If there is anything worse than a white tongue it is probably a yellow tongue. There are many different causes of yellow tongue, but most of them focus on swollen papillae (those little taste buds on your tongue). Here are a few different causes.
Causes of Yellow Tongue
As we just mentioned, papillae on your tongue can become irritated and inflamed. This happens when certain foods or substances you put in your mouth have a bad reaction with your tongue.
For example, hot, spicy, or highly acidic foods can cause a burning sensation on your tongue, to which your papillae respond with swelling. Other substances that irritate the tongue are alcohol, tobacco products, and coffee.
The problem with inflamed papillae is that they tend to pick up extra, unwanted bacteria that latch onto your tongue and cause bad breath, bacterial infections, and that white or yellow, filmy slime on the surface of your tongue. Yellow tongue is usually the side effect of bacteria on your tongue that begin to produce pigment, staining the coating on your tongue.
If you do not take care of your bacteria covered tongue quickly, the bacteria can continue to build up, causing more serious bacterial infections and fungal growth known as oral thrush.
A yellow tongue can also be an early sign of black, hairy tongue, an unfortunate (but harmless) condition that normally starts when papillae grow too long for the normal tongue. When the papillae grow, they pick up more bacteria.
Before you know it, you happen to drink some morning coffee or tea and notice your tongue has turned a strange color. Well, that morning beverage has a dark pigment that stains your extra long taste buds and the bacteria thereon. Voila, yellow (or brown, or green) tongue.
In a few rare cases, yellow tongue has been known to be the side effect of liver or gallbladder problems. Chances are that isn’t your problem, but see a doctor if the symptoms persist and you begin to notice other liver or gallbladder problems.
Often, yellow tongue is aggravated by poor oral hygiene, fever, mouth breathing, dehydration, and some types of anti-depressants and antihistamines. Yellow tongue is also sometimes accompanied by a cotton mouth feeling or itching in the mouth. See a doctor if either of these symptoms occur.
Preventing Yellow Tongue
There are a few things you can do to prevent yellow tongue. First, avoid alcohol, tobacco products, and coffee or other drinks with dark pigments. Next, you can stay aware of side effects from any medications you may be taking. Also, try not to breathe through your mouth on a regular basis. And most importantly, practice good oral hygiene!
Oral hygiene, including brushing your teeth, flossing, and brushing your tongue, can greatly improve your oral health and the color of your tongue. Brushing your tongue, especially with an Orabrush, will remove bacteria from the surface of your tongue, help shorten your papillae, and remove pigments from your tongue. All around, the Orabrush is your best tool to fight a yellow tongue.