Can Dehydration Cause White Tongue

Our overall health is reflected through many different parameters, be it physical or anatomical. Whenever something is off in your body, you can sense it already if you start having initial symptoms. One of these off-balances occurs when you are dehydrated.

Dehydration is probably one of the most common health issues faced by many people. We might not realize it but consuming fewer amounts of fluid than required can definitely cause a lot many serious health complications.

What Is Dehydration?

Dehydration occurs when your body loses more water than you consume. In simple words, it is caused if your fluid and electrolyte intake is very low.

The fluid-electrolyte imbalance is a multi-faceted issue. There are many reasons and outcomes if your body is not optimally hydrated. Thus, it is very important to give your body the number of fluids it needs every day.

Dehydration Signs And Symptoms

If you are dehydrated, you can experience the following signs and symptoms-

  • Extreme headaches at night
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Dark yellow urine
  • Decreased saliva production
  • Confusion and decreased mental alertness
  • Dry mouth
  • Dull skin
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Unconsciousness

White Tongue As a Sign Of Dehydration

Whenever you visit your doctor in case of any health discomfort, the first thing he or she does is to check your tongue, especially when it comes to dehydration symptoms.

When you don’t drink enough water, your body tries to conserve the water it does have. As a result, decreased saliva production is one of the earliest indicators of dehydration. Your tongue may feel dry and swollen as your body conserves moisture by reducing saliva production. A dry, dehydrated tongue isn’t just a sign of dehydration in your mouth; it’s a sign that your entire body needs more water.

One of the prominent signs of dehydration is a white tongue. The human tongue consists of many tiny bumps called papillae which are responsible for analyzing the taste of food. When you suffer from dehydration, it leads to reduced saliva production and thus causes a dry mouth and tongue leading to the problem of white tongue in the long run.

Different kinds of harmful bacteria, fungi, dead cells, and food particles can also cause white tongue. All these are outcomes of a dry mouth and thus the right hydration is important.

Other Symptoms Of a Dehydrated Tongue

Not only the color of the tongue turning white but many other symptoms of a dehydrated tongue can be the cause of severe health complications. These include-

  • The rough texture of the tongue
  • Dry lips
  • Dry mouth
  • Sticky feeling in the mouth
  • Thirst

What Does a White Tongue Signify?

Apart from dehydration, a white tongue signifies many other serious issues. It can be an indication of-

Oral thrush

It is a yeast infection that develops inside the mouth and is characterized by white patches on the tongue and other mouth areas. It is quite commonly observed in children. People having a weak immune system are also prone to this problem. If you have a habit of using steroid inhalers, then also you might suffer from oral thrush. It is best to rinse your mouth whenever you use inhalers and keep your oral hygiene in the right place to avoid such oral issues.

Oral lichen planus

Lichen plus is a kind of rash that can develop on any part of the body, let alone the mouth. The word ‘oral lichen planus’ signifies that the rash is in the mouth. You can experience symptoms like white patches, ulcers, open sores, swelling, etc.

Oral syphilis

Syphilis is mainly a sexually transmitted disease. Being an STD, it can spread through oral sex and can cause white or greyish-colored spores on your lips, tongue, etc.

Ways To Keep Your Tongue Healthy

Oral hygiene is a very essential part of your health. The clear sign of a healthy tongue is its color which must be pink and coated in tiny nodules (papillae). It must also be wet because saliva helps break down food before digestion and coats and protects your teeth from bacteria and disease.

There are many natural and clinical ways through which you can keep your tongue healthy and protected. Here is how you can take care of your tongue-

  • One of the effective home remedies to treat white tongue problems is using baking soda scrubs. Take a pinch of baking soda on your toothbrush and scrub it on your tongue, teeth, and gums for about 5-10 minutes.
  • Raw garlic is a superfood that helps fight off diseases and infections. Being an antimicrobial and antifungal food, garlic is a great go-to solution for the problem of the white tongue. You can have a clove of raw garlic every day or you can roast it in olive oil and then eat to enhance the taste.
  • Take care of your hydration the most. Since the white tongue is the result of a low intake of fluids, you need to consume a diet rich in electrolytes and optimum water intake. Electrolyte water, water-rich foods, sparkling water, fruits, and vegetables, etc. are good sources to compensate for hydration.

White tongue is technically not a very serious problem. The white patches clear up easily within some time. But if your oral hygiene does not improve, this condition may prolong and can pave the way to many other serious oral problems.

If your symptoms do not go away with basic home remedies, then you must not hesitate to consult your doctor in this case. Medications and other clinical treatments might prove beneficial in such cases if your condition does not improve within time.


Oral hygiene is something people aren’t really aware of. But mouth and its related issues can pose a serious threat to your overall health. Thus, keep your hydration at pace and make sure you are not letting your body go out of fluids.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button