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Yellow tongue is a staining caused by the accumulation of bacteria on the surface. People who have poor oral hygiene, or who smoke or take certain medications are prone to yellow tongue. In most cases, yellow tongue is harmless. Improving oral hygiene usually solves the problem.

Why do I have yellow tongue?

Yellow tongue is a yellowish discoloration of the tongue. In most cases, this condition is harmless and temporary. It usually occurs when bacteria accumulate on the surface of the papillae (small hair-like projections on the tongue).

Most people recover completely from yellow tongue. Self-care and increased attention to oral hygiene usually resolves the problem.

Who is affected by yellow tongue?

Anyone can notice yellow tongue one day. People who smoke or take certain medications are more likely to suffer from it on a recurring basis…

What are the causes of yellow tongue?

Several factors can cause tongue discoloration. As mentioned above, poor oral hygiene, also certain foods such as coffee and tea, smoking, breathing through the mouth, producing dehydration and facilitating the adhesion of bacteria to the tongue and certain infectious diseases.

Other causes of yellow tongue may be:

  • Overgrowth of bacteria on the surface of the tongue.
  • Certain foods.
  • Alcohol intake.
  • Certain ingredients in mouthwashes, such as chlorhexidine, alcohol and menthol.

What are the symptoms of yellow tongue?

In most cases, yellow tongue causes no symptoms other than tongue discoloration. But if you have yellow tongue, you may also notice:

  • Halitosis or bad breath.
  • Bad taste in your mouth.
  • Burning sensation.
  • Taste distortions.
  • Dry mouth.

How do you get rid of yellow tongue?

In most cases, proper oral hygiene practices will completely resolve yellow tongue. A toothbrush or tongue scraper can help remove any bacteria or other build-up on the surface of the tongue.

Can yellow tongue be prevented?

Proper oral hygiene is the best way to prevent yellow tongue. For best results, you should:

  • Brush your teeth two to three times a day with a soft brush and a non-abrasive fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss between teeth once a day, using dental floss or interproximal brushes.
  • Use your toothbrush or a tongue scraper to remove dead cells and bacteria from the surface of your tongue.
  • Rinse your mouth twice a day with an antibacterial mouthwash.
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