Dental Health

Why is my tongue yellow? symptoms, causes, remedies & more

Some questions for the patient. Why does the tongue suddenly turn yellow? Why is my tongue yellow? it causes, symptoms, treatment, Home remedies etc.

One of the reasons that causes the tongue to turn yellow is a lack of oral hygiene. This causes bacteria to accumulate on the tongue, dirtying it and taking on that yellowish tone. Without a doubt, this is one of the most common causes of having a yellow tongue and affects the majority of people who suffer from this problem.

The yellowish tone can also arise from the consumption of certain medications or from suffering from certain infections. What happens in these cases is that the coloration affects the entire body (eyes, hands), but the first symptoms appear with the discoloration of the tongue. This also occurs in cases of jaundice derived from pathologies of the liver, gallbladder, and pancreas.

Tobacco is one of the products that can cause the tongue to turn yellow since it causes a reduction in the amount of saliva. This will affect oral hygiene and encourage the appearance of bacteria that cause discoloration of the tongue. Although, over time, these bacteria can also lead to teeth problems or infections of the palate.

A poor diet not only implies the possibility of suffering from diabetes or digestive problems but also puts oral health at risk. This is because both the sugar and coloring in processed foods can cause the tongue to turn yellow. Therefore, if you do not want to have a yellow tongue, avoid consuming these products, take care of yourself, and worry about your oral health.

What is yellow tongue?

It is called this when the tongue stops showing its natural color and the lingual surface becomes yellowish. It is a clear symptom of a condition and, therefore, deserves a medical examination to identify the origin of its appearance.

However, don’t panic, there is no reason to be alarmed because, in general, it is a harmless health problem.

Now, this does not mean that you do not have to visit the dentist as soon as possible, since the cause must be detected to apply the corresponding treatment.

In summary, a yellow tongue is a symptom that something is not working well. Although it is not usually serious, it is advisable to visit the dentist to find out what is causing the yellowish color.

Why is my tongue yellow in children

The discoloration of the tongue in children or babies is usually caused by the consumption of some medications, poor oral hygiene, or by drinking a bottle, without having then passed a gauze pad to clean the remains.

Let us remember that one of the causes of the yellow tongue is the accumulation of bacteria in the mouth, which together with the consumption of sugar remains on the taste buds along with the bacteria in the mouth.

How do you get rid of a yellow tongue?

The therapy for a yellow tongue relies upon the underlying cause. In some cases, working towards desirable oral hygiene, such as:

Brushing your tooth and tongue commonly and the usage of a tongue scraper can assist in getting rid of the yellow coating on the tongue.

Drinking masses of water and staying hydrated can additionally assist in holding the tongue easy and healthy.

If the yellow tongue is brought on with the aid of an underlying scientific condition, therapy of the situation may also be integral to getting to the bottom of the discoloration. For example, if the reason is oral thrush, the antifungal medicinal drug can also be prescribed to clear up the infection. If the purpose is a nutrition deficiency, taking dietary supplements or making dietary modifications may also be recommended.

Diagnosis of tongue yellow

If you have a yellow tongue, a dentist or physician can perform a bodily examination and ask you about your signs and scientific history. They can also additionally take a pattern of the coating on your tongue for testing.

The cure for a yellow tongue will rely on the underlying cause. If it is triggered via terrible oral hygiene, enhancing your dental care movements may also be sufficient to unravel the issue. Drinking extra water and keeping off tobacco and alcohol may additionally be helpful. If a medicinal drug is inflicting discoloration, your health practitioner may also endorse a choice remedy or regulate the dosage. If you have oral thrush, your medical doctor may also prescribe antifungal medication.

Why is my tongue yellow?

Antibiotic use

It is also common to have a yellow tongue coating after using antibiotics. This is because the medications cause an imbalance of flora or microbes throughout the body, including the intestine and mouth.

Bacterial overgrowth

A thick yellow coating on the tongue is a clear sign of poor digestion and intestinal permeability or imbalance of intestinal flora. You will see a white or yellow coating on your tongue and may have bad breath.

Postnasal drainage

A white or yellow coating on the tongue is common after postnasal drainage. It is a condition characterized by an excessive buildup of mucus in the back of the throat and nose. Causes of postnasal drainage include sinusitis, allergies, acid reflux, and rhinitis.

Scarlet fever

Scarlet fever is an infection characterized by a bright red rash, sore throat, and high fever. The condition will also create red bumps on the tongue and a yellowish-white coating or film on the tongue. You may also have a white tongue with red spots and a fleshy surface. This is also known as strawberry tongue.

Piercing, Tooth Extraction, or Tonsillectomy

Tooth extraction, piercing, or tonsillectomy due to swollen papillae can cause yellowing and sore tongue. The yellow tongue will probably last up to three days. You should follow some of the proper dental hygiene methods mentioned below to reduce the risk of infection. A signal of bacterial contamination is a yellow discharge from the tongue.

Use of oral care products

Another possible cause of a yellow tongue is oral care products. Regular use of mouthwash, in particular, can cause a yellow or orange color to the tongue. This is because certain mouthwashes contain astringent agents such as menthol or witch hazel, or oxidizing agents such as peroxide. It’s a good idea to use an alcohol-free mouthwash with antibacterial essential oils, like the one suggested below.

Dry mouth and mouth breathing

It is normal for saliva to remove bacteria and food debris from the mouth, which will prevent tooth decay. However, an excessively dry mouth due to mouth breathing can lead to a rough, yellow tongue, cracked lips, and mouth sores. This is likely because breathing through your mouth will introduce cold, dry air. A dry mouth can also be caused by smoking, stress, chemotherapy, or autoimmune diseases such as Sjogren’s syndrome or rheumatoid arthritis.

What are the symptoms of yellow tongue?

One of the main symptoms of having a yellow tongue is inflammation as a result of an oral infection such as candidiasis. Therefore, if you have an infection in your mouth, it is normal for the color of your tongue to change. If this is your case, don’t worry. Your doctor will warn you of the other consequences and explain how you should treat it.

Bad breath, tartar, or cavities are direct consequences of having poor oral hygiene and, therefore, common symptoms of having a yellow tongue. To solve it, it is necessary to determine the reason for the problem. That is, if it arises as a result of poor brushing technique, or due to a lack of mouthwashes and dental floss.

When you start antibiotic treatment, you will probably start to notice that your tongue turns yellow. In these cases, the first thing you should do is stop consuming it. Then, contact your doctor to change your treatment.

A small cold can cause the tongue to turn yellow. As we mentioned before, a lack of saliva causes dry mouth. This causes a buildup of bacterial plaque on the tongue and turns it yellow due to dirt.

Of course,  tobacco consumption is one of the causes and symptoms of having a yellow tongue. Remember that excess substances can have consequences… Including the consumption of coffee and tea.

What are the causes of yellow tongue?

What causes the surface of the tongue to turn yellow? Let’s look at some of the possible causes.

Lack of oral hygiene

Yes, neglect of oral hygiene is one of the most common causes of yellow tongue. In reality, what makes it look yellowish is the bacteria that are on the surface of the tongue.

In addition, poor oral care can lead to cavities, gingivitis, periodontitis, and halitosis, among other negative consequences for well-being.


Another cause of yellow tongue is jaundice, which is caused by problems in the gallbladder, liver, and pancreas.

Jaundice is a condition that occurs when there is too much bilirubin (a waste product) in the blood. The liver and gallbladder are supposed to filter this waste product and excrete it through the bile ducts. If any of these organs are not working properly, then bilirubin can build up and cause jaundice.

Be careful with this because it deserves an urgent visit to the specialist doctor.

Consumption of certain medications

Another cause that causes yellow tongue is the consumption of certain medications. Although what happens in these cases is discoloration throughout the body, the first symptoms are usually yellowish skin and eyes. Therefore, if someone tells you or you detect that the color of your skin or tongue has yellow color, you should consult the doctor who prescribed the medication you are taking, in case it is what is causing that color change.


The origin of the yellow tongue may be the presence of some infectious agent in the mouth, for example, a fungus, virus, or bacteria. 

The presence of these microorganisms could cause a change in lingual color.

An infection has to be treated immediately as it can cause serious health problems.


Tobacco products contain toxins that can cause yellowing of the tongue and teeth, bad breath, cavities, and gum disease. The only way to reverse this effect is to stop using tobacco products.

Therefore, if you are a frequent smoker and have a yellow tongue, it is very likely that tobacco is the cause.

Bad nutrition

An inadequate diet also affects oral health. For example, excessive consumption of products with dyes can cause yellow tongue or those that contain a lot of sugars. 

Some foods contain artificial colorings, and others are composed of a high sugar content. In both cases, you must brush your teeth quickly to prevent debris from remaining in your mouth and ending up causing that yellowish color on your teeth and tongue.

Nasal problems

Continuous breathing through the mouth reduces salivation, a factor that could cause a yellow tongue.

The fact is that breathing through the mouth for a long period can cause a multitude of oral problems, for example, cavities, cracked lips, gum problems, yellow tongue, and more.

Read more: Causes of geographic tongue: symptoms, treatment and more

Yellow tongue linked to other diseases

A yellow tongue can also indicate a variety of other health problems. The following are some severe conditions that may be associated with your yellow tongue:


A yellow tongue is also a rare sign of HIV/AIDS (human immunodeficiency virus and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). In HIV, yellow tongue coating is usually caused by an oral infection due to a weakened immune system as a result of the virus. Thrush, dry mouth, tooth decay, canker sores, cold sores, and gum disease are all signs of HIV in the mouth.


Some people may fear oral cancer when there is a yellow coating on the tongue. However, a yellow tongue is probably due to another problem unless you show other signs of oral cancer such as unexplained bleeding in the mouth, numbness or loss of sensation in the mouth, difficulty chewing, speaking, swallowing, or moving the tongue or tongue. jaw, and sudden weight loss.

Strep throat and sore throat: 

Sometimes a yellow tongue is due to a sore throat or strep throat. As a result, there may also be other symptoms such as cough, earaches, fatigue, swollen glands or lymph nodes, nasal congestion, cold sores, bad breath, and yellow mucus on the tongue. In strep throat, there may be small white and yellow spots on the back of the tongue and tonsils.

Mononucleosis (mono):

Mononucleosis is commonly called mono. It is often caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EPV) and is transmitted through saliva. In this condition, the tongue and tonsils may develop a white and yellow coating. Other symptoms of mono include fatigue, swollen lymph glands in the armpits and neck, sore throat, fever, night sweats, and muscle weakness.

Yellow tongue treatments

We recommend that you visit your dentist as soon as possible to identify the main cause that is causing this discoloration of the tongue. This will determine the treatment that should be applied.

However, below we indicate some common treatments.

Improve oral hygiene

Everyone knows that teeth should be brushed daily, at least after each meal. Ideally, you should also brush your tongue to remove food debris and bacteria that are on the surface.

On the other hand, this brushing must be complemented with dental floss, since it helps clean food remains that are between the teeth and are unreachable by the brush. 

It is also advisable to finish with a mouthwash because it fights bacterial plaque.

Stop using tobacco products

Whether your tobacco consumption is moderate or severe, you should consider quitting, at least if you want to take care of your oral health and prevent the yellow tongue from appearing.

Excessive consumption of coffee or tea also increases the likelihood of yellowing of the tongue and teeth.

Do not eat foods with artificial colorings

Eating a healthy and balanced diet is essential for health. It is advisable to eliminate foods with artificial colors from the diet, and at least reduce consumption as much as possible.

It is also advisable to control the intake of foods with a high sugar content. They are not good for your health at all.

Go to the dentist

In those cases in which the cause is an infection or unknown condition, the solution is to go to the doctor or dentist to identify the origin and apply the corresponding treatment.

Read more: Treatment of kissing disease symptoms: causes, treatment, and more

Home remedies for yellow tongue

01: Mix 1 teaspoon of thyme oil in a cup of water and gargle several times throughout the day.

02: Gargle with peppermint oil daily.

03: Consume digestive enzyme supplements every day especially if the origin of the yellow tongue is due to digestive problems.

04: Eat foods rich in vitamin C such as tangerines, oranges, grapefruits, etc.

05: Pour 1 tablespoon of milk thistle into a cup of water and boil for 5 minutes. Let cool and strain. Take 1 time a day.

06: Swish grapefruit seed extract mixed with a little water.

07: Consume ginger and garlic with food.

08: Consume a cup of probiotic yogurt daily. A yellow tongue sometimes results from the overuse of antibiotics as we explained above. This happens because while antibiotics are prescribed for the elimination of bad bacteria, they often also destroy good bacteria. To counteract this effect, it helps to increase probiotics in your diet.

One of the simplest ways to do this is to enjoy probiotic yogurt. Probiotics are especially effective in cases where yellow patches are a side effect of antibiotics. It is also important to note that probiotics contain rich cultures that control bacterial growth in the mouth. You can also use probiotic supplements in addition to yogurt.

09: Gargle with aloe vera or aloe vera juice, as it has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. When used as a gargle, the juice allows the tongue to heal faster. It is also useful because it counteracts bad breath and helps you recover quickly.

10: Place a tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth and swish it around, making sure the yellow spots on your tongue come into contact with the oil. Swish the oil between your teeth and continue for 10 minutes. Do this until the oil turns a milky color, which is understandably full of bacteria and toxins. Spit out the oily mixture and then rinse your mouth with warm water.

Do not swallow the oil and avoid spitting it into the sink as the oil will easily solidify and cause a blocked drain. Repeat this procedure at least twice a day for excellent oral hygiene.

Read more: Why is my tongue white? baby, red spots, remedies & more

Recommendations for yellow tongue

Using a tongue scraper and dental hygiene: 

It is essential to brush your enamel and gums at least twice a day, and constantly after meals. After brushing, use a tongue scraper, preferably copper or metal. This will help remove bacteria and yellow film from your tongue.

Make dietary changes

The wrong diet can also feed the bacteria and yeast in your yellow tongue. It’s a good idea to avoid foods like alcohol, processed foods, dairy products, wheat and gluten, and sugary products. Instead, your diet should contain plenty of raw and steamed vegetables; fermented vegetables such as miso or sauerkraut; and sea vegetables such as nori, wakame, and kombu. Eat lots of vegetables and some organic meat to treat yellow tongue due to oral thrush or candida.

Quit Smoking

It’s a good idea to have a solid plan to quit smoking. Going unnoticed is quite difficult, even for those who leave with the best of intentions. A good plan should help you prevent relapse and other short- and long-term problems with quitting. Mind-body practices often used to help people quit smoking include aerobic exercise, yoga, acupuncture, meditation, guided imagery, aromatherapy, hypnosis, tai chi, and qigong. Also, keep in mind that drinking coffee or alcohol are other habits that may prevent you from quitting your smoking habit.

Drink plenty of fluids

Drinking plenty of fluids is another safe way to avoid dehydration and therefore help you get rid of tongue discoloration like a yellow tongue. For those with an inactive lifestyle, try to drink a minimum of eight 8-oz. glasses of filtered water daily. For people with a more active lifestyle, it is best to drink 16 oz. of water for every pound you lose It’s also best to avoid dehydration from liquids like caffeinated tea and coffee.

Go to the doctor If you have had a yellow tongue for several days and the various treatments and natural remedies have not helped, it is advisable to make an appointment with your doctor so that he can check the tongue and find the cause of the problem.

Read more: Most common tongue diseases, symptoms, treatment & more


The normal thing is that the yellow tongue is caused by a reason that is relatively simple to solve, although certain situations could be caused by more complex issues.

For this reason, if you are suffering from this symptom, you have to go to the dentist to identify the cause that causes this yellowish color.

In any case, whether you suffer from this symptom or not, we recommend that you periodically clean your mouth, at least once a year. This visit to the dentist will also serve to check your mouth and detect possible problems.

Read more: How to choose the best tongue cleaner scraper?

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