A sore or white tongue isn’t usually serious and is often easily treated. Most should only last a short time.

Things you can do yourself

A pharmacist can help with a sore or white tongue

A pharmacist can 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

See a GP or dentist if you:

  • have pain or itchiness that doesn’t go away or gets worse
  • have white patches on your tongue

Common causes of a sore or white tongue

Biting or burning your tongue with hot food or drink can cause pain and swelling. But this should last only a few days.

A white tongue can be a sign of a health condition.

Don’t self-diagnose – see your GP if you’re worried.

Lichen planus