Can I Scrape Thrush Off My Tongue?

Scraping curd-like white lesions on the tongue may help a healthcare professional diagnose the cause of the lesions. When they are caused by thrush (candidiasis) they may come off temporarily, but the tongue may bleed.

Scraping helps a healthcare professional make a diagnosis. It is not a treatment for thrush and will not help you get rid of thrush.

Thrush Symptoms

Thrush is the common name for candidiasis, a mouth infection caused by an overgrowth of the Candida fungus, which normally lives on the surface area inside many people's mouths.

A healthy immune system keeps candida in balance and prevents outbreaks of thrush. (Thrush is more common in people who have a severely weakened immune system due to untreated HIV or other causes.)

Bacteria normally found in the body also help control it. However, some antibiotics kill these helpful bacteria and cause an outbreak of candidiasis.

Signs and symptoms of oral thrush can include:

  • creamy white lesions on your tongue, inner cheeks, or elsewhere in the mouth
  • slightly raised lesions with a cottage cheese-like appearance
  • redness or soreness that can cause pain when eating or swallowing
  • sore throat
  • slight bleeding if the lesions are rubbed or scraped
  • cracking and redness at the corners of your mouth
  • nausea or loss of appetite

Creamy white lesions caused by oral thrush (candidiasis) may scrape off, usually leaving a red, inflamed area that may bleed slightly. (When the lesions have other causes, they may respond differently.) Scraping helps a healthcare professional make a diagnosis. It is not a treatment for thrush.

Treatment is with antifungal medications. These may be applied directly to the affected area of the mouth as a cream, liquid or lozenge.

More on Thrush at

To find out more about thrush (candidiasis), we recommend the following articles:

In addition, our Q&A experts sometimes address questions about thrush in our "Ask the Experts" forums. Here are some of those questions and our experts' responses:

  • My candida story
    My husband was recently diagnosed with candida. We've each had a sore throat for four months that antibiotics couldn't completely treat.
  • My tongue is white
    I have a small rash on my penis and a white coating on my tongue. My doctors says it's thrush. Do you agree?