Q. I’ve woken up with a sore, white tongue – please can you help me?

A. A sore or white tongue isn't usually serious and is often easily treated. Most symptoms should only last a short time and are not serious – it is very likely that it will go away on its own. The soreness may affect just your tongue or it could affect the whole mouth. There are a few do’s and don’ts when self treating the condition.

Please do the following:

• 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 if it is sore


• eat hard, spicy, salty, acidic or hot food and drink that may irritate your tongue

• smoke

• drink alcohol

Biting or burning your tongue with hot food or drink can cause pain and swelling. But this should last only a few days and you will usually remember the incident that causes it.

If it doesn’t clear up quickly and you cannot remember biting of burning your tongue, it may be worth a trip to your pharmacist - they will be able to 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 for further treatment.