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Our tongue is one of the most important organs of the body. It is responsible for handling one of the five senses, taste. However, if we go deeper, it does more than that. The tongue works as a natural cleaning agent of the mouth and serves as an overall health indicator. Your tongue changes its color and texture whenever something is going wrong in the body; for example, in case of dehydration, your tongue goes white. Let’s discuss the relationship between tongue and dehydration.

Relationship between Dehydration and White Tongue

The human body is made of 70% water. Every cell in the body requires an adequate amount to function appropriately. The tongue turns white, indicating severe dehydration; during this phase, the person may or may not have a fever.

Why Does Dehydration Change the Tongue Color to White?

The tongue is a muscular organ covered in small structures known as papillae which contains receptors that help taste food. Salivary glands produce and secrete saliva inside the mouth which keeps the oral cavity, including the tongue, moist.

Saliva is largely made up of water with additional substances to help maintain oral health, including antimicrobials like hydrogen peroxide, lysozyme, and lactoferrin, which reduces yeast and microbe load in the mouth.

When the body is dehydrated, its production decreases to a great extent. With lack of saliva, microbes like yeast and bacteria grow. One such condition of yeast overgrowth is oral thrush that forms a white patch on the tongue.

Dehydration makes papillae on the tongue swell up, on which dead cells, bacteria, fungi, and food stick forming a white layer.

Dangers of Dehydration

Dehydration poses a threat to the quality of life; it can also result in fatality. Few complications associated are:


The human body needs electrolytes, which it gets from water or other fluids to function because they carry electrical impulses from one cell to another. The imbalance due dehydration leads to a seizure attack.

UTI and Kidney Issues

One of the reasons for the minerals calcifying into a stone is the lack of water in the body. Chronic dehydration contributes to urinary tract infection and other related problems like the formation of kidney stones.

Low Blood Volume – Hypovolemic Shock

Low water level is related to low blood volume, which subsequently decreases blood pressure. Low BP makes the oxygen level go down, resulting in a fatality.

Heat Injury

Water and electrolyte balance is important for the maintenance of health during exercise. If you don’t drink enough and lose more through sweat, there is a risk of the body going into heat stroke.

Take Out

Hydration is the key to a healthy body and mind. We live in testing times, taking care of the body has become increasingly difficult. Amidst that, adequate hydration can help maintain both mental and physical wellbeing.

The human body has its own way of indicating things going wrong; observe and conquer. If you feel that hydration is not working for the thick white coat on your tongue, get in touch with Family Diagnostic Clinic for a quick checkup with physician in Tomball. Call now at 281-351-6800 to book an appointment.

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