White Tongue: Treatments & Home Remedies

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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Millions of people experience the burning sensation and sore white coat on their tongue every year, and while it is rarely dangerous in itself, it can still be alarming and should be addressed immediately. This condition may also be indicative of a more serious underlying problem, particularly if it is difficult to treat within a week or two.

Treatments for White Tongue

If you are experiencing white tongue, there are a number of simple ways to eliminate the problem, including saliva-stimulating tablets, physical brushing, and oral flushing, among others. Furthermore, eliminating any of the risk factors above may also help to naturally treat or avoid the symptoms of white tongue.

Saliva Tablets

There are some over-the-counter medications that are designed to help alleviate dry mouth, which is a major risk factor for white tongue. By stimulating the release of saliva, along with its antibacterial properties, these rehydrating tablets can help clean out the mouth of excess debris.

Brushing the Tongue

A simple solution to a build-up of debris and dead cells on the tongue is simply to scrub your tongue. Every time you brush your teeth, spend an extra 30 seconds scrubbing the top of your tongue, and then thoroughly flushing your mouth, which should eliminate most of the dead cells and white coating.

Close up of a woman's white tongue

Oral Flushing

Regularly gargling with certain mouthwashes or homemade preparations can help to clear out any build-up of debris or dead cells that have accumulated on the tongue.

Home Remedies for White Tongue

Over the years, given the relatively non-threatening nature of this condition, many home remedies have been developed for white tongue, including oil pulling, glycerin, salt, aloe vera, baking soda, turmeric, probiotics, neem and tea tree oil.

Aloe Vera

 Known around the world for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, this juice is extremely effective against the symptoms of white tongue. It can not only reduce inflammation on the papillae, making it more difficult for debris to accumulate, but it also neutralizes many of the common bacterial infections that can accompany white tongue.


It may sound unpleasant to put a pile of salt on the tongue but the coarse nature of salt will function as a natural scrub brush for the tongue, eliminating the white coating after only a few applications. However, salt will also help to lock in the moisture of the tongue and soothe inflammation, while also neutralizing infectious pathogens, due to its antiseptic nature.

Baking Soda

This common substance has an exfoliating nature, which can help to scrape out hard-to-reach substances on the tongue, including the debris and dead cells that result in white tongue. Furthermore, baking soda is also a highly alkaline substance, which will help your mouth retain its acidity and ensure that your saliva is optimized for antiseptic activity.

Oil Pulling

This practice has become very popular in recent years to eliminate the bacterial and fungal infections that can attack the mouth. Oil pulling consists of holding a specific type of oil in the mouth for 10-20 minutes and swishing it repeatedly around your teeth. This can draw out bacteria and neutralize dangerous pathogens, particularly when you use oils like coconut oil, jojoba oil, almond oil, sesame oil or olive oil.


In some cases, white tongue is due to an overgrowth of the Candida fungus, which is a very common fungus in the mouth that may take advantage of a weakened immune system to grow and spread. Consuming food that is rich in probiotics will deliver beneficial bacteria to the mouth, helping to control the balance of fungi and bacteria in the mouth.


Known as one of the strongest antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds that we have yet to discover, turmeric and its active ingredient curcumin can neutralize any infections causing white tongue, while also soothing the inflamed papillae and preventing any more debris from accumulating.  The best way to use this remedy is to mix a teaspoon of turmeric powder with warm water and then gargle the mixture for 30 seconds.


Vegetable glycerin isn’t commonly used by many people but it is very good at moisturizing and hydrating the mouth, while also eliminating the bacteria in the tongue that can lead to bad breath – a frequent side effect of this condition. Consuming a small amount of vegetable glycerin and swishing thoroughly around the tongue and teeth is the best way to use this remedy.

Tea Tree Oil

This Australian remedy has been used for thousands of years, due to the potent immune system-boosting properties of the oil, in addition to its anti-inflammatory and healing abilities. It can eliminate the appearance of white tongue, while also repairing the damaged tissues and papillae.


In Ayurvedic medicine, few things like neem powder has a major contribution. It can be mixed with 1 cup of warm water and then used as a gargle to eliminate the worst symptoms of white tongue. It is also a natural detoxifier and can reduce inflammation on the tongue and surrounding tissues.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, and publisher who earned his English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Urbana (USA). He is the co-founder of a literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and calls the most beautiful places in the world his office. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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