Tongue is an important organ in our body without which we will not be able to speak, eat, taste, or swallow. Tongue consists of millions of papillae (taste buds) on its surface. When the bacteria and debris gets trapped between the tiny pink papillae (taste buds) it gives rise to a thin coating on the surface of tongue.
Normally, the tongue is not clean, smooth and good looking. Our tongue is always slightly coated. However, there are many factors and illnesses that can increase this coating. They can cause the tongue to appear white, black or yellow.Coated tongue is not a serious condition, except for causing annoyance and embarrassment. Most of the time tongue coating goes away on its own or with the help of home remedies.
Causes Of White Or Brown Coating On Tongue
White coating: white coating generally appears when the bacteria and the debris get trapped between the inflamed taste buds. If you are dehydrated, if you are breathing through mouth, or you are having high fever or smoking all the time, your taste buds can become irritated and inflamed giving rise to white coated tongue.Few medical conditions such as leukoplakia, thrush (fungal disease), and oral lichen planus can also coat your tongue white. Poor dental and oral hygiene is also responsible for white coating of the tongue.
Brown or black coating: it is usually observed in people who smoke or chew tobacco. Use of certain medications such as bismuth can make your tongue to appear black. Also, overuse of mouthwash which contains peroxide, an oxidizing agent can produce thin brown or black coat on your tongue. As said earlier, poor oral hygiene is also responsible for dark coated tongue.
Associated Symptoms Of Coated Tongue
Even though coated tongue may be an indication of some systemic health problem, often the cause is attributed to poor oral hygiene and lifestyle. The symptoms of coated tongue are more distressing and embarrassing than being harmful. The tongue can be covered entirely from tip to its base; usually we see this in white coated tongue.
- Bad breath: bad breath is a common symptom with coated tongue. The bacteria which get caught between the papillae produce foul smell in the mouth.
- Burning sensation is another symptom associated with coated tongue, especially in case of thrush. The patient may find difficulty in chewing as the tongue becomes extremely sensitive.
- Excessive saliva production is also associated with coated tongue.
Home Remedies For Coated Tongue
- Keep your tongue clean with regular brushing or using a tongue scraper. It will dislodge the debris, dead cells, and bacteria from the surface of the tongue.
- Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration. It is also essential for maintaining good oral hygiene as it flushes out the stuck bacteria on the tongue.
- After every meal do warm water gargles. This will prevent accumulation of food particles and debris and consequent growth of bacteria in the oral cavity.
- Clean your teeth regularly.
- Include yogurt in your regular diet. Yogurt contains bacteria that are good for your body. Yogurt help in keeping the balance between the good bacteria and bad bacteria. For coated tongue caused due to Thrush, apply yogurt on the tongue. You can also eat yogurt liberally.
- Avoid tobacco chewing and smoking to prevent and treat coated tongue.
- If you are mouth breather, try to find the reason behind it such as enlarged adenoids or anything else. Address the issue to prevent coating on tongue.