What is Covid Tongue?

February 28, 2021
Avatar for Kelley MingusKelley Mingus

By now, most of us have heard the warning signs of an imminent infection of COVID-19. Fatigue, loss of sense of taste and smell, sore throat. But a new symptom is being reported in Europe that we may want to be on the lookout for in the United States. It’s called “Covid tongue,” and though it is not listed as an official symptom of Covid-19, it could be a sign that danger is ahead.

Covid tongue is described by researchers at Kings College in London as a variety of tongue-based symptoms that include a thick, thrush-like coating on the tongue that cannot be brushed or scraped away, or red patches on the tongue that have no explanation.

Though Covid tongue is not present in every patient, researchers estimate that one in every 100 Covid patients will have Covid tongue and that about 35 percent of all Covid patients will experience some sort of non-traditional Covid symptoms, such as “Covid toes.”

It is important to note that just because you don’t have oral health symptoms does not mean you are clear of a Covid-19 infection. If you believe you may have Covid-19 or that you could have been exposed to Covid-19, the first thing you should do is stay home and self-quarantine. If you would like to be tested, contact your doctor for a referral to a Covid testing site.

Another important thing to remember is that even though you may have changes to your tongue, this does not mean you have Covid-19. There are other reasons you could be experiencing tongue symptoms, including the oral yeast infection, thrush. Thrush can be caused by many things, including asthma inhalers, poor-fitting dentures, or if you do not remove your dentures and clean them each evening.

If you notice changes to your tongue or in any other area in your mouth, please reach out to Dr. Mingus and his staff to discuss these changes. While we cannot diagnose you with Covid-19, we can refer you to a testing site or provide other advice, or schedule a consultation. If something is of concern, please do not ignore it.