When you’re searching for information on discolored tongues you will find tongues every possible, unsightly color from green to purple. However, the most common colors for an ailing, discolored tongue are white, yellow, black, and red. Here are some of the reasons for these less-than-desirable tongue colors.
White Discolored Tongue
A discolored tongue that appears white may have a white film or coating. This coat can be caused by bacterial growth on your tongue, oral thrush, or leukoplakia.
Bacterial growth on the tongue is very normal and doesn’t usually cause pain, discomfort, or problems other than bad breath. However, when tongue bacteria is left to its own accord, it will continue to accumulate and may cause oral thrush.
Yellow Discolored Tongue
A yellowish discolored tongue can be the result of tongue bacteria that have been stained by dark colored food or drinks such as coffee or tea. Yellow tongue is often a precursor to black, hairy tongue, which we will cover in a moment.
Yellow discolored tongue can also follow the use to tobacco or alcohol. In rare cases a yellow tongue is an indicator of liver or gallbladder problems.
Black Discolored Tongue
A black discolored tongue normally means you have black, hairy tongue (that, or you just ate an Oreo). Black, hairy tongue is caused by papillae on your tongue that grow longer than normal. When papillae are longer they pick up more bacteria which are then stained easily by dark colored drinks or pigmented foods.
Black, hairy tongue looks worst after a big cup of coffee because coffee is usually so dark.
Red Discolored Tongue
Your tongue may be red if it is swollen or irritated. Often hot, spicy, or acidic food will irritate your taste buds and cause your tongue to take on a new hue from fiery red to a bright pink color. Trauma to your tongue, including biting or pinching it, can also cause swelling and discoloration.
Curing a Discolored Tongue
As you may have noticed, many of the causes of discolored tongue revolve around tongue bacteria. In these cases, and in general, the best way to cure a discolored tongue is to clean it. Just like you clean your teeth with a toothbrush, you need to clean your tongue with a tongue brush, specifically an Orabrush.
The Orabrush is designed with soft, microfiber bristles that pull bacteria from in between your taste buds, removing it from your tongue. Once all that nasty bacteria is pulled away, your tongue can return to its normal color and will become healthier–not a bad trade.