Dehydration and White Tongue – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Our tongue holds immense importance as an organ. It effectively handles one of the 5 common senses, i.e., taste. But, if we look closely, it has more responsibility than that. The tongue additionally serves as a natural mouth cleaning agent and an overall health indicator. How does it do that? Well, your tongue changes its texture or color when anything goes wrong in the body, such as at the time of dehydration, your tongue turns white. Let’s dig deeper into the relationship between your tongue and dehydration.

White Tongue – Dehydration

Water constitutes around 60 to 70% of the entire body weight. Every thriving cell in the human body needs a good amount of it for proper functioning. If the tongue goes white, that is an indicating sign of severe dehydration in the body.

Why Dehydration Leads To White Tongue?

Your tongue is a muscle made organ that is covered with small structures – the papillae, containing receptors that help taste food. Moreover, salivary glands secrete saliva inside the oral cavity that keeps the mouth and tongue moist.

Saliva comprises largely of water with additional components, including antimicrobials like hydrogen peroxide, lactoferrin, and lysozyme that help reduce yeast and microbial load in the mouth.
When the body undergoes dehydration, saliva production lessens to a great extent. With inadequate secretion, microbes such as yeast and bacteria multiply. Oral thrush is one such condition – increased production of yeast that forms white patches on the tongue. Lack of hydration swells up the papillae, on which dead cells, fungi, bacteria, and food items stick, resulting in a white layer.

Dehydration Dangers

Dehydration reduces the quality of life, and it may also result in a fatal situation. Some of the complications associated are:


Our body requires electrolyte balance from water or other fluids for functioning since they have to carry vital impulses from one cell to another. An imbalance due to dehydration causes a seizure attack.

UTI and Kidney Problems

Minerals tend to calcify in the body into hard stones; this process is facilitated by a lack of water in the body. Persistent dehydration contributes to UTI – urinary tract infection and other problems such as the formation of kidney stones.

Low Blood Volume – Hypovolemic Shock

Water level and blood volume are interrelated; low water level subsequently decreases blood pressure that makes the oxygen level go down, which may turn fatal.

Heat Injury

Balance of water and electrolytes is required for health maintenance during exercise. If you consume enough and lose a greater quantity in the form of sweat, the body may undergo heat stroke.

Treatment of Dehydration

Dehydration is only combatted with increased water intake in the body via:

  • Water
  • Soups
  • Ice pop
  • Sports drink

However, in case of severe dehydration, patients may be given IV fluid for fast electrolyte balance.

Final Take Out

Hydration is a necessity for a healthy mind a body. Nowadays, taking care of physical and mental being is difficult. Therefore always maintain a healthy habit of drinking an adequate amount of fluids. The great news is that there are a lot of apps available that can help you track your needs; download one today.


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