Is a white tongue a disease? We will tell you why it is white and how to get it off and back!

tongue preventive dentistry

Last updated on October 10, 2023


Doctor, I can't get the white stuff off my tongue.

Is this a disease?


The white stuff on the tongue is "tongue coating.

This time,What is tongue coating and what is it?I will talk about how to take it!

The white stuff you can't get off your tongue is "tongue debris.

Tongue, white, not removed

The white stuff on the tongue isTongue: "Zettai."It is called.

The surface of the tongue is covered with numerous tiny protrusions called "lingual papillae.

The tongue is,Mucous membranes that have peeled off from the mouth in the spaces between the tongue papillae, components in saliva, oral bacteria, and food debris that have accumulated on the surface of the tongue.It is.

It is basically the same as plaque on the teeth, so it is white in color.

It is basically physiological, accumulating in everyone, and falls off moderately with the circulation of saliva and tongue movement.

Just because you can't get it off is not enough to go to the hospital, and there is no need to be overly concerned.

However,Excessive growth of tongue coating due to poor cleaning or abnormalities of the tongue papillae can be a source of bad breath.

If the tongue is so coated with tongue debris that bad breath occurs, it is best to take care of the tongue.

White tongue coating that cannot be removed|How to distinguish between physiological and pathological tongue coating.

Tongue, white, not removed

Physiological tongue coating is,Milky white or light yellowThe company has been working on a new project.

Quantity,A faint adhesion on the back of the tongue (near the throat)I am so much more than that.

Pathological tongue coating is dark yellow, brown, or black in color.

The amount is large, and the tongue coating is spread over the entire tongue or is so thick that the pink color of the tongue cannot be seen through it.

Causes of increased amount of "tongue debris," the white stuff you can't get off your tongue.

Tongue, white, not removed

Causes of increased tongue coating include the following

  • toothpaste deficiency
  • Dry mouth
  • Decreased saliva production
  • tongue shape
  • habit of speaking with one's tongue
  • Drug Effects
  • Physical discomfort
  • eating habits
  • oral candidiasis

toothpaste deficiency

Lack of daily tooth brushing,Food debris and plaque (dental plaque) increase, and tongue coating also increases.

Dry mouth

If your mouth is dry,Oral bacteria increase and tongue coating builds up easily.

It also dries out the tongue,Adhered tongue coating is difficult to remove.

Dry mouth can be caused by mouth breathing, physiological phenomena that occur during tension and sleep, and the effects of medications.

Decreased saliva production

If you have low saliva production,The tongue is weak in its ability to be washed away with saliva, and it tends to accumulate tongue debris.

tongue shape

It's called a "fissured tongue."If you are born with a shaped tongue that tends to accumulate tongue debris.

Grooved tongue is a tongue with large irregularities, grooves and fissures.

It may be acquired at birth or due to physical illness, glossitis, or dry mouth.

habit of speaking with one's tongue

The tongue is considered to be in its normal position when it is attached to the maxilla when the mouth is closed.

If the tongue is in a normal position, the tongue rubs against the maxilla, and some of the tongue coating will fall off,If the tongue is in the habit of not attaching to the maxilla when the mouth is closed, it is more likely to accumulate tongue coating.

Drug Effects

By drug side effects,The tongue may be more prone to build up.

  • antibiotic
  • steroid
  • antiallergic drug
  • drug to lower blood pressure
  • Parkinson's disease drug
  • antipsychotic drug

These medications can disrupt the bacterial balance in the mouth and cause dryness due to decreased saliva production, which indirectly causes an increase in tongue coating.

Physical discomfort

Fever, digestive disorders, lowered immunity due to fatigue, and low saliva production due to stress,Tongue coating tends to increase when physical disorders occur.

Sjögren's syndrome, in which the salivary glands are destroyed, also tends to increase tongue coating due to dry mouth.

eating habits

Tends to get tangled up in the tonguePeople who live on a liquid diet (e.g., those requiring nursing care) are more likely to have increased tongue coating.

People who have the habit of eating without chewing well or who prefer soft foods with little fiber are also prone to tongue coating.

oral candidiasis

When the mouth becomes dry, the number of Candida bacteria in the mouth increases easily.

Candida is a type of mold that, when overgrown, causes oral candidiasis.

Tongue coating with high levels of Candida is difficult to remove.and should be treated with antifungal drugs.

Effects of "tongue debris," the white stuff you can't get off your tongue

Tongue, white, not removed

Excessive tongue coating can have the following negative effects

Be sure to take care of your tongue in moderation to prevent overgrowth.

  • halitosis
  • aspiration pneumonia
  • taste disorder
  • glossophagia
  • Infectious diseases (thrush, streptococcal infection)
  • Oral candidiasis, etc.

How to remove the white stuff "tongue coating" on the tongue

Tongue, white, not removed

Proper care is necessary to prevent excessive tongue growth.

If you are prone to tongue moss buildup,Brush your tongue and take care to prevent mouth dryness.

If it is difficult to remove tongue coating, you can add a special tongue care gel or honey to your tongue care routine.

tongue cleaner

Use a soft toothbrush,Gently stroke the surface of the tongue from back to front.

If you scrape hard to remove all the tongue debris at once,Tongue becomes damaged and dry, causing excess tongue coating to build up.To avoid damage, rub gently.

Prevents mouth dryness

If you are a mouth breather,Wearing a mask at bedtime prevents dryness.

Moisturizing the mucous membranes with an oral moisturizer or mouthwash with moisturizing properties is also recommended.

Backstage tips for when it's hard to get rid of tongue debris

If the tongue is not removed, the following care should be addedThe tongue coating softens and falls off easily.

  • Use a special gel for the tongue.
  • lick of honey
  • go to a hospital

Use a special gel for the tongue.

Use a special gel for the tongue when brushing the tongue,Dryness makes it easier to remove sticky tongue debris.

Depending on the product, place two to three drops of gel on the surface of the tongue, rub the tongue against the maxilla, and spread the gel over the surface of the tongue.

Wait for 10 seconds, and the softened tongue debris will rise to the surface and should be removed by stroking it with a soft toothbrush or tongue brush.

lick of honey

Put a spoonful of honey on the surface of the tongue,Lick slowly, rubbing your tongue against the maxilla.

  • Tangle up the tongue
  • Relieves dryness of the mouth
  • Honey's antibacterial properties prevent the increase of bacteria that are the source of tongue coating.

These three effects are expected to prevent the growth of tongue coating.

go to a hospital

Tongue coating may increase due to oral candidiasis, systemic disease, or medication.

If tongue care does not remove the tongue coating,Likely to require treatment of illnesses or changes in medications.Therefore, it is recommended to see a doctor.

Proper care is needed when white stuff on tongue is not removed.

Tongue, white, not removed

Tongue coating is physiologic and within normal limits.

If for some reason an increase in tongue coating causes problems such as halitosis or oral candidiasis, it should be addressed by caring for the tongue and treating the disease that is causing it.

In 365dentist,

  • Consultation via dentist-run open chat
  • Helping you find the right dentist
  • Useful columns about the mouth

to support your oral health and beauty!

If you are interested, please come visit us!

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Graduated from Nagasaki University School of Dentistry, ~2018 Kyushu Medical Center, 2018-present Working at a dental clinic in Tokyo

UyRZkXPjQvAn5BK9ai6vfhAEgYGCePrS3Id158EZKuev 2TIlSXaZPkxY9dJ 3vCTCm7hqIEw6AzmlpdiuMD8H 9aD01UftplKrgMtn7dmYeSupervisor: Dentist/Naomi

After completing clinical training, worked in cosmetic dentistry in Tokyo. Currently a dentist and dental writer.


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