White tongue dehydration: Construction worker showing his tongue to his co-worker

You feel parched, have a pounding headache, and when you open your mouth, others notice you have a white tongue. Dehydration may be the culprit. When you don’t drink enough water and electrolytes, your body responds by trying to store moisture. As a result, it stops producing as much saliva, allowing bacteria to grow and increasing the likelihood of a dry mouth and white tongue.

While white tongue is a symptom of dehydration, it can also be a sign of other underlying health issues. Here, you’ll learn more about white tongue dehydration and other ailments that can cause the condition. Plus, you’ll find tips on how you can avoid white tongue and manage dehydration. You’ll discover oral rehydration solutions like DripDrop ORS — a fast, proven alternative to mild and moderate dehydration, which can cause white tongue.

Possible Causes of White Tongue

White tongue dehydration: Close up of a man showing his tongue


White tongue
is a condition where your tastebuds and the surface of your tongue become covered in a white coating. It is often caused by dehydration because bacteria can build up on the surface of the tongue. Dehydration also results in decreased saliva production, meaning white tongue is often accompanied by dry mouth and extreme thirst.

Infections, illnesses, irritants, and injuries in the mouth can also lead to a white tongue. People with suppressed immune systems — such as those with cancer and immune system disorders — also tend to have a higher risk of white tongue. In rare cases, a white tongue may be a sign of certain cancers or serious disorders that require quick medical attention.

So why does your tongue turn white? When there’s a problem with your oral health or hydration, the small papillae on your tongue swell and become inflamed. This traps bacteria, food, dead cells, and other pathogens between the swollen papillae. This creates that white layer that’s visible on your tongue. 

Here are the most common causes of white tongue:

  • Dehydration
  • Use of tobacco products
  • Yeast infections such as Candida and oral thrush
  • Bacterial and fungal infections
  • Syphilis
  • Geographic tongue: an inflammatory condition that causes loss of the papillae, or bumps, in your mouth that house your taste buds
  • Glossitis: a condition involving a swollen tongue or inflamed papillae
  • Leukoplakia: a medical condition characterized by thick, white patches in the mouth signaling some mouth cancers, constant irritation, or injury
  • Oral lichen planus: a disease affecting mucous linings that causes white patches, open sores, and swelling
  • Hormonal changes
  • Medication side effects
  • Bacterial overgrowth on poorly cleaned oral devices such as dentures and retainers

White tongue may also be accompanied by other symptoms such as canker sores, bad breath, and lesions. Your entire tongue may be white, or there may only be white spots in a few locations on your tongue.

White tongue can be a symptom of dehydration. The easiest way to tackle dehydration that causes white tongue is to replenish lost fluids and electrolytes quickly by using an oral rehydration solution like DripDrop ORS

At the first signs of dehydration — such as dry mouth, extreme thirst, and a coated tongue — start taking small sips of DripDrop ORS. It’s a proven alternative for managing mild to moderate dehydration. DripDrop ORS is powerful enough to use in extreme circumstances but safe enough for everyday use.

Often, a white tongue can be a sign of an underlying health condition or the result of poor oral hygiene and health. If your white tongue is also accompanied by lesions or other symptoms, seek medical advice from a dentistry expert. Your healthcare provider can examine you and determine if your white tongue is the result of a serious condition. They can also provide treatment options such as tongue scraping and schedule checkup visits if it’s an ongoing problem.

To minimize your risk of developing a white tongue, limit tobacco use and alcohol use. Practice proper oral hygiene and brush your teeth using a good toothbrush and toothpaste two to three times per day. You can also use mouthwash and a tongue scraper to help remove dead cells and bacteria that can cause infection.

White Tongue: Dehydration Connection

White tongue dehydration: Man drinking water while in the middle of the dessert


If you have a
white tongue, dehydration may be the root of the problem. Dehydration occurs when you don’t drink enough water and electrolytes. It’s also the result of illnesses — especially those that cause vomiting and diarrhea — and excessive sweating. 

When you’re dehydrated, several things happen in your mouth. First, saliva production decreases as your body starts to conserve fluids. Your tongue and mouth tend to start to feel dry, and you may also experience some oral swelling. In addition, you may begin to feel parched and feel like you have a scratchy throat or difficulty swallowing. 

Without enough moisture in your mouth, bacteria and fungus can grow, causing a white tongue. These pathogens can cause their own side effects, including sores and general discomfort. Often, white tongue dehydration symptoms are accompanied by other signs of the condition.

Here are some other symptoms of dehydration to watch out for:

Depending on the cause of your white tongue, the condition may last a few hours or several weeks. White tongue can last longer in cases of infections and poor oral hygiene. If related to dehydration, white tongue symptoms will typically go away once proper hydration levels are restored. 

White tongue can occur with mild to severe cases of dehydration and is particularly common in young children. Keep an eye out for other dehydration symptoms such as constipation, difficulty concentrating, and extreme thirst to identify if your white tongue is the result of dehydration.

If you have a white tongue and recognize other signs of dehydration such as dry mouth and decreased urination, it’s important to act fast. Reach for an oral rehydration solution like DripDrop ORS that is medically formulated with a precise balance of electrolytes and fluids to tackle dehydration.

Fight Dehydration-Related White Tongue With ORS

Middle aged man drinking DripDrop ORS


Medical-grade DripDrop ORS allows you to alleviate mild to moderate dehydration — which can cause
white tongue — outside of a hospital setting, without the need for costly and painful IV therapy. Our patented formula is powerful enough to help patients suffering from dehydration caused by Ebola and cholera but safe enough for everyday use. Plus, DripDrop ORS tastes amazing and comes in a variety of flavors you can enjoy hot or cold. Try a refreshing flavor like Berry and Orange or warm up with hot flavors like Hibiscus and Decaf Green Tea.

When you're in a state of dehydration, water alone is not enough. Your body needs the perfect balance of sodium and glucose to help absorption. With the precisely balanced ratio, you can replenish vital electrolytes and fluids to relieve dehydration quickly. Plus, DripDrop ORS supplies vitamins like zinc, potassium, and magnesium, which are essential to support your overall health.

Get Fast Dehydration Relief With DripDrop ORS

Hand pouring DripDrop ORS to a tumbler with water


If you suffer from a
white tongue, dehydration may be the culprit. In addition to using an oral rehydration solution like DripDrop ORS to tackle dehydration, practice good hygiene to protect oral health. Brush your teeth regularly to prevent tooth discoloration and oral growth that can lead to a white, coated tongue.

DripDrop ORS was developed by a doctor on a mission to defeat life-threatening dehydration. The patented formula provides medically relevant electrolyte levels, improving on the World Health Organization’s Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) standards because of its delicious taste. As a result, DripDrop ORS is a medically viable ORS that also tastes great. By comparison, sports drinks contain about one-third the electrolytes of DripDrop ORS and twice as much sugar.

For cases of mild to moderate dehydration, DripDrop ORS is a fast, effective, and great tasting remedy. The convenient packaging allows you to have DripDrop ORS when you need it, where you need it.

Get started with a trial or our most popular multi-flavor pouch for dehydration relief fast. Or, if you're ready to make a purchase, and you're a first-time buyer, enjoy 15% off your order with code: FIRST15.