You may be worried if you have noticed that when you stick out your tongue, you can observe that it is covered with a yellow layer. It is quite a common condition and in most cases it is nothing serious, however, in rare situations it may be a sign of a more complex medical disorder.
Read on and find out what the most common causes of yellow tongue are, when and how you can get rid of the problem on your own with the use of simple home remedies, and when you might need a medical treatment.
The Most Common Causes of Yellow Tongue
Yellow tongue is usually only a temporary condition and it often goes away before you even manage to find the culprit of the problem. However, if it starts to be permanent or if it is accompanied by other symptoms too, you will probably have to consult your doctor about it.
You should not probably be worried if you notice that your tongue has a yellow color during the treatment with antibiotics as they may lead to the imbalance in the level of your microbes. Therefore, the yellow coating you can see on your tongue, may simply be some bacteria or yeast.
If you want to get rid of it or prevent it, you should always take probiotics together with antibiotics. You may take them in the form of supplements or choose natural ones, such as natural yogurt or kefir.
2. Yellow Furry Tongue or Black Hairy Tongue
It may happen that some dead skin or food particles accumulate on your tongue together with yeast or bacteria. It usually occurs when your papillae are rough, swollen, or enlarged. In case of a yellow furry tongue or black hairy tongue you may also feel the itching sensation or tickling as well as a metallic taste in your mouth or bad breath.
3. Oral Cavity Care Products
Care products for your oral cavity can of course clean your mouth from bacteria and they can be a good support of brushing. However, some of mouthwashes may make your tongue look yellow or even orange. The oral care products which contain some oxidizing agents are responsible for a yellow tongue most commonly.
If you want to check if your mouthwash is the cause of your problem, do not use it for a few days and see if the problem disappears. If it turns out that your mouthwash is responsible for your yellow tongue, change it to a different one.
4. Papillae Inflammation
A yellow tongue may also be caused by the inflammation of the papillae. It usually occurs as a result of tooth extraction, tonsillectomy, or piercing. If you want to prevent it, you should always follow the advice of your specialist when it comes to oral care after such procedures. Otherwise, you may only end up with an infection and one of its symptoms is a yellow tongue.
5. Post-nasal Drainage
If you frequently deal with a sinus infection or it is even a chronic condition to you, it is also possible that you produce a lot of mucus, which builds up at the back of your nose and then it flows down your throat. This occurrence is known as post-nasal drainage in medical terms and it is often a result of a sinus or throat infection. However, it may also appear as a consequence of an allergy, swallowing disorder, or acid reflux.
It may happen that a yellow tongue may the sign of jaundice. In such a case you may also notice that your eyes and your skin start to have a yellow shade. Jaundice needs immediate medical consultation as it may suggest serious liver problems.
A yellow coating on the tongue may be a sign of the infection too. Interestingly, when the coating appears at the back of your throat, it may suggest the beginning of a urinary tract infection. On the other hand, a yellow coating in the front of your tongue may be a symptom of an upper respiratory tract infection. In both cases, however, you will probably experience other symptoms too.
8. Other Causes
As you have already read, in most cases a yellow tongue is caused by minor causes. Sometimes, however, it is a sign of a more serious medical condition. For example, the accumulation of yellow coating on tongue may appear in cancer, but it will be accompanied by other symptoms too.
A yellow tongue may appear if you have a sore throat too, it is often accompanied by fever, swollen lymph nodes, or pain while swallowing. Mononucleosis, which is more commonly known as the kissing disease, may cause a yellow tongue as well. The disease is transmitted through your saliva, but it also causes accompanying symptoms, such as sore throat, headache, skin rash, fever, fatigue, or swollen lymph nodes.