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There are many causes of a white tongue and sore throat, and they can include conditions ranging from nicotine addiction to leukoplakia, which causes an overgrowth of oral cells. Most often, however, these symptoms are caused by a problem with fungus, bacteria, or a virus. Depending on the cause, a person might be able to treat them using at-home remedies, or he may need to see a medical professional.
Due to the numerous reasons a person can develop one, an oral yeast infection might be the most common cause of a white tongue and sore throat. An oral yeast infection, also known as thrush or candidiasis, is caused by an overgrowth of the yeast fungus Candida. Thrush is most prevalent among babies and the elderly, but diabetics and people with compromised immune systems are also susceptible to it. Generally healthy people who wear dentures, take birth control pills, or eat sugary foods or drink alcohol can also develop oral yeast infections. Often, people can cure oral yeast infections at home by eating yogurt with live active cultures to restore oral balance, but sometimes a prescription medication is necessary.
Examples of bacterial causes of a white tongue and sore throat include a sinus infection and strep throat, both of which usually are accompanied by other symptoms. A person with a sinus infection also might experience nasal congestion and discharge, post-nasal drip, and pain or pressure around the nose, eyes, and head. Sometimes, sinus infections also bring a fever. Generally, strep throat also brings a fever, a swollen tongue and lymph nodes, and redness or red patches on the tonsils and roof of the mouth. While there are various at-home remedies for sinus infections and strep throat, both usually require medical attention.
Both the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) can cause a white tongue and sore throat. Since yeast infections are common among people with HIV or AIDS, the surface cause is often fungal. Yet, the underlying root cause is the presence of the virus. Neither HIV nor AIDS can be cured, though the development of HIV can sometimes be prevented if caught within 72 hours of exposure. Still, the symptoms that accompany an oral yeast infection usually can be treated in much the same way as any other episode of thrush.