White Coating On Tongue

White Coating On Tongue: Causes, Picture, Symptoms, Treatment

White coating on tongue is not a serious problem. But, when you observe it on the mirror the reflection staring back can frighten you. The harmless condition can cause embarrassment as it reflects your oral hygiene. The white-colored coating on your tongue can cover your whole tongue or appear as small spots. In the majority of the cases, the white coating triggers no serious complications. But, in some cases, it is the indication of something serious.

You can see the white coating on the tongue due to infection or dangerous problems like cancer. So, you need to monitor the changes occurring in your body closely. If you see other symptoms along with the white patches on your tongue, then seek medical help. It is always advised to seek your doctor’s assistance if the white coating does not disappear after two weeks. Keep reading to know the reasons leading to the problem. It gives you an idea about the seriousness of the issue and when you need to seek treatment.

What Is White Coating On Tongue?

As the name suggests, it refers to the grayish-white coating that appears on your tongue. It may appear on the specific area of your tongue or cover the whole area. So, the coating can appear as patches or completely cover your tongue. Different underlying causes can trigger the problem. Each cause has a different treatment option. Therefore, you need to know the exact reason triggering the problem. At times, simple home remedies can cure the issue. But, serious problems can also trigger the issue. So, such cases require immediate medical attention. Read ahead to know the different reasons triggering the problem and how you can get rid of it.

Causes Of White Coating On Tongue

white coating on tongue Your oral hygiene plays an important part in the issue. When you do not give attention to your oral hygiene, you are susceptible to several problems in the mouth, gums, tongues, teeth, etc. One of the common problems is the white coating on the tongue. Your tongue turns white in color when the papillae get inflamed. The papillae are nothing but the tiny bumps on your tongue. When it swells, it can become inflamed. Once in becomes enlarges, the external particles can get trapped between the inflamed papillae. The collected debris like dead cells, food particles, dirt, fungi, and the virus can make the tongue white. The conditions triggering the inflammation of papillae are:

  • Poor brushing
  • Dry mouth
  • Lack of Flossing
  • Dehydration
  • Breathing through the mouth
  • Consumption of excess amount of soft foods
  • Irritation in the mouth (caused due to dental instruments or sharp edges on your teeth)
  • Excess consumption of alcohol
  • Fever
  • Smoking
  • Chewing tobacco or other nicotine products

Health Conditions Linked To White Coating On Tongue

The white coating on tongue may appear due to some health problem. So, the underlying issue contributing to the problem are:



It is the condition that results in the formation of white patches in your mouth. The commonplaces of occurrence are your cheeks, on the tongue, and along the gums. It is the condition common among people who use excess tobacco products. Therefore, smoking or chewing tobacco can result in the white coating on the tongue. People consuming excess alcohol can also experience the problem. The condition is mostly harmless. But, in rare cases, leukoplakia can escalate into serious conditions like oral cancer.

Oral Lichen Planus

It is the health problem that occurs due to the problems in the immune system. So, it results in the white patches on the mouth as well as tongue. Sore gums are another common symptom developing alongside the white patches. You can also develop sore along the lining inside the mouth. So, the condition can trigger distress.

Oral Thrush

Candida Yeast can cause infection in your mouth. It can result in a white coating on the tongue. The condition is common among people who have diabetes. Your immune system can also play an important role in the problem. When you have a weak immune system due to problems like AIDS, HIV or vitamin deficiency, the Candida yeast can affect your tongue. Iron and Vitamin B deficiency can trigger the issue. In some cases, the use of dentures can also cause white patches.



It is the disease coming under the category of STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease). The STD can trigger an infection in your body leading to the development of mouth sores. If you ignore the problem, the sores can develop into white patches. So, it results in the condition known as syphilitic leukoplakia. You may see a white coating on the surface of your tongue due to the problem.

Other Conditions

Some other health problems or medications can trigger the problem. It can result in the white tongue. So, the problems that can develop into white patches on the tongue are:

Geographic Tongue

Geographic Tongue

As the name suggests, your tongue may resemble a geographic location. Geographic tongue triggered due to the papillae patches missing on the tongue. So, your tongue looks like a map with islands like patches.


The use of certain antibiotics can result in the development of white patches on the tongue. The antibiotics you take can result in yeast infection on the mouth. So, it results in the white coating on the tongue.


It is the most serious issue that requires immediate medical attention. Cancer in the mouth or tongue can result in white patches. Therefore, if you see other symptoms along with the white patches, see your doctor. Cancer needs immediate treatment to get relief. Failure to seek treatment can result in a fatal complication.

Diagnosis Of White Coating On Tongue

The general cases of white tongue need no medical intervention. So, you never have to see a doctor. But, if you observe other symptoms along with it, then you need to seek an appointment with your doctor. Even if you do not see other signs, you need to seek medical help for the white coating on the tongue that lasts for more than two weeks. In some cases, you may experience serious symptoms. Then, contact your doctor immediately as it indicates a severe health problem. So, you need to call your doctor when you see symptoms like:

  • You have a burning sensation on the tongue
  • The tongue is painful
  • Open sores along the lining of the mouth
  • Trouble eating (pain while chewing or swallowing)
  • Difficult while talking
  • Fever
  • Skin Rash
  • Unexplained weight loss

In such cases, seek your doctor’s help immediately. The signs may indicate the presence of infection of serious problems. When you consult a doctor, they can adopt the following diagnostic methods to make a confirmed diagnosis.

Oral Exam

You need to go to a general physician or dentist with the problem. Your doctor first examines your problem with the oral exam. The oral examination is to check for the white coating on the tongues. Based on the examination, your doctor decides the exact reason for the problem. As mentioned earlier, the white coating may occur due to different problems. So, your doctor comes to a specific conclusion. The doctor may suggest several other tests to confirm the exact cause of the patched on the tongue. Depending on the underlying cause, your doctor develops a treatment plan. Therefore, it prevents the problem from affecting you again.


If your doctor feels suspicious about the patches, then he/she will perform a biopsy. For performing a biopsy, a sample tissue of one or more of the white spots gets extracted. It is sent to the lab. A pathologist evaluates it to detect precancerous or cancerous cells. If the tests come positive, then you need to seek cancer treatments to avoid further complications.

Treatment Options For White Coating On Tongue

Most white patches on your tongue require no medical treatment. The signs may clear up on its own after some duration of time. You can remove the white coating on your tongue at home with ease. Gently scrape the coating with a soft brush or use tongue scrapper. The white coating may disappear once the inflammation of papillae subsides. So, you can drink water to flush the debris like bacteria out of the mouth. It will help with the healing of the papillae. But, if you feel you need medical attention, the treatment methods vary with the cause. Therefore, depending on the underlying issues, you may require specific treatment. Let’s look in detail about the different options:


You need to understand that the condition requires no treatment. But, you need to visit your dentist for regular checkups. It will help you know if the condition has progressed further or not. You can overcome the problem by adopting good lifestyle habits. So, stop chewing tobacco and quit smoking. It will clear the white coating on the tongue. Reducing alcohol consumption can show visible results.

Oral Lichen Planus

The condition may not need specific medical treatment. You can manage the condition easily at home. But, at times, the condition can become severe. In such cases, you need to see a doctor. The doctor may prescribe mouth steroid. You can use it on your as spray or mouth rinse made from dissolving the steroid pills in water. Therefore, it can alleviate the white patches with ease.

Oral Thrush

The condition requires treatment with antifungal medication. So, see your doctor get the prescription for the medication. The medication comes in different forms like pill, gel, a lozenge or liquid. So, you can apply it on your tongue to get rid of the white coating with ease.


STD requires medical attention. So, see your doctor immediately when you suspect the problem. Your doctor can prescribe an antibiotic like penicillin to cure the problem. If you suffer from the issue for more than a year, then you may require more than one dose of the medication to eliminate the problem.

Home Remedies To Overcome White Coating On Tongue

The white patches on your tongue can make you self-conscious. It will restrict your social interaction as you may feel embarrassed. So, you need to take steps to eliminate the issue. You can try some remedies at your home to alleviate the white patches. Therefore, simple and safe methods can help you get rid of the white tongue.

Use Probiotics

Use Probiotics

Probiotics can have a positive influence on your oral health. It can reduce the oral problem you suffer due to the gut problem. Many studies indicate that probiotics can improve your oral health. Probiotics are nothing but strains of good bacteria. It can make a positive influence on your digestive system. The probiotic bacteria can occupy your gut and mouth. So, the presence of the bacteria in your mouth can fight off infections. It can avoid the development of bad bacteria and yeast that affect your oral health. Therefore, you can include products rich in probiotics in your daily life. Consuming probiotics can balance the environment in your mouth. It successfully avoids the white patches and other problems on your tongue.

Baking Soda Scrub

Baking Soda Scrub

Baking soda has the power to eliminate the bad bacterial presence. It is popular as the teeth whitener. You can also use it to scrub the tongue softly to remove the white coating. It also helps kill the harmful bacteria, which triggers infection. So, using baking soda can kill bacteria like Candida yeast and Streptococcus.

Raw Garlic

The food item imparts good taste, but can also enhance your health. Garlic contains a powerful component known as allicin. It has the power to fight infections in your body. So, consuming garlic can fight off infections caused due to the Candida Albicans. It is the harmful strain that triggers several issues in your mouth. Just eat a raw garlic clove every day. If you do not like the powerful taste, then chop it and mix with olive oil. Consuming it daily can prevent the white coating on the tongue.

Tongue Scraping

Scraping the debris deposited on the tongue from front to back can remove the white patches. It also removes the bacterial presence from the mouth. You can use the specific tools that help scrape the tongue. Many companies offer you tongue cleaners or tongue scrappers to keep your tongue clean. If you have no interest in buying a new product, use the edge of the spoon. It can perform just like the tools.

Preventing White Coating On Tongue

It is not possible to stop the condition from occurring. But, you can adopt some steps in your life to prevent it. The easy steps can reduce your risk of getting the white coating. So, the steps are:

Oral Hygiene

Basic oral hygiene can prevent the problem from occurring. In many cases, following good oral hygiene can overcome the problem. So, you need to adopt the following:

  • Brush twice a day using a soft bristled toothbrush
  • Use a toothpaste containing fluoride to brush your teeth
  • You need to use a mouthwash containing fluoride to prevent the bacterial presence
  • Remember to floss at least once every day
  • Use a tongue scraper every day to remove the white coating from tongue. You can also brush the tongue with a toothbrush to remove the white coating.

Lifestyle Choice

You need to make some positive lifestyle choices. It will help you enhance your overall health. So, you can prevent the white coating on tongue with some simple choice like:

  • Avoid using tobacco products. Therefore, quit smoking and never use products that contain nicotine.
  • Limiting alcohol can not only improve your oral health but also ensure good immunity. You can enhance your overall health by just controlling the alcohol drinks.

Nutritious Diet

Including a nutritious diet can strengthen your immune system. It can also help prevent unnecessary mouth problems. When the diet consists of the essential vitamins and minerals, you feel healthy. It boosts your immune system and wards off harmful bacteria. So, include a diet that includes lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Frequent Checkups

You need to visit your dentist every six months. It will help you know the issues with your oral health. So, you can take subsequent action based on the problem. The dentist can also clean your mouth and prevent other problems. Therefore, frequent checkups help you report any problem that requires immediate treatment.


White coating on the tongue is not a severe problem that needs medical attention. It can easily alleviate without any medical intervention. As it can cause your embarrassment among your social circle, you need to overcome it faster. So, you can opt for some home remedies. Following good oral hygiene and a healthy diet can prevent the risk of getting the coating. But, if the problem persists, then you need to see your doctor. It will eradicate any doubts of severe illness, infection or cancer.

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