Treating a Black or Coated Tongue

Topic Overview

Home treatment may be all that is needed for a black or coated tongue.

  • Brush your tongue daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste or a solution of 1 part hydrogen peroxide to 2 parts water.
  • Scrape the tongue with an upside-down teaspoon to remove the "furry" coating on the tongue.
  • Do not use tobacco products.

Bismuth products, such as Pepto-Bismol, can turn your tongue black. The black appearance will go away after you stop taking the medicine.

Related Information

Credits

Current as of: July 28, 2019

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
David Messenger, BSc, MD, FRCPC, FCCP - Emergency Medicine, Critical Care Medicine

Is it an emergency?

If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be a life-threatening emergency. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately.
If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.

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