Age is a common cause of white tongue. As we age, the cells and tissues of our mouths grow slower than the accumulation of germs and bacteria. The result is a layer of dead, discolored tissue that can accumulate on our tongues. As the cells on the surface of our tongues die off and are replaced by new cells, they gradually come off to reveal the white, sticky layer underneath. This process can be painful if it happens quickly, but it’s also possible to have white tongue without experiencing pain.
The accumulation of dead tissue and mucus on our tongues can create an environment where germas causing bad breath can thrive. White tongue itself isn’t usually a cause for halitosis. However, it can make halitosis worse by creating an environment that encourages the growth of more bad breath germs.