What are the Causes, Symptoms and Treatment of Yellow Tongue


Yellow tongue is when there is a buildup of yellow, thick coating on the tongue’s surface. It is mainly because of the accumulated bacteria, or dead skin cells that are trapped, which causes discoloration. Generally, the yellow tongue is harmless, but it could be a sign of jaundice. Jaundice, or the yellowing of the skin or eyes, could be an indication of serious gallbladder or liver problems.

Just like any other part of the body, a yellow tongue can be a sign that something is not well in your body. When you look in the mirror and stick your tongue out, your tongue is healthy if it is pinkish. If some areas of the tongue are not, that should be a warning that you should check it further.

Yellow Tongue in a Nutshell

Health professionals say that there is usually nothing to worry about the yellow tongue as it could only be a result of poor oral hygiene and food intake. Remember that after all the food we eat every day, proper brushing and flossing is important to prevent the buildup of bacteria and tartar in the mouth, teeth, tongue and the insides of the mouth. But a yellow tongue must be watched out for as it could also be a sign of jaundice. You should consult your doctor right away to test your liver and other underlying health conditions that might be connected with this.

As mentioned, the yellow tongue is usually harmless. Risk factors include poor hygiene, betel nut usage, alcoholism, use of tobacco, cancer, and dehydration. Those who are exposed to these factors may have an increased chance of developing a yellow tongue. True enough, it is best to live healthy to avoid unnecessary health problems and issues that could arise.

Symptoms and Causes

There are a lot of symptoms that could appear if you develop yellow tongue, and the following are the most common:

  • Additional coating, patches, or film on the tongue
  • Bad breath
  • Sore Throat
  • Fever
  • Burning sensation
  • Raised, small bumps found in the tongue
  • Dry mouth
  • Bad taste
  • Indigestion or acid reflux

What Causes Yellow Tongue?

  • Black Hairy Tongue. It is a non-cancerous disorder where the fungi or bacteria can cause the surface of the tongue to appear as an elongated, hair-like, and enlarged carpet. It is a common condition that may cause the tongue to appear black, green, blue, or even yellow.
  • Drugs and Medications. Medicines may contain particles that could cause pigment discoloration and staining particles. That could lead to a weakened immune system. Diabetes medications, antibiotics, radiation and cancer medications, iron salts, and lansoprazole could increase the likelihood of a jaundice tongue.
  • Jaundice. Yellow-looking tongue could be harmless, but it could also be an indication of jaundice and should be treated right away. It may be a sign of a life-threatening health problem like liver failure or other bile-related problems.
  • Infections and Gastric Conditions. Yellow coating of the tongue could also be a cause of inflammation in the lining of the gastric portion. It could be a sign of gastritis too. Just like jaundice, it is best to seek professional help right away to be sure.

Treatments and Home Remedies

This condition can be treated with mouth rinses like salicylic acid and topical steroids. You can also do topical antifungal medications, antihistamines, anesthetic medications, and pain medications.

For a normal yellow tongue, you can do home remedies that could help with the treatment of the yellow coating. We have compiled a few of these below for you.

  • Good oral hygiene
  • Brush out the tongue in a gentle manner
  • Rinse using an antibacterial mouthwash
  • Scrape the tongue every day
  • Put baking soda in the tongue for at least a minute before rinsing out
  • Increase fiber intake
  • Avoid dyed or colored drinks
  • Prevent eating yogurt, oral probiotics, or fermented products.

A yellow-looking tongue is normal and harmless. While home remedies are available, it is still best to visit your doctor for immediate help and attention.

If you experience any of the following symptoms below, visit your doctor right away, as these could be a sign of an underlying condition.

  • Yellow skin and the white portion of your eyes
  • Nauseated easily
  • Uncontrollable abdominal pain

Yellow Tongue Causes, Symptoms and Remedies

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