors, Summa Cum Laude

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