Yellow tongue: what are the most common causes
Poor oral hygiene
It represents the main cause of the problem. Poor oral hygiene leads to bacterial proliferation in the oral cavity and colonization of the spaces between the taste buds, giving a widespread yellow pigmentation especially in the back and central part of the tongue.
The coloring is also associated with bad breath. Correct oral hygiene (of which we will give more information below), allows you to solve the problem of both the yellow tongue and halitosis .
Particular foods and drinks
Another factor that plays a primary role in the yellow color of the tongueand trivially linked to what we introduce inside the mouth. There are numerous foods and drinks that give this effect, some quite well-known, such as black tea , coffee , spices such as turmeric, paprika and cinnamon, as well as chocolate and licorice. Generally, after brushing your teeth, brushing your tongue, the color vanishes.
The habit of smoking, among the many negative effects also includes the conferment of a yellow color on the tongue and the presence of white plaques that indicate a chronic lesion.
The yellow tongueit can occur after taking certain medications, including some antibiotics such as macrolides.
Infection due to a yeast, candida , which mainly affects infants, the elderly and immunosuppressed subjects. The tongue and oral cavity are filled with white or yellowish papules, which are easily removed during brushing.
The tongue may appear yellow as a result of unbalanced diets, low in elements that lead to deficiencies in B vitaminsand iron. Therefore its color can often be a very important index for the diagnosis of particular nutritional deficiencies, for this very often during the visit the doctor checks the color of the tongue.
It manifests itself as a small white or yellow spot located on the tongue (or generally on the oral mucosa), and it is a potentially malignant lesion, therefore a sign that should not be underestimated as it represents a real risk of transforming into carcinoma oral . This phenomenon mainly affects men over 40 years of age with a habit of smoking and alcohol consumption. To learn more, you can read our guide on this symptoms by clicking here .
Gastric and hepatic disorders
Although it is often thought that yellow tongue and halitosis are the consequence of gastroesophageal reflux or gastritis, in reality these disorders affect the phenomenon in a small percentage of the total cases. Even pathologies affecting the liver and biliary tract in a minimal part of cases can result in tongue staining.
These are mostly subjects suffering from jaundice , which is a condition in which there are high levels of bilirubin in the blood , resulting from an obstruction of the biliary tract, which gives a characteristic yellow color to the skin, eyes and tongue.
Yellow tongue: what to do
As seen theyellow tongue is not a sign that must arouse particular fears and anxieties, in fact it is a phenomenon mostly connected to poor oral hygiene or to the consumption of certain foods or drinks, or even to smoking .
In these cases the phenomenon finds an easy resolution. If the coloring is linked to the intake of a certain food or drink, it will be sufficient to brush the tongue well after consumption to eliminate traces. If, on the other hand, the working day or private life involves direct contact, and therefore interaction with other people, and the awareness of having a yellow tongue makes one feel uncomfortable, it will be sufficient to refrain from the consumption of that given substance in view of the ‘I commit. As for the color given by smoking, the disorder can be a further reason to stop this bad habit.
The other big issue related to the yellow coloring of the tongueand that relating to oral hygiene. As anticipated before, let’s then see which practices are indicated to maintain correct oral hygiene and limit the onset of this phenomenon.
What habits are recommended for maintaining optimal oral hygiene
- Brush your teeth 3 times a day, taking care to clean the toothbrush after use and replace it regularly (every 3 months or when visually worn);
- Use dental floss (or brush) and mouthwash every day (on medical advice, depending on the case, a chlorhexidine-containing mouthwash is prescribed);
- Clean the tongue with the special tongue cleaners supplied with many toothbrushes;
- Undergo dental examinations at least once a year and perform a scaling once every 6 months;
- If dentures or dental prostheses are used, care must be taken to clean them properly and frequently.
Proper oral hygiene allows you to keep bacterial proliferation under control, therefore the formation of plaque and the development of dental pathologies, counteracting the onset of bad breath and spots on the tongue.
If, on the other hand, the yellow tongue persists despite the adoption of good rules for oral hygiene, if it is associated with persistent bad breath, and possibly with manifestations such as dry mouth, pain, or above all, the appearance of lesions on the surface of the language , it is necessary to contact your doctor who, having read the condition, may request the execution of more specific and in-depth investigations.