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What does white coating on tongue indicate?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2005
Answered : 2559 Questions
Dear doctor i feel curious about this in my mouth, i mever checked long time ago and when i did today iv seen this, i feel curious want to know what is this ? Is it from smoking ?
Posted Sun, 26 Jan 2014 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Answered by Dr. Prasad 1 hour later
Brief Answer: Probably yes... Detailed Answer: Hi, You seem to have a white "coating" on your tongue. It may be the effects of smoking. If you snore while sleep, that may also be a factor. It is a harmless condition as long as this is not oral thrush, leukoplakia or lichen planus. I am not concerned as the gross appearance doesn't seem to be related to any of the later conditions. However it is worthwhile to get it checked by a dermatologist whenever feasible. Hope this helps. Let me know if you need clarifications. Regards
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Follow-up: What does white coating on tongue indicate? 51 minutes later
Could you please clarify more to me, what do you mean by oral thrush, leukoplakia or lichen planus ? And for how long shell i wait to know its harmfull ?
Answered by Dr. Prasad 24 minutes later
Brief Answer: Coated tongue is my first possibility... Detailed Answer: Let me clarify... White coating of tongue is normally seen in most individuals. This coating occurs as the dead layer of cells gets trapped within the tongue. As smoke and mouth breathing (snoring) makes your tongue dry leading up to tongue coating, people who smoke, snore and remain less hydrated are more predisposed to white coating. . From what I see on the pictures, you seem to have a coated tongue. You should be able easily scrape it out using a tongue cleaner. I would have referred you to dermatologist if you are unable to scrape the layer out or if you notice redness and burning sensation. He/she will closely examine this coating under broad light and if needed under a microscope and exclude leukoplakia and oral thrush. Hope this helps. Write back if you need more clarifications. Regards PS: Oral thrush is a condition caused by fungus. While leukoplakia is a effect of chronic irritation.
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