The purpose of this study was to determine the viability of Tongue Coating Index, which is a new method for evaluating tongue-coating status. To determine the reliability and reproducibility of our new evaluation criteria (Score 0: Tongue coating not visible; Score 1: Tongue coating thin, papillae of tongue visible; Score 2: Tongue coating very thick, papillae of tongue not visible), 10 observers evaluated 20 photographs of tongues. Each tongue surface was divided into nine sections. Observers evaluated each section according to our new criteria and each score for tongue-coating status was recorded in the pertinent section of the Tongue Coating Record form. They repeated the same evaluation 2 weeks after the first evaluation. The relationship between the scores obtained and number of oral microorganisms was investigated in 50 edentulous patients. Tongue coating was collected from the tongue surface after evaluation of tongue-coating status. The total number of anaerobic bacteria and the number of Candida species were counted from the specimens collected. Interobserver agreement and intraobserver agreement were 0.66 and 0.80 by Cohen's kappa, respectively. No significant difference was observed in the number of Candida species among the three scores. The number of total anaerobic bacteria, however, was significantly different among the scores (P < 0.05). Therefore, we conclude that our method for evaluating tongue-coating status offers new criteria that are superior in reliability and reproducibility, and that also reflect the total number of anaerobic bacteria present on the dorsum of the tongue.