Why is my tongue peeling? This is very common and can affect anyone at any age that may be common after eating very salty foods, vinegar chips or even be experienced during pregnancy. Get more insight into the causes, remedies, and treatment which includes the geographic tongue, STDs and so on.
There are many problems that may affect the normal tongue color and texture. One of them is peeling off of the tongue. When it starts to peel, it may be a sign of a problem with your overall health or oral health. Usually, most people describe its feeling when they actually mean it has a white coating that is peeling off. We will look at both the phenomenon. Let us being with causes.
Peeling tongue causes
Why does my tongue peel off? Definitely, there are reasons why it may peel. Following is a discussion on causes.
Hot foods or liquids
One of the common cause taking foods that are very hot. Very hot or extremely hot foods can form blisters either on the mouth lining or on the tongue. Before these blisters can heal, they often break and hence one may have to peel the skin off the tongue and mouth.
These blisters usually last for a few days but can also go for many days. The same blisters can make eating and swallow to be difficult.
Can acidic or spicy foods cause it?
The second reason as to why your tongue will peel off is the consumption of foods that are very acidic or spicy. These foods comprise fruits and foods such as tomato sauce and carbonated soft drinks, chili and salsa. If you continue to use these foods frequently the extent of peeling may increase.
Geographic tongue or geographic stomatitis is yet another probable cause. This is a condition that is characterized by smooth, red or irregular patches on top or side of the tongue.
The main cause of the problem is not yet well established but may be linked to family heredity or history. People who have fissured tongues have a higher risk of this condition.
Besides the symptoms i.e. smooth, red or irregular patches, geographic stomatitis is also characteristic of formation of lesions. These lesions may form on any side e.g. the sides, on top or even at the back and give it the map-like appearance.
Furthermore, individuals with geographic stomatitis and they like taking hot or spicy foods and drinks are likely to suffer more from the consequences such as peeling. This is because these kinds of foods increase the tongue’s sensitivity.
A confirmation to this is when tongue papillae are missing. The normal white coating surface of the tongue is seen without the papillae.
Due to STDs
STDs are types of diseases that can be transmitted from one individual to the other through sex. Again it is very important to note that these kinds of infections and diseases can be transmitted from one person to another through anal, vaginal and oral sex. The consequences of the STDs can be very small as just seeing a doctor or as big as leading to death or infertility.
Some medications used to treat STIs can cause peeling. Furthermore, some STDs might cause this pealing as one of their symptoms.
Use of some medication can cause tongue peeling depending on the type of medication and duration you have taken them. Thus, below are some type of medication and how they are likely to lead to the peeling problem.
Anti-inflammatory drugs – First in the list, we’ve got the Anti-inflammatory drugs. This drugs can cause the tongue to have red points and makes its body to become thinner. So when these types of drugs are taken for several years, they have a very high potential of causing tongue peeling in both adults and children.
- Antibiotics – Another type of drug is the Antibiotics. These drugs can make it to peel within two to three days and this peeling is not replaced until two to three weeks after the antibiotics are stopped.
- Diuretics – We also have got the diuretics that cause the coating of the tongue to disappear. When Diuretics are taken over years they may lead to it peeling too.
- Cancer medications – Another group of the drugs is the anticancer drugs. These types of drugs cause it to develop a thick brown to a black dry coating which may peel off after some time.
- Steroids – The other group of drugs is steroids and asthma medications. These groups of drugs cause the tongue to become red making its outer skin to peel.
- Asthma medications – Asthma medications (bronchodilators) causes the tip of the tongue to redden with some chances of it peeling off.
White peeling tongue
“White coating on the tongue is generally because of colonizing of bacteria, fungi (candida) with the entrapment of dead cells” [askthedoctor.com]. This coating may get aggravated in mouth breathers, dry mouth patients, patients with poor oral hygiene, nutritional deficiency, and gastric upset, systemic diseases like diabetes, fever etc. This whiteness could also be because of some physical/chemical injury but this is generally painful.
Generally, this coating can be easily scraped off with brushing or gentle tongue cleaning. The scrapable white coating could also be because of yeast/candida infection and it is generally associated with burning, redness and white patches.
What causes it
Did you know what causes a white tongue are? Below is a list of some causes:
- Poor oral hygiene,
- Dry mouth,
- Congenital heart disease in adults,
- Smoking or other oral tobacco use,
- Alcohol use
- Mechanical irritation from sharp tooth edges or dental appliances and many others.
Some of the conditions associated with white patches or other discolorations of your tongue include the use of certain medications, such as prolonged use of antibiotics, oral thrush, geographic stomatitis, leukoplakia, oral lichen planus, mouth cancer, tongue cancer and STDs such as HIV and syphilis.
The above causes can affect anyone including young children and adults. A white tongue problem may come with various symptoms such as bad breath, sores, patches or thick white coating on it among others.
Peeling and pregnancy
You are pregnant and your tongue is peeling. What could be the problem? Find out below how this problem is possible while pregnant.
During pregnancy, some women sometimes develop a blue tongue which after some time may intensify and starts to peel off. Such a condition may be due to nutritional deficiency. In such a case, the victims should get a quick and direct examination by a dentist. Again the problem of the blue tongue may be due to bloating and loss of sleep likely due to anxiety and dietary habits.
Furthermore, the peeling problem during pregnancy may sometimes be due to an imbalance in thyroid hormone levels. If the imbalance of thyroid hormone is the case then seeking the service of Endocrinologist will be of great help to a victim.
It is also important to note that some general causes of peeling that have been discussed above also can as well lead to tongue peeling during pregnancy.
Dealing with a tongue that peels
I know you might now be wondering what you should do to deal with the tongue peeling problems. Okay, is not a big deal, we have what you should do immediately you notice the symptoms.
When you suspect some of the tongue peeling symptoms, please just seek the attention of your doctor to offer you a proper medication before the symptoms develop to their severity levels. Some of the prescription that your doctor or dentist may recommend to you include:
- Zinc supplements
- Mouth rinses with anesthetic
- Corticosteroids applied directly on the tongue
- Over-the-counter pain relievers
For one to reduce and hasten the relief of the peeling symptoms, then one should avoid or limit the use of the following substances:
- The use of tobacco and related drugs that may lead toits peeling,
- The consumption of hot, spicy, or acidic foods or dried, salty nuts and
- The use of toothpaste with additives, whitening agents, or heavy flavoring.
Apart from visiting specialist for medications, there some home remedies here that can be employed to address the peeling problems. So please take your time to see the home remedies for general tongue problems.
Salt can be the best remedy in the case of a white-coated tongue. Its coarse nature will work as a natural scraper to remove debris and dead cells from its surface. Another good thing about salt is the fact that its antiseptic property that will help kill bacteria that may cause bad breath.
The following are the steps taken when using salts especially for white coatings:
- First, you will have to sprinkle some salt on your white-coated tongue and scrub gently with a toothbrush for some minutes. You will then rinse thoroughly with warm water. This process needs to be repeated thrice a day for good results to be achieved.
- Another step that can be helpful is to mix one teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water. You will then gargle this saltwater thoroughly and then spit it out. The process should be repeated several times a day until symptoms improve.
The use probiotics are another good remedy for a white-coated tongue especially caused by the growth of candida fungus. The ingredients of probiotics like acidophilus and B. lactic cultures will really help in the control of the bacteria and fungi growth in your mouth.
How are probiotics applied?
The powder of one capsule of probiotics is mixed with little water, then after one has brushed his/her teeth he/she should then use the probiotic solution as the mouthwash. This should be done at least once a day for one week. Alternatively, one can include yogurt with live cultures in their diet.
Application of Vegetable glycerin
Another very important home remedy is the use of the vegetable Glycerin. This is especially applied in cases where the peeling is due white-coated tongue. Its application is more effective when the problem is due to dry mouth.
To use this remedy, you need to put little vegetable glycerin in your mouth and lightly brush with a toothbrush. Upon completion, rinse your mouth with warm water. The process should be repeated severally until your tongue attains its original color that is its natural pink color.
Other home remedies
Other home remedies that can help address this problem is the use of the following:
- Oil pulling
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- Aloe Vera Juice
What tongue reveals your health
Have you taken your time to stick out your tongue and check out its status? Now were are going to look at how its state can reveal the picture of your health. We are going to examine the color, texture, and coating of your tongue in relationship to your general health.
Did you know the normal color of your tongue when are healthy? Now if you were not aware read below to get conversant with the color changes and what they may reveal about your health status.
Pale – if the color of your tongue or the mucous membranes happen to appear pale in color, this could be an indication that your blood is lacking hemoglobin. In this case, one may suffer tiredness. Make sure that their diet contains food rich in iron mineral.
Bright red – when it is this color then that is a clear indication that you lack iron and vitamin B. Again in this case one should properly select their diet to make sure that his/her diet is rich in this nutrients.
Purple – the purple color of your tongue could indicate that you are suffering from high cholesterol levels. This problem if not taken care of as immediately as possible then it can result in serious heart problem. The purple color could also indicate that one may be suffering from the problem of chronic bronchitis which results in problems of breathing in oxygen.
Dry tongue – when your salivary glands swell, they can result in tongue dryness due to lack of enough lubrication i.e. saliva. This condition is often caused by stress. So the remedy for this is to find enough time to relax. Again one should visit his/her doctor to receive medication that will stimulate the production of saliva.
Raised red spots – when your tongue tip become red and also accompanied with bleeding then this could be an indication of lack of vitamin C that contains a compound that helps in the strengthening of the tiny blood capillaries in the skin of the tongue.
White coating – Whenever your tongue has a light or a thin white coating, then this condition should just be taken normal but when it advances to a heavy white plague then this can indicate candidiasis or oral thrush. This could be due to using a specific medication for a long time. This problem could be addressed be an adoption of home remedies for tongue problems, for instance, one may use vegetation glycerin to hasten the relief.
As seen, your tongue may offer very important information about the health status of an individual. So good precautionary measures should be taken at early stages of the symptoms of various problem to prevent worsening.
It is also important to note that after employing home remedies to try to treat certain tongue problem and it persists, then please immediately seek the service of the trusted specialist or proven medication offered by health institutions.