A coated or white tongueoccurs when the surface is colonised by bacteria or fungi, and dead cells become trapped between the small nodules on the tongue.

A coated tongueisn't a disease and isn't usually a sign of anything serious. It's usually only temporary.

You can trygently brushing it with a tongue scraper and drinking plenty of water to help it improve.

However, sometimes a coated tongue can indicate an infection or more serious condition. You should see your GP for advice if:

  • you're concerned about changes to the appearance of your tongue
  • your tongue hurts (read about the causes of Tongue pain or soreness )
  • your coated tongue persists for longer than two weeks

Youcan read on to learn moreabout the possible causes of a coated tongue, but don't use this to diagnose yourself with a condition always leave that to your GP.

Note that in a minority of people, a coated tongue may never return to its normal colour or texture, even after treatment.

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 22 Aug 2016