Jaundice is a very common condition that comes with yellowing of the skin and sclera of the eyes. Even someone that isn’t a doctor would be able to tell when someone has jaundice. The give-away is the yellowing of the eyes and skin. But is there any other part that can be indicative of jaundice? Of course, there is. Another part that can tell you that a person has jaundice is the tongue. Yeah, a yellow tongue to be precise. There are times that the yellowing of the tongue is actually harmless. But there are also times that the yellowing of the tongue tells a lot. Especially in cases such as jaundice.
Well, there are some other conditions that would cause the yellowing of the tongue. Some of the conditions are quite serious and they need treatment immediately. That’s why it’s important that you don’t discard the symptom when you notice it. Make sure you go see a doctor. That way you would be able to get a proper diagnosis of the problem. We will also be taking a look at the possible causes of this condition. Let’s dive into it.
Jaundice is a liver condition. This happens when there is a buildup of bilirubin in the liver. That’s because the liver can’t properly get rid of the waste product bilirubin. This, therefore, leads to yellowing of the eyes and skin.
So what is bilirubin? This is actually a yellow pigment that is gotten from the breaking down of red blood cells. This is a waste product that must be gotten rid of. If it’s not gotten rid of it accumulates and causes changes in color in some parts of the body. The common ones are the eyes and skin. One that people are not so familiar with is the tongue.
Patients that have jaundice can also experience changes in the color of the tongue. This is known as the yellow tongue. But you must also take note that there are many other causes of the yellow tongue. Let’s take a look at the other causes.
Other Causes of Yellow Tongue
- Poor oral hygiene: This is like one of the most common causes of the yellow tongue. When a person doesn’t brush the teeth and the tongue thoroughly there is a buildup of bacteria. And when this happens bacteria starts to secrete pigments. It is the pigment released that leads to the formation of a yellow tongue. Also, other substances like food and tobacco can get trapped in the tongue. Thus turning it to yellow.
- Dry mouth: This is a condition wherein there isn’t enough saliva in the mouth. The saliva in the mouth does a lot of things. And one of them is washing the bacteria away. If the saliva isn’t enough in the mouth it would lead to an accumulation of bacteria. And this would cause tooth decay. As well as yellowing of the tongue.
- Blacky hairy tongue: This is a condition that is actually harmless. It happens when papillae in the tongue start to grow larger. The papillae are actually the part that lines the sides and tips of the tongue. When they grow larger substances tend to accumulate on them. Such substances are dirt, food or bacteria. And this would lead to yellowing of the tongue. After a while, the yellowing of the tongue would turn to black.
- Geographic tongue: This is actually a condition wherein some patches of papillae are actually missing. The exact cause of this is not yet known. But it is believed that this sometimes runs in some families. The reason why it’s named geographic tongue is because of the way the surface of the tongue looks. The missing parts make the tongue look like a map. Often times the patches are actually red. But they could also turn yellow in color. This is sometimes associated with pain.
- Mouthwashes that contain certain agents: Not all mouthwashes are good for the mouth. Some mouthwashes contain substances like peroxide, menthol, and witch hazel. And all these compounds make the tongue turn yellow.
When it comes to treating a yellow tongue there a lot of things that can be done. You can brush your mouth with a mixture of 5 parts of water to 1 part of hydrogen peroxide. After that rinse your mouth well with water.
Also, when it comes to treating yellow tongue the underlying condition must be treated first. Let’s take a look at the underlying causes individually.
- Oral hygiene: You have to improve your oral hygiene. Make sure you brush your teeth at least two times a day. And also brush your teeth after having a meal. Make sure that during the day you constantly rinse your mouth with water. Also, stay away from smoking.
- Dry mouth: For dry mouth, you can ask your doctor to prescribe a medication that would increase the production of saliva. If the cause of your dry mouth is medication then talk to your doctor to change the medication. Also, take enough water during the day. Also avoid taking alcohol, tobacco and caffeine as they could increase symptoms of dry mouth.
- Blacky hairy tongue: Make sure you brush your teeth at least two times a day. And then rinse the mouth carefully with water. Also, make sure that you don’t smoke.
- Geographic tongue: You can take over-the-counter medications to relieve the pain. You can also opt for a mouth rinse that has anesthetic. This would help reduce the pain.
- Jaundice: The way out is treating the cause of jaundice. If it’s caused by hepatitis your doctor would prescribe antivirals that would treat the condition. If it is caused by a disorder in the blood then chelation medications can be given. Alo makes sure you reduce your intake of alcohol. This is to avoid further damage to the liver. And if the cause is severe liver damage a transplant may be needed. So these are some of the things that can be done to treat a yellow jaundice tongue.