Treatments for a Gray Tongue
If you notice your tongue has turned gray, make an appointment to see your dental professional. Your dentist and dental hygienist can examine your tongue and determine the cause of its discoloration. Your prescribed treatment, and its length, will all depend on your diagnosis. Let's go over each:
In cases where leukoplakia is responsible, surveillance is the primary treatment. This means that your dental professional will want to keep an eye on it to make sure it does not progress into cancer. It's also recommended to quit lifestyle habits that make you more susceptible to leukoplakia. So if there's ever been a time to quit smoking, chewing tobacco, or drinking an excessive amount of alcohol, it's now.
You can also treat oral lichen planus with surveillance, and the condition can go away on its own. If the lesions are uncomfortable or painful, some treatments, such as corticosteroid mouthwashes and gels, can provide symptom relief.
When oral thrush is the cause of your grayish tongue, antifungal medications are the best course of action. You may get a prescription for antifungal mouthrinses or lozenges for a mild case. If your case is more severe, a prescription for an oral antifungal medication should do the trick.
If you've been forgetting to brush or floss as often as you should, try to get back in the habit of brushing twice per day and cleaning between your teeth with floss, a water flosser, or another interdental cleaning tool once per day. Follow up your oral care routine with a mouthwash to rinse away any remaining bacteria. When you brush your teeth, remember to use a soft-bristled brush and take the time to gently clean your tongue, too.
A gray coating on your tongue can be alarming at first, so it's normal to feel an initial shock of panic! We understand this reaction. But remember that most causes of tongue discoloration are relatively harmless, especially if treated right away. Your main priority should be to see a dental professional for diagnosis, who will discuss with you a planned course of treatment if needed.
It's also important to be gentle with yourself. We do not recommend scraping at oral lesions or brushing them too hard, as some will need medication for removal. If you're worried about your tongue, see your dental professional as soon as possible, as they will help put your mind at ease and get you back on track to feeling confident about your smile!