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Mouth Diseases

Fungus of the tongue (yeast or candida)

03/30/2009

Question:

My husband had very bad breath and always covered it up chewing gum. After french kissing for a period of time I also had the bad breath. I have tried tongue scrapers and special mouth rinses but nothing works. Can you help me? My tongue is white covered every morning.

Answer:

Contrary to what is published in most medical texts, the white appearance of your tongue is not caused by yeast (Candida albicans). The white represents the normal accumulation of keratin (dead cells that are the normal product of the top of the tongue).

Normal oral bacteria, present in the mouths of everyone, break down the keratin, releasing sulfur compounds, resulting in halitosis (bad breath). Of course, other common causes of halitosis need to be considered as well, including periodontitis (gum disease), sinusitis, and tonsillar crypt bacterial colonization.

A complete evaluation by a dentist and an otolaryngologist (ears, nose, and throat doctor) may be appropriate.

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Response by:

Carl M Allen, DDS, MSD Carl M Allen, DDS, MSD
Professor Emeritus of Oral Pathology
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University