Things you can do yourself
- use a soft toothbrush to brush your teeth
- use a toothpaste that doesn't contain sodium lauryl sulphate
- brush your tongue or use a scraper to help improve a white tongue
- use a straw to drink cool drinks
- take painkillers
- do not eat hard, spicy, salty, acidic or hot food and drink that may irritate your tongue
- do not smoke
- do not drink alcohol
A pharmacist can help with a sore or white tongue
A pharmacist can look at your tongue and might be able to tell you:
- what's causing it
- if you can buy anything to help with any pain or irritation
- if you should see a dentist or GP
When to get medical help
See a GP or dentist if you:
- have pain or itchiness that doesn't go away or gets worse
- have white patches on your tongue
Common causes of a sore or white tongue
Biting or burning your tongue with hot food or drink can cause pain and swelling. But this should last only a few days.
A white tongue can be a sign of a health condition.
Don't self-diagnose – see your GP if you're worried.
White patches on the tongue and inside the cheek, with sore gums
Read about lichen planus.
Read about leukoplakia.
Blotchy, red patches on the tongue that have a white or light-coloured border
Read about geographic tongue.
Round, painful and swollen sores that look like blisters
Read about mouth ulcers.
Itchy, red mouth with white patches on the tongue
Read about oral thrush.