Yellow Tongue Causes, the tongue is an important part of the body that helps with speech, taste, and digestion. A healthy tongue is typically pink and covered with small bumps called papillae. However, sometimes the tongue can turn yellow, which may be concerning. In this article, we will explore the possible causes of a yellow tongue and what you can do to prevent and treat it.
Anatomy of the Tongue
The tongue is a muscular organ in the mouth that is covered with a moist, pink tissue called mucosa. The top surface of the tongue is covered with small bumps called papillae, which contain taste buds. The underside of the tongue is smooth and pink. The tongue plays an important role in speech, taste, and digestion.
What Causes a Yellow Tongue?
A yellow tongue can be caused by several factors, including poor oral hygiene, dehydration, smoking, certain medications, mouth breathing, jaundice, and oral thrush. Let’s explore each of these in more detail.
Yellow Tongue Causes 7 Possible Causes
1. Poor Oral Hygiene
One of the most common causes of a yellow tongue is poor oral hygiene. When you don’t brush and floss your teeth regularly, bacteria can build up on your tongue, causing it to turn yellow. This can also lead to bad breath and other dental problems.
Another common cause of a yellow tongue is dehydration. When your body is dehydrated, your saliva production decreases, which can cause your tongue to become dry and yellow.
Smoking is another possible cause of a yellow tongue. Tobacco can stain your tongue and teeth, causing them to turn yellow. Smoking can also lead to other oral health problems, such as gum disease and oral cancer.
4. Certain Medications
Some medications can cause a yellow tongue as a side effect. For example, antibiotics and oral contraceptives can sometimes cause a yellow discoloration of the tongue.
5. Mouth Breathing
Mouth breathing can also cause a yellow tongue. When you breathe through your mouth, your tongue can become dry and discolored.
Jaundice is a condition that occurs when your liver is not functioning properly. It can cause yellowing of the skin and eyes, as well as a yellow tongue.
7. Oral Thrush
Oral thrush is a fungal infection that can cause white or yellow patches on the tongue and other areas of the mouth. It is more common in people with weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV/AIDS or diabetes.
In some cases, yellow tongue indicates an underlying medical condition, such as:
- Vitamin deficiencies – deficiencies in certain vitamins such as B vitamins and iron can cause changes in the color of the tongue
- Liver or gallbladder problems – issues with the liver or gallbladder can lead to the accumulation of bile, which can cause a yellow discoloration of the tongue.
- Diabetes – high blood sugar levels in people with diabetes can lead to a buildup of ketones in the body, which can cause a yellow discoloration of the tongue.
- Certain medications – some medications, such as antibiotics or oral contraceptives, can cause changes in the color of the tongue.
What are Symptoms of a Yellow Tongue?
The most obvious symptom of a yellow tongue is a yellowish discoloration on the surface of the tongue. The discoloration may be uniform or patchy. If you have yellow tongue you may develop:
- Bad breath
- Unpleasant taste in the mouth
- Furry or coated feeling on the tongue
- Dry mouth
- Sore throat
- Difficulty swallowing
If you have a persistent yellow tongue or any other oral health concerns, it is important to see your dentist or doctor for an evaluation
Diagnosis and Treatment
If you have a yellow tongue, a dentist or doctor can perform a physical exam and ask you about your symptoms and medical history. They may also take a sample of the coating on your tongue for testing.
The treatment for a yellow tongue will depend on the underlying cause. If it is caused by poor oral hygiene, improving your dental care routine may be enough to resolve the issue. Drinking more water and avoiding tobacco and alcohol may also be helpful. If a medication is causing the discoloration, your doctor may recommend an alternative medication or adjusting the dosage. If you have oral thrush, your doctor may prescribe antifungal medication.
How do you get rid of a Yellow Tongue?
The treatment for a yellow tongue depends on the underlying cause. In some cases, simply practicing good oral hygiene, such as:
- Brushing your teeth and tongue regularly and using a tongue scraper, can help to remove the yellow coating on the tongue.
- Drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated can also help to keep the tongue clean and healthy.
If the yellow tongue is caused by an underlying medical condition, treatment of the condition may be necessary to resolve the discoloration. For example, if the cause is oral thrush, antifungal medication may be prescribed to clear up the infection. If the cause is a vitamin deficiency, taking supplements or making dietary changes may be recommended.
To prevent a yellow tongue, it is important to practice good oral hygiene. This includes brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing daily, and using a tongue scraper to remove bacteria from the surface of your tongue. Drinking plenty of water and avoiding tobacco and alcohol can also help prevent a yellow tongue.
A yellow tongue can be concerning, but it is often harmless and temporary. Poor oral hygiene, dehydration, smoking, certain medications, mouth breathing, jaundice, and oral thrush are all possible causes of a yellow tongue. If you have a yellow tongue, it is important to see your dentist or doctor to determine the underlying cause and receive appropriate treatment.