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There is a popular belief that oral cavity health is a good reflection of the overall health of a person. Therefore, whenever one develops a disorder or disease in the oral cavity, it usually indicates a local or systemic infection. The tongue may be affected by various medical conditions and its normal appearance can change, more precisely its color and its texture. In a healthy person, the tongue is reddish pink in color and smooth and velvety in texture, while when it is affected by a medical condition, the tongue may become white and covered with many tiny red spots.

Causes and treatment for a white tongue with red spots

In most cases, the main culprit for the incidence of white tongue with red spots is a fungal infection called oral candidiasis. The fungi Candida albicans, which are found in healthy people's bodies as well, overgrow in cases of people with weak immunity, those who have recently taken antibiotics, or in those who wear ill-fitting dentures for a very long time.

People who develop oral candidiasis can usually observe that their tongue is coated with large and unevenly shaped white spots. When the white coating on the tongue is removed, raw and red bleeding can be seen on the tongue.

Other symptoms of oral candidiasis are bad breath, a burning sensation, and pain while eating, especially when eating spicy foods. If an oral fungal infection is not treated in a timely manner, a sore throat, as well as a white tongue with red spots, tend to develop. A white tongue with red spots caused by oral candidiasis is treated with antifungal medication. These medications include clotrimazole, miconazole, and nystatin. 

Another condition responsible for the occurrence of a white tongue with red spots is called geographic tongue. This strange condition is marked by large asymmetrical and easily distinguishable tongue patches, which can be noticed on the tongue’s dorsal surface, and resemble a world map.

The shedding of the filiform papillae present on the tongue’s dorsal surface is responsible for the incidence of the white tongue with red spots. Another name for this condition is benign migratory glossitis, since when the previously shed filiform papillae regrow, the filiform papillae in the surrounding area begin to shed.

Geographic tongue’s primary cause has not yet been discovered, but pain, a metallic taste, and a burning sensation in the mouth are among the most common symptoms of this tongue disorder. The treatment for geographic tongue addresses just the symptoms since the cause is not known. However, this condition cannot be permanently cured because it tends to recur.

A white tongue with red spots may also be caused by many other medical conditions, such as, for example, sexually transmitted diseases.

If you notice that your tongue has developed a persistent white tint with red spots, it is important to see a doctor — even if you aren't currently experiencing pain. Chances are that you are dealing with an infection that is easily treated, but will continue to plague you (and perhaps even infection others) if you do not seek treatment.

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