Tongue has white coating which can peel off

Ask The Doctor > Oral Health > Tongue has white coating which can peel off

Patient: Hello, I’m an 18 year old caucasian female. Today I was brushing my teeth about 30 minutes ago and  I noticed that I had white coating on my tongue and I could peel it off as well. I was on Yahoo Answers that it could be from eating too much sweets. I did eat a bag of jolly ranchers today.

I also saw that it could be from not eating  properly. My nutrition hasn’t been great lately. Could you please answer my question.

Symptoms: White coating on tongue which is peeling.

Doctor: White coating on the tongue is generally because of colonizing of bacteria, fungi(candida) with the entrapment of dead cells. This coating may get aggravated in mouth breathers, dry mouth, patients with poor oral hygiene, nutritional deficiency, gastric upset, systemic diseases like diabetes, fever etc.

This whiteness could also be because of some physical/chemical injury but this is generally painful. Generally this coating can be easily scrap off with brushing or gentle tongue cleaning.

Scrapable white coating could also be because of yeast/Candida infection and it is generally associated with burning , redness and white patches.Eating too much candies might cause mild allergic reaction/ chemical injury leading to formation of dead cells layer.

In case of already existing Candida infection, sweets may also aggravate it. If you have no other symptoms my suggestion is along with brushing your teeth gently clean your tongue, do warm saline rinses & take plenty of fluids.

White coating should go away in 2-3 days if doesn’t please consult your dentist to rule out any other white lesion of oral mucosa. As far as sweets are concerned, excess of everything is bad.

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Dr. Jimmy Obaji M.D.

Dr. Jimmy Obaji completed his residency in Family Medicine at the University of Manitoba. He currently operates a walk-in-clinic in downtown Toronto.

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