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Yellow Tongue: Causes, Treatments and Best Home Remedies

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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.

1.     Antibiotics

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.

6.     Jaundice

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.

7.     Infections

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.

A yellow tongue is sometimes a symptom of diseases of our immune system, such as HIV or AIDS, but it is only one of the signs then. You will also have a yellow tongue if a yeast infection developed in your mouth. If the yellow coating has built up under your tongue, it may be a sign of gallstones, alcoholic hepatitis, or viral hepatitis.

Best Home Remedies to Yellow Tongue

Yellow tongue is usually just a minor condition, which often goes away on its own, but if you do not like the appearance of it, you can try various home remedies, which should quickly help you to get rid of it naturally and permanently.

1.     Prepare Your Own Mouthwash

If the yellow coating on your tongue is caused by a bacterial infection, you may prepare your own antibacterial mouthwash to eliminate the bacteria from your mouth. You only need water and hydrogen peroxide to prepare it.

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Simply mix five parts of water with one part of hydrogen peroxide and use it to gargle your mouth and throat in the morning and in the evening. Remember, not to swallow the solution, though. After a few days of such a therapy, you should forget about your yellow tongue.

2.     More Fiber

If you deal with the problem of yellow tongue, you should include more fiber in your diet as it will improve your digestion process, which will have a positive influence on your gastrointestinal health and eliminate the yellow coating from your tongue.

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However, introduce fiber gradually into your diet as otherwise you may end up with stomach problems, such as diarrhea or bloating. Also, remember that if you want fiber to do its work, you need to drink a lot of water with it.

3.     Less Alcohol

If you deal with a yellow tongue, you should avoid drinking alcohol as when drunk regularly, you can irritate your throat and your tongue. What’s more, alcohol is bad for your stomach and may lead to acid reflux, which then often contributes to the problem of a yellow tongue.

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Therefore, drink alcohol only on special occasions and even then drink it in small amounts. When you drink alcohol regularly, you may seriously weaken your immune system. As a result you can develop various bacterial or viral infections more easily.

4.     Quit Smoking

Smoking cigarettes is as bad for you as alcohol or maybe even worse. If you smoke cigarettes every day, your teeth and tongue may get a yellow shade. Cigarettes reduce the production of saliva, which makes your mouth and throat dry. At the same time, however, it increases the production of mucus, which may accumulate in your throat.

As a result, smoking cigarettes can significantly contribute to the problem of a yellow tongue and it will be difficult for you to get rid of this problem if you keep smoking.

5.     Eat Probiotics

As a yellow tongue is often the consequence of a therapy with antibiotics or when you deal with a bacterial or viral infection, you should include probiotics into your daily diet. They provide the balance of good and bad bacteria in your organism and therefore they can reduce the problem of a yellow tongue.

You can buy supplements with probiotics, but natural ones will be a much healthier option. Simply drink a cup of natural yogurt or kefir every day and you will protect yourself against bad bacteria. Remember, though, that you should not choose yogurts with sugar as they lose their beneficial properties then.

If you do not like the taste of natural yogurt, you can add to it some fresh fruit like berries or strawberries, or some honey.

6.     Have Good Oral Hygiene

If you want to get rid of the yellow coating on your tongue, you need to remember about maintaining proper oral hygiene. Therefore, remember to brush not only your teeth, but your tongue too. You can easily get a toothbrush with a special ending which is used to clean your tongue. This way you can remove the yellow coating from your tongue on a daily basis.

If you have a tendency to bacterial infections in your mouth, brushing your teeth may not be enough and you should also remember about flossing after every meal and using a mouthwash in the morning and in the evening. Choose a mouthwash which is alcohol-free so as not to irritate your tongue.

7.     Stay Hydrated

If you suffer from a yellow tongue and you want to get rid of it, remember to drink a lot of water throughout the day. It will naturally clean your tongue from the yellow coating and flush the toxins out of your mouth and organism.

It is recommended to drink about eight glasses of water a day or even more if it is a hot day or when you spend a lot of time in the air-conditioned rooms. The best idea is to always keep a small bottle of mineral water on your desk or in your bag and sip it throughout your day.

Yellow Tongue – When to See a Doctor

Yellow tongue is rarely a serious condition, but if the coating does not go away after a week, you should consult the matter with a doctor. Visit him also when you notice some other symptoms , such as bad breath or pain in your mouth.

If your doctor suspects that the cause of your yellow tongue is serious or that it is due to a bacterial or viral infection, he will prescribe you some antibiotics or he will order you to do some medical tests, such as blood or urine tests.

What Does Your Tongue Color Say About Your Health

Your tongue may provide you with a lot of information about your health. Its color, texture, shape, or bumps are all like a map for a professional such as a herbalist or a naturopath, who is able to detect an allergy, a digestive problem, vitamins deficiency, high cholesterol, or poor blood circulation just by looking at your tongue.

If you are a healthy person, your tongue should have a pink color, it can have a mild white coating and it should not have any cracks or ulcers. If you run your fingertips across your tongue, you should feel that the surface is quite smooth, but with tiny nodules, which are called papillae.

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Apart from a yellow one, your tongue may have other colors too, depending on the cause. Your tongue may be bright red, which may suggest some deficiency in certain minerals, for example iron or vitamins from group B. You should be alarmed, though, if you notice that your child has a bright red tongue as it may be a sign of a serious medical condition, such as Kawasaki disease or scarlet fever.

Your tongue may also be pale, which may indicate that it lacks hemoglobin, which is a very important protein located in your red blood cells. Hemoglobin has a very important task to perform in your organism as it delivers oxygen to the tissues of your body. If your organism does not have a proper amount of hemoglobin, you may feel tired, have skin problems, or easily catch infections.

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Sometimes, however, your pale tongue may indicate a bacterial infection or that some dead cells have accumulated in your tongue papillae. Rarely, a pale tongue may be a symptom of oral thrush, which is a yeast infection. The first thing, however, which you should do when you notice a pale tongue is including iron-rich food products into your everyday diet, such as lean meat, liver, beets, and spinach.

Your tongue may also get a bluish or purple shade and most commonly it is an indication that you have some problems with blood circulation. It is a state which should be treated as poor blood circulation may lead to fatigue, lethargy, and even depression. A tongue sometimes turns purple if you have some heart problems due to high cholesterol or if you suffer from bronchitis.

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A black tongue happens rarely and it is usually a result of antibiotics or other medicines. Your tongue may turn black if you use tobacco and cigarettes excessively or when your oral hygiene is poor. In such a case remember to brush your teeth thoroughly and regularly. You can also clean your tongue with a special ending or a tongue scraper, but be gentle so as not to irritate your tongue.

A white tongue is usually a symptom of dehydration or a condition known as leukoplakia. It is simply the accumulation of cells which is caused by some tongue irritants with smoking being the most common one. It may also happen that only the tip of your tongue changes color, usually to the bright red. Interestingly, it may be a sign that you have a stressful time in your life.

What Does Your Tongue Texture Say About Your Health

Not only the color of your tongue gives you some information about your health. The texture of it is important as well and you should check it regularly by simply running your finger along your throat as some changes in the texture of your tongue may help you detect some illnesses at an early stage.

You would probably think that a smooth tongue is a sign of good health, but actually you should feel tiny papillae when you touch your tongue. If it is absolutely smooth, it may mean that your organism lacks some vitamins or minerals. For example, deficiency of B vitamin may lead to a condition known as geographic tongue.

Your tongue may also get wrinkled, which is usually just a natural sign of aging. It may be annoying, but is usually harmless. However, your tongue may be more sensitive to spicy food, which can cause a burning sensation in your tongue. It is also more easily for bacteria or debris to accumulate on the surface of your tongue.

You may also notice or feel some bumps on your tongue or it may be sore. However, most commonly it happens because you have probably bitten your tongue. In such a case, the problem will resolve on its own after a few days. A sore or bumpy tongue may be a sign of a bacterial or viral infection too. Also, it may be an allergic reaction to certain food products, such as fruit or spicy foods.

A dry tongue is usually only a symptom of stress, but if it happens permanently without the factor of stress, you should consult a doctor as it may indicate so called Sjogren’s syndrome, which is an immunological disorder. If the cause is minor but your dry tongue irritates you, you can dilute a tablespoon of cider vinegar in a glass of water and drink it once a day. It will boost the production of saliva and clean your tongue.

Extra Tips for Healthy Tongue

If you can observe that your tongue often changes its color or texture, or that it is hypersensitive to temperature and certain food products, there are some tips which you can follow to improve the appearance and maintain good health of your tongue.

First of all, remember about proper hygiene of your oral cavity, but do not overdo it as when you take too much care of it and you use a lot of strong mouthwashes, you can only irritate your tongue and deprive it of its natural protective layer. Therefore, remember about regular brushing and flossing, but use a natural mouthwash. You can simply dilute some cider vinegar in a glass of water and use it as a mouthwash.

Secondly, eat probiotics and fermented food products as they will help you keep good balance of good and bad bacteria in your organism. You can choose supplements with probiotics, but for sure a healthier option will be eating yogurt or kefir every day.

Do not forget about the importance of a healthy diet as it significantly contributes to proper functioning of your organism. As the appearance of your tongue is often the reflection of your overall health, it is important to lead a healthy lifestyle.

Your tongue does not like being exposed to extreme temperatures or extreme tastes. Therefore, avoid drinking extremely hot or cold liquids. Also, do not eat very spicy foods as they can irritate your tongue. Some people are also sensitive to acids which are present in fruits, especially citrus fruit.

Nevertheless, you should not avoid spices and herbs. In fact, it is recommended to use them on a daily basis as they can boost your digestive process and it is worth mentioning that your tongue may change its color to an unhealthy one due to digestion problems.

Last but not least, if there are some abnormalities in the appearance of your tongue, you should strengthen your immune system. The best natural way to do it is by preparing special ginger tea. Simply peel and slice a small piece of fresh ginger root and boil it for a few minutes in water. Strain it, add some lemon and honey to it and drink it before your meals. This simple remedy will boost your immune system and clean your oral cavity from all the bacteria and debris, leaving your tongue clean and healthy.

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