Coated Tongue: A Dentistry Problem, Or No Problem At All?


How often have you noticed your tongue being tinted white, or brown, or whatever other color? Let us guess, that happened at least once in your life. Want to know whether and when to start feeling alarmed? And does it have (anything) to do with your teeth, after all?<!--more-->

White is not to fear

Having your tongue slightly coated white is not a reason to panic. In fact, thin white coloring is nothing but a natural process of bacterial accumulations, especially proactive in the morning, after a long sleep with your mouth shut. As such, it needs no special medical attention.

The white color should alarm you only if the tongue is heavily whitened: thick white coating may be the evidence of candidiasis (consult your dentist) or stomach disease (consult your gastroenterologist). Also, your tongue may be heavily whitened following a long-lasting use of antibiotics.

Rainbow on your tongue

Far more alarming are the colors other than white, and there are quite a few:

  • Brown – typical of the alcohol and nicotine addicted, and often indicative of various lung diseases;
  • Yellow – liver and hepatic diseases (unless thin – which is normal, similar to white)
  • Grey – stomach and intestine diseases like ulcer;
  • Black – mostly with the seriously ill;
  • Crohn`s disease, cholera, grave intestinal disorders etc.;
  • Green – pretty rare, mostly typical of those overusing antibiotics, immunity suppressing substances and steroids.

You are strongly recommended to see a doctor as soon as you have identified either of the above. It is vitally important, since no untreated disease is ever gone with the wind, each leaving a footprint on you rather sooner than later.

To brush or not to brush

Definitely, to brush! Why? Because the fungi take over your mouth, and make no doubt, they do no good to your overall well-being. A simple toothbrush will be continuously winning the hostile germs on your tongue depriving them of any chance to accumulate. This obviously works out when the coating is normal, not indicative of any disease as above.

In fact, the coated tongue is neither caused by your teeth being unwell, nor does it itself cause any dentistry problems. Unless, of course, you neglect it for too long, such that the bacteria get so much proliferating that your teeth start suffering the adverse effect. To avoid it, brush your tongue similarly to your teeth, and with the same frequency. Once you get into the reflex-driven teeth-and-tongue brushing, your mouth hygiene will very much improve, and the bad breath (unless disease-produced), if any, will say good-bye to you.