Gentle Dental of West Chester
125 Turner Lane, West Chester, PA 19380

What Could Be Causing a White Tongue?


Do you suddenly have a strange coating on your tongue or completely white tongue? This could just be a buildup of debris that can be quickly wiped away, or it may be a sign of a medical issue. Only your dentist can diagnose your case, but learn more about the medical problems that may be causing your white tongue.

Oral Thrush

The Reason: Oral thrush is also called candidiasis and it results from an excess of yeast in the mouth, which creates the appearance of a coated tongue. It often occurs after you’ve taken antibiotics, if you’re under stress, or facing an illness because these conditions disturb the balance of bacteria in your system.

The Remedy: You can wipe away the white sections of yeast. You always should brush your tongue when brushing your teeth, especially if you’ve been sick or on medication. Why should you brush your tongue? Since oral thrush can develop at any time, brushing your tongue on a regular basis could help to prevent any possible problems. But to completely correct the white tongue, it should be treated with an antifungal medication, tablets, or lozenges that get your system back in balance.

Oral Lichen Planus

The Reason: Oral lichen planus is a chronic inflammatory condition caused by an autoimmune response. It can result in a coated tongue, yet the coating appears as a lace-like white pattern.

The Remedy: There is really no treatment since it is related to an autoimmune response, but it should be continually monitored by a doctor since any changes could indicate oral cancer.

Linea Alba

The Reason: Instead of causing a completely coated tongue, linea alba results in a thin white line along the edges of the tongue. It is simply caused by an irritation or trauma from aggressive chewing.

The Remedy: Since biting your tongue usually causes it, no treatment is needed.


The Reason: The white coating cannot be removed with a quick cleansing with this type of coated tongue. The cause of this condition is sometimes uncertain, but it may be associated with tobacco use or a recurrent irritation in the mouth.

The Remedy: The remedy could be as simple as stopping a smoking habit, but since it results from smoking, it may be an early indication of oral cancer. It’s wise to have your doctor do a biopsy and continually monitor the area for any changes.

Hairy Leukoplakia

The Reason: This condition is seen as a hairy, irregular white patch along the sides of the tongue. It’s caused by the autoimmune condition called Epstein-Barr.

The Remedy: This type of coated tongue can be a recurrent problem, so people with an immune-compromising condition are usually treated with antiviral medications. If you are not suffering from a weakened immune system, then an HIV test may be given to see if there is any correlation.

To learn about our family dentistry practice in West Chester, call Gentle Dental of West Chester today at (484) 643-4417 or make an appointment.

Gentle Dental offers affordable family dentistry and gentle, compassionate dental care in West Chester. With 14 affiliated practices in the Greater Philadelphia area, our offices are conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At Gentle Dental of West Chester, we provide most dental services, from basic preventative care and general dentistry to specialized procedures and complete dental reconstruction. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable dental care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping those smiles healthy, beautiful, and bright. Discover an affordable dentist who truly cares at Gentle Dental of West Chester.

Read What Our Patients Say
Patient Reviews
Quick and friendly service.
Keith J.
Dr. Valentine and Lorie the dental hygienist are great!
Camilla H.
Dr Valentine, Laura, Regina and all the staff is great. They are friendly, caring, efficient and honest. I came from another office that told me I had 6 cavities when in fact I have zero per Dr. […]
Nola J.
The staff seem very knowledgeable and are very nice. The office is very clean and the equipment/practices used seem very up to date.
Meghan R.
In my 2 visits to your office, Dr Valentine, Laura and Pushpa have gained my confidence and trust. Their honesty, caring and respect is something I have not experienced from a dental practice in […]
Bill B.
The staff at Gentle Dentle remember all my family individually, we have a daughter who is special needs-they were great with her! It’s exactly what a great dentist office should be.
Marie L.
They did a really nice job and everyone was very friendly!
Jennifer T.
Friendly, professional & timely service
Steven W.
I love Dr.Valentine and all the staff. They are very kind, and Dr.Valentine always recommends the right treatments without pushing unnecessary treatments.
Tara S.
Appointment was on time. Dental work was done efficiently and pleasantly.
Robert G.
Wonderful practice with Caring and skilled staff. Dr. Valentine is terrific. Highly recommend.
Charlene R.
The office staff is very nice and accommodating and do what they can to help
Cindy A.
Excellent customer service, friendly, quick, responsive
Nicola W.
Excellent care and treatment
James H.
Timeliness, professional, thorough, pleasant and highly accomodating.
Patricia P.
I appreciate the timely manner to get appointments ad the concern everyone has for the patient.
Ruth M.
Little wait time, fast procedure and friendly staff
Alyssa A.
I love Dr. Valentine. She makes me feel so at ease and makes the trip to the dentist as pleasurable as it possibly can be.
Stephanie M.
The icon would not move but I definitely would recommend you to others
Nancy P.
The Dental Hygenist was so nice and friendly. She made me feel less stressed about the Dental issues I’m having.
Kaitlyn K.
We Accept Most Insurance Plans!
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We accept most insurance plans and will be happy to help you understand the coverage that you have. We will do our best to see that you receive your maximum insurance benefits for all covered services.

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Office Hours
  • Monday 7:30 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Tuesday 7:30 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Wednesday 7:30 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Thursday 7:30 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Friday 9:00 AM - 12:30 PM
  • Saturday Closed
  • Sunday Closed
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  • Phone: (484) 643-4417
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