2

votes

Thrush on my tongue

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created December 17, 2012 at 5:32 PM

Sorry, I have a medical question but I really want to know.

I am on all-meat diet and I have noticed something very peculiar. Every time I do not eat for a long time (today I ran out of meat and could not eat till 4:30 PM because I had to go to the store to get it), my tongue gets covered in white thrush.

Every time I eat meat, the thrush goes away and my tongue is clean and pink. What in the world is going on?

Does it mean I have candida?

Anybody had that problem on all-meat diet?

Before you tell me eat some carbs - before I went on all-meat diet, my tongue looked all white and almost yellow, covered with very thick thrush. It is better now (when I eat meat).

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 18, 2012
at 03:31 PM

I've read that friction from food rubs these filaments away but I'm skeptical because I've found them to be incredibly strong. I can't rub them off even with a dry toothbrush. Also, if you read the Medscape article I linked above, you'll see that doctors sometimes resort to cutting this stuff off with scissors. Since it's coming and going for you every day, maybe you can notice whether it disappears during a meal or several hours later. If it happens later, it's not friction but something physiological.

Dc0b6400ec0a34615510f4e01cedab28

(385)

on December 18, 2012
at 03:06 PM

Wow! I had no idea that could happen! I've been battling thrush with my one month old baby and I've cut out all starches and gone super low carb to kill off the yeast. Then I was noticing my tongue turning white sometimes (usually in the morning) and this makes since that I'd be in ketosis. Do you think maybe it goes away when you eat just from the friction of food against your tongue?

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 18, 2012
at 11:01 AM

Thanks! I added a close-up picture of the tongue's surface. Spooky!

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 18, 2012
at 11:00 AM

Thanks! I added another picture. The surface of the tongue looks pretty spooky!

52cbac074c1a2018d817e62d62cd7e5e

(158)

on December 18, 2012
at 10:21 AM

Awesome answer!

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 18, 2012
at 10:00 AM

lol. Is this the same as what you've got?

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on December 18, 2012
at 09:16 AM

Thanks for the picture! Wow, your tongue looks like Santa Claus with a mohawk!

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 18, 2012
at 05:22 AM

You're right that white hairy tongue often occurs in ketosis, but as I explain in my answer, it's not caused by infection.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 18, 2012
at 05:02 AM

You're right that white hairy tongue often occurs in ketosis, but as I explain in my answer, it's not caused by infection. It's a harmless, benign condition. There's no need to do anything about it unless you dislike the way it looks, in which case, like you say, you can try to scrape it off.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 18, 2012
at 05:01 AM

You're right that white hairy tongue often occurs in ketosis, but as I explain in my answer, it's not caused by infection. It's a harmless, benign condition. There's no need to do anything about it unless you dislike the way it looks, in which case, like you say, you can try to scrape it off. I've found it to be almost impossible to scrape off -- the strings of dead cells cling tenaciously and are surprisingly tough -- but everybody's body is different.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 18, 2012
at 05:01 AM

You're right that white hairy tongue often occurs in ketosis, but as I explain in my answer, it's not caused by infection. It's a harmless, benign condition. There's no need to do anything about it unless you dislike the way it looks, in which case, like you say, you can try to scrape it off. I've found it to be almost impossible to scrape off, but everybody's body is different.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 18, 2012
at 04:59 AM

You're right that white hairy tongue often occurs in ketosis, but as I explain in my answer, it's not caused by infection. It's a harmless, benign condition. There's no need to do anything about it unless you dislike the way it looks and want to try scraping it off. I've found that the dead cells cling stubbornly and can't be scraped off, but it may be different for other people.

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2 Answers

2
82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 18, 2012
at 04:57 AM

It may be white hairy tongue. The fancy Latin name is lingua villosa alba. This is a benign condition. It's not an infection. It happens because tiny projections on the surface of the tongue grow longer than normal. Usually they stay short because cells at their tips fall off or get rubbed off, but sometimes, for various reasons, the cells stay in place and the projections grow long enough to look like a mat of hairs.

Although hairy tongue by itself isn't an infection, it's sometimes accompanied by infection.

Here's a close-up picture of the tongue's surface from Gray's Anatomy (public domain). The things with many arms sticking up and drooping down are called filiform papillae which means "thread-like protuberances" in English. Imagine those arms ten or fifteen times longer than we see in the picture. That's hairy tongue.

thrush-on-my-tongue

Hairy tongue happens for a variety of reasons. It often occurs when people are in ketosis, maybe because acetone in the saliva "pickles" the cells and stops them from falling off. Acetone is what makes the breath smell funny when we're ketotic.

Below is a picture of my tongue during a 21-day fast. That's white hairy tongue caused by ketosis. It's not an infection. It's just longer-than-normal projections on my tongue.

Hairy tongue can be defined as hypertrophy (overgrowth) of the filiform papillae. The technical term for the failure of the cells to fall off is "defective desquamation."

Sometimes the elongated papillae get stained black and then the condition is called black hairy tongue. Other colors are also possible. It looks scary but no matter what the color is, the condition by itself is benign and harmless. I say "by itself" because it's sometimes accompanied by infection.

thrush-on-my-tongue

Further reading:

Hairy Tongue on Medscape

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 18, 2012
at 10:00 AM

lol. Is this the same as what you've got?

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on December 18, 2012
at 09:16 AM

Thanks for the picture! Wow, your tongue looks like Santa Claus with a mohawk!

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 18, 2012
at 11:01 AM

Thanks! I added a close-up picture of the tongue's surface. Spooky!

52cbac074c1a2018d817e62d62cd7e5e

(158)

on December 18, 2012
at 10:21 AM

Awesome answer!

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 18, 2012
at 03:31 PM

I've read that friction from food rubs these filaments away but I'm skeptical because I've found them to be incredibly strong. I can't rub them off even with a dry toothbrush. Also, if you read the Medscape article I linked above, you'll see that doctors sometimes resort to cutting this stuff off with scissors. Since it's coming and going for you every day, maybe you can notice whether it disappears during a meal or several hours later. If it happens later, it's not friction but something physiological.

Dc0b6400ec0a34615510f4e01cedab28

(385)

on December 18, 2012
at 03:06 PM

Wow! I had no idea that could happen! I've been battling thrush with my one month old baby and I've cut out all starches and gone super low carb to kill off the yeast. Then I was noticing my tongue turning white sometimes (usually in the morning) and this makes since that I'd be in ketosis. Do you think maybe it goes away when you eat just from the friction of food against your tongue?

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 18, 2012
at 11:00 AM

Thanks! I added another picture. The surface of the tongue looks pretty spooky!

2
52cbac074c1a2018d817e62d62cd7e5e

(158)

on December 17, 2012
at 05:53 PM

Your likely in ketosis. This is quite common - have a quick google search.

From what I believe the white is from bacteria that thrive in this situation.

Drink plenty of water, scrape your tongue, see how you go for a week or so - seems to be the general advice

You may also find your breath is pretty average whilst your body adjusts to running on fat

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 18, 2012
at 04:59 AM

You're right that white hairy tongue often occurs in ketosis, but as I explain in my answer, it's not caused by infection. It's a harmless, benign condition. There's no need to do anything about it unless you dislike the way it looks and want to try scraping it off. I've found that the dead cells cling stubbornly and can't be scraped off, but it may be different for other people.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 18, 2012
at 05:01 AM

You're right that white hairy tongue often occurs in ketosis, but as I explain in my answer, it's not caused by infection. It's a harmless, benign condition. There's no need to do anything about it unless you dislike the way it looks, in which case, like you say, you can try to scrape it off. I've found it to be almost impossible to scrape off, but everybody's body is different.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 18, 2012
at 05:22 AM

You're right that white hairy tongue often occurs in ketosis, but as I explain in my answer, it's not caused by infection.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 18, 2012
at 05:02 AM

You're right that white hairy tongue often occurs in ketosis, but as I explain in my answer, it's not caused by infection. It's a harmless, benign condition. There's no need to do anything about it unless you dislike the way it looks, in which case, like you say, you can try to scrape it off.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on December 18, 2012
at 05:01 AM

You're right that white hairy tongue often occurs in ketosis, but as I explain in my answer, it's not caused by infection. It's a harmless, benign condition. There's no need to do anything about it unless you dislike the way it looks, in which case, like you say, you can try to scrape it off. I've found it to be almost impossible to scrape off -- the strings of dead cells cling tenaciously and are surprisingly tough -- but everybody's body is different.

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