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Overview 

Yellow tongue is usually a temporary and harmless symptom that goes away on its own. The most common cause of yellow tongue is a condition known as black hairy tongue, which manifests as yellow tongue. It may sometimes be a sign of jaundice.

A yellow tongue means an excessive quantity of germs growth. When an excessive quantity of the Candida fungus grows on the tongue, it causes a mouth yeast infection, often known as yellow tongue. Bacterial growth on the tongue may turn it yellow or orange in color. Yeast infections in the mouth may affect individuals of all ages. However, the illness might sometimes be an indication of a more severe health problem that requires medical treatment, most often jaundice. Moreover, it also means the presence of infection like Covid-19. People infected with the virus may have a coating on the tongue which is speculated as yellow tongue Covid.

In these conditions, medical attention is required. However, it is more common among those who use steroid medicines or have compromised immune systems than in the general population.

Yellow tongue may strike anybody at any time. People who engage in particular behaviors, such as smoking, may be more susceptible to tongue discoloration.

Self-care is frequently sufficient to manage yellow tongue symptoms unless the yellow tongue is caused by another medical problem.

In most cases, good dental hygiene will fully eliminate yellow tongue. Cleaning germs or other deposits off the tongue’s surface using a toothbrush or tongue scraper may be useful.

It may be beneficial to avoid future darkening of the tongue by refraining from using tobacco or smoking.

Causes

A harmless deposit of dead skin cells on the surface of the tongue’s small projections causes yellow tongue. It occurs when the papillae get bigger and the mouth’s microorganisms generate colorful pigments. Aside from that, shed cells colored by tobacco, food, or other things may be readily collected by the papillae.

There is also a relationship between yellow tongue and mouth breathing or dry mouth.

Some other common causes of yellow tongue are mentioned below:

Black hairy tongue:Bacteria or fungus cause an expanded, elongated, hair-like covering to form on the tongue’s surface, resulting in a non-cancerous disease known as black hairy tongue. Although the tongue is usually black in color, it may seem yellow, blue, or green depending on the environment.

As the papillae, which are little bumps that surround the tip and sides of the tongue, get bigger, this symptom develops. Bacteria, dirt, food, and other items may accumulate on these bumps, altering their color and making them more noticeable. Your tongue may become yellow or other colors before it turns black.

People feel nausea, gagging, poor breath, and a burning sensation in their mouths, despite the fact that the majority of individuals seek treatment for the ailment only for its look.

Geographic tongue: This condition arises when the papillae on the surface of the tongue are absent. The disorder is characterized by missing spots on the surface of the tongue that seem to be covered with maps. Patches are often red, although they may also be yellow. They may be painful at times.

Dry mouth: It is characterized by a lack of saliva in the mouth. Saliva helps to keep the teeth healthy and prevents tooth decay by cleaning the mouth of microorganisms. A variety of factors may induce mouth dryness, including unpleasant medication responses, autoimmune diseases and diabetes, as well as radiation and chemotherapy. Another cause of dry mouth is inhaling and exhaling via your mouth while sleeping. The condition results in an unhealthy tongue.

Jaundice:It is a discoloration and yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes. When the liver is damaged, it becomes unable to effectively handle the waste product bilirubin. It is a yellow pigment formed by the breakdown of RBCs. The skin, the whites of the eyes, and the inside of the mouth may become yellow as bilirubin levels in the blood rise.

Gastric conditions or infections: A yellow tongue coating has been seen in conditions that promote stomach lining irritation. A yellow, thicker tongue coating has been linked to persistent episodes of gastritis or stomach lining inflammation, particularly when caused by the bacterium H pylori.

Poor oral hygiene: Skin cells and germs may build up on the papillae of the tongue if you do not brush your teeth regularly and properly. Bacteria create pigments that may turn the tongue yellow. Food, tobacco, and other chemicals may cling to the tongue and cause it to become yellow.

When to see a doctor

If you experience thesymptoms of jaundice or liver damage like abdominal pain, blood in feces, vomiting, fever, and easy bruising and bleeding, you should call your doctor immediately.

You should also see your doctor if the yellow color has not dissipated after two weeks and your tongue hurts.