Medical Questions > Conditions and Diseases > Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders Forum

elongated, painless white patch on my tongue

Must Read
Do you know the three main reasons we cough? Learn common causes of cough and when coughing might indicate a more serious health problem....
Coughing is normal. But what can cause more troublesome coughs? Learn more about possible causes of cough here....
When should you see a doctor about cough symptoms? When are symptoms a sign of further complications? Learn about cough symptoms basics here....
Background: I'm a 22 year old non smoker. Alcohol consumption is at most twice a week. Generally healthy.

There is an elongated, painless white patch on the right side of my tongue. It does scrape off with a little bit of effort. What I scrape off pretty much just looks like dead skin that would come off any part of the body. There is no visible irritation when I scrape it off. I went to the dentist who offered no advice other than "I can refer you to a surgeon to look at it to make sure it's nothing serious." His assistant said she thinks it is just stress induced since I work 2 jobs and don't get a lot of sleep. The white patch has been on and off for about 3 weeks. I'm worried it could be caused by something underlying like cancer. Could stress actually cause this? I have no other abnormalities in my mouth. Some things I've considered may be the cause: stress (like the DA said), mouth dryness (I'm a mouth breather, esp when sleeping, and usually wake up with my mouth feeling dry), or irritation from certain foods (I can't link it to any food or drink in particular but I do drink an unnecessary amount of coffee).I've also considered thrush, but I've read thrush manifests itself as many white and red spots and when you scrape them off they become irritated and possibly bleed. One of my jobs is an internship that will end in 2 weeks when the Fall semester of classes begins so maybe I will be under less stress at that time and should wait to see if it goes away by then, but I don't want to wait if it could be serious. I don't feel stressed out, but maybe my body is telling me I am anyway. My face has been breaking out too which is very unusual for me. Do I have cause for concern? Does this match symptoms of oral cancer? I've done some research on it and it doesn't appear that I have any of the symptoms associated with oral cancer except the mouth sore. I'm a bit of a hypochondriac, so I'm probably freaking out for no reason but I literally spend hours of my free time looking at the thing trying to identify what it could be.
Did you find this post helpful?