White Coating on Tongue – Pictures, Causes, Treatment

What is a Coated Tongue?

Coated tongue is a medical symptom that is caused by a bacteria that colonizes in the mouth, leading to halitosis or bad breath which cannot be alleviated, even with mouthwash. Normally, the hue of a person’s tongue ranges from a medium pink to a light pink hue. When a person experiences a coated tongue, the tongue can be either white or yellow. A coated tongue is actually harmless, and it is a symptom, as mentioned earlier, of an underlying illness.

1. White Coated Tongue

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When a person reports having a white coated tongue, there is no need to panic and cause a scene. The white coated tongue is only temporary and considered harmless. It is often interchanged with the medical term called oral thrush which is caused by an excessive fungal growth in the mouth. When a person usually experiences a white-coated tongue, there are dead cells, bacteria, and debris in the tongue. Moreover, experts say that a white-coated tongue may be due to an underlying health condition which can be infectious or precancerous. In the case of a white-coated tongue, the tongue’s papillae become inflamed due to fever, dehydration, smoking, breathing through the mouth, or other related issues. The bacteria, dead cells, and food debris then become lodged in between the swollen area of the papillae and cause the white-coated tongue symptom.

2. Yellow Coated Tongue

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A yellow-coated tongue is another problem similar to a white-coated tongue. The main difference is that the former produces a different hue. A yellow-coated tongue, which also occurs from the presence of oral bacteria, is not that grave to cause alarm. Like the white-coated tongue, the yellow-coated tongue happens when the taste buds become swollen, creating a high risk of bacteria build-up. The bacteria that gets lodged between the papillae or taste buds cause the secretion of a yellow-hued chemical which eventually leads to a yellow-coated tongue episode.


What does a Coated Tongue Mean?

Medically speaking, a coated tongue is due to the presence of a white-hued layer composed of bacteria, food particles, and epithelial debris on the uppermost surface of the tongue. Others would define it as a temporary loss of natural tongue color.

What Causes a Coated Tongue?

There are actually a lot of reasons behind coated tongue. Depending on either the white or yellow coated tongue, they have different and some similar etiological reasons behind it. As mentioned earlier, coated tongue may either be white or yellow. The following etiological reasons can predispose a person to experience a white-coated tongue:

  • Smoking
  • Dry mouth
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Dehydration
  • Bacterial infection
  • herpetic stomatitis or oral herpes virus infection
  • Fever
  • Asthma
  • Diabetes
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Medication side effects
  • Oral thrush
  • Oral lichen planus
  • Syphilis
  • Leukoplakia
  • Candida albicans
  • Map-like appearance or geographic tongue episode

People who suffer from a yellow-coated tongue may show the following symptoms:

  • Heat in the body (part of the inflammatory process)
  • Jaundice (not all yellow coated tongue cases is due to jaundice)
  • Breathing through the mouth
  • Nutritional deficiencies

Coated Tongue Treatments

Normally a yellow or white-coated tongue can lead to social insecurities as well as low self-esteem. The treatments for a white and yellow coated tongue are as follows:

1. Oral health hygiene

This is the best and ideal way to treat white coated tongue to remove bacteria, debris, and the like.

2. Probiotics

This can also be a good way to treat white coated tongue. By squeezing the content from a probiotics capsule onto a spoon and then adding drop of water, the mixture can be swallowed at bedtime.

3. Water consumption

Drinking water provides a lot of heath benefits. For white-coated tongue patients, it will help remove and loosen trapped food debris, bacteria, and dead cells.

4. Smoking cessation

Smoking is one of the causes of white-coated tongues and can lead to other health problems.

5.Healthy and balanced diet

There are many health benefits of a healthy and balanced diet. It is always wise to eat a healthy and balanced diet to prevent nutritional deficiencies and lead a healthy life.

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