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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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What causes white coating on the tongue?

Answered by
Dr. Riddhi Shah

ENT Specialist

Practicing since :2008

Answered : 517 Questions

Posted on Thu, 2 Mar 2017 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Question: Hi there, I am concerned about my tounge as it has changed colour
I am concerned about my tounge as it has changed colour
Answered by Dr. Riddhi Shah 44 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Probably it is a white coated tongue.

Detailed Answer:
Hi,thank you for posting your query on health care magic.

Looking at the images of your tongue,it is probably a white coated tongue.

A healthy tongue is pink in color and covered with small nodules called papillae. But at times, your tongue may have a white coating. This is a common problem and can lead to symptoms like bad breath or a bitter taste in the mouth.

White tongue is the result of an overgrowth and swelling of the fingerlike projections (papillae) on the surface of your tongue. The appearance of a white coating is caused by debris, bacteria and dead cells getting lodged between the enlarged and sometimes inflamed papillae.

It can happen due to dehydration, dry mouth, excessive alcohol use, fever, smoking, Improper oral hygiene, eating highly acidic or sugary foods, Mouth breathing,Low roughage diet — eating mostly soft or mashed foods and Mechanical irritation from sharp tooth edges or dental appliances.

White tongue is generally harmless and temporary and may be helped by following measures:

Drink enough water to keep the tongue clean and prevent food deposits on the tongue’s surface.
Regularly gargle with warm water, especially after meals to prevent the accumulation of food particles on your tongue.
Eat crunchy fruits and vegetables like apples, strawberries, guavas, carrots and others to naturally clean a white-coated tongue.
Always brush your tongue when you brush your teeth to maintain oral health.
You can also use a tongue scraper to easily remove a white coating from your tongue
Stop smoking and using tobacco products that can discolor the tongue and leave a coating.Reduce alcohol consumption.
Avoid dairy products and sugary foods that create mucus and also coat the tongue.
Use of Probiotics which help to control the growth of bacteria and fungi in the mouth.
Sprinkle some salt on your white tongue and scrub gently with a toothbrush for a minute. Then rinse thoroughly with warm water.
You can also do hydrogen peroxide(3 percentage) gargles by preparing a mixture of 1 part hydrogen peroxide to 2 parts water but take care to not to swallow hydrogen peroxide.

If you have a white-coated tongue accompanied by pain and inflammation, then it would be advisable to consult an Oral Physician or Otolaryngologist(ENT) Doctor

Wishing you good health.I would be happy to answer if you have any follow-up questions.Take care.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Remy Koshy

The User accepted the expert's answer

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