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Jul 7, 1999

I have a white coating on my tongue that just won't go away. I also have saliva that is stringy and is built up in my throat in the morning. It started about a year ago when I was under alot of stress. I have seen a doctor who said it might be thrush and then a dentist who said it was not. I have a few cavities that are going to be filled. Could the bad oral hygiene be a cause? I tested negative for hiv. My previous partner was two years before that, but I lived in Latin america. I didn't know if there was another test I should take. I was also told my blood sugar was high at the doctor, but I am not diabetic. Thanks for any suggestions

Response from Dr. Reznik

Coated tongue is more common in individuals who have some form of dry mouth as well as people who are under stress. Since you mention that you saliva is stringy (concentrated), I imagine you are having symptoms associated with dry mouth. As an aside, people with dry mouth often have to take special care to prevent dental cavities which may include the use of prescription fluoride products such as Colgate's Prevident 5000 Plus.

Back to your question..... this is the main reason that I include information about coated tongue in some of the materials I write. There is often confusion as to the nature and presentation of coated tongue in the health professions as well as among consumers of care. Be advised that there are simple tests, such as a KOH stain, which will show the presence or absence of candida (the type of organisms that cause thrush). Also be advised that candida is a commensal organism, in other words it is present in a large segment of the general population, so the appearance of a few hyphae (this is what the KOH stain would show) would not be indicative of an active infection.

Home care is very important to prevent dental caries and to address your concerns about your coated tongue!

Take care,


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coated tongue picture

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