3

votes

Why is my tongue yellow?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created February 09, 2012 at 1:29 PM

I've been to an ENT, 2 family doctors and a dentist. They said it's nothing much (although I did get prescribed nystatin - did nothing).

But I'm not satisfied with having a yellow tongue!!

Here's a picture: http://imgur.com/6v77c

Has anyone experience this?

I eat paleo, obviously.

6cb2b961935fa2b55b24a8e6176d9bcf

on April 27, 2014
at 08:08 PM

Go see an Asian wellness doctor who deals with tinctures, they can see different illnesses by looking at eye whites, color of tongue looking in ears eyc. Very beneficial

C6032b723b12cf0073ec6d22c5f4e7ae

on June 08, 2013
at 12:46 AM

My tongue looks the exact same. I'm assuming it has something to do with liver problems and/or digestive problems.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on June 07, 2013
at 11:57 PM

As I wrote in my answer, hairy tongue can have different lengths and be different colors. I just added a second photo and edited my answer to emphasize this fact. The affected area of the tongue can also vary. Since the original poster's photo is very blurry, he's the only one who can tell how different or similar my picture is to his.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on June 07, 2013
at 11:45 PM

As I wrote in my answer, hairy tongue can have different lengths and be different colors. Search in Google Images for "hairy tongue" to get an idea of the range of appearances. Since the original poster's photo is very blurry, he's the only one who can tell how different or similar my picture is to his.

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on June 07, 2013
at 04:35 PM

This is white and looks totally different.

Bdc6244bdbd664d2168a8e326018ffbe

(431)

on February 23, 2013
at 07:48 PM

Rodger, did you ever figure this out?

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on May 16, 2012
at 06:21 AM

It's definitely bacterial growth. A raw carrot daily or just using vinegar and baking soda can make it disappear too.

58c33847c5b7ecbf6572075df2cdd002

(866)

on April 12, 2012
at 08:05 PM

Try cutting the coffee and tea. Also, do you smoke?

45c9355413cc7ecfd2099c95d3d30e63

(65)

on February 09, 2012
at 07:17 PM

FWIW the ENT specialist said it wasn't a fungus

45c9355413cc7ecfd2099c95d3d30e63

(65)

on February 09, 2012
at 07:00 PM

not a chance I can do a 10-day fast.

45c9355413cc7ecfd2099c95d3d30e63

(65)

on February 09, 2012
at 07:00 PM

ya I drink coffee or tea daily brushing it doesn't help much. Scraping it with a spoon might work better

45c9355413cc7ecfd2099c95d3d30e63

(65)

on February 09, 2012
at 06:59 PM

hope for me yet...

45c9355413cc7ecfd2099c95d3d30e63

(65)

on February 09, 2012
at 06:59 PM

Tried a full course of nystatin and it did nothing. It's yellow, which makes me think it's not candidiasis.

45c9355413cc7ecfd2099c95d3d30e63

(65)

on February 09, 2012
at 06:58 PM

This is reassuring. I'll start scraping more often. I honestly don't want to go low-carb tho. I'm too active.

9143379e9450c76e3246db057133833d

(273)

on February 09, 2012
at 04:20 PM

Interesting question. I also had a yellow tongue at times on a paleo diet. After going more in a Ray Peat direction, so more carbs unlike eric below, it cleared up. Thing is, I have no idea why. I've heard the explanations about toxins being released from the liver and so on but haven't really seen any compelling evidence for it. Hopefully someone can give you a good answer because I would be quite interested to know what mine was and why it cleared up.

9dd4d453f7ebd7fd2a82814d08fc8f17

(581)

on February 09, 2012
at 04:15 PM

if it's really because of toxins, i would say that's a reactive method because it's a method of management after the tongue had turned color. might be a better investment of time/effort to find out if/which toxins r involved and remove them.

C4134ed417dbc0a6b79ab2cee32632d3

(1811)

on February 09, 2012
at 03:14 PM

Do you eat dairy in your pale diet? I only get this when I had tea/coffee with milk. If I have black tea/coffee then it doesn't go yellow. Cola doesn't affect my tongue either.

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14 Answers

2
Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on February 09, 2012
at 04:17 PM

I used to have an abundance of "yellow" on the back of my tongue like you. About 5 years ago, I incorporated a gentle (albeit plastic) tongue scraper into my daily routine (alongside brushing and flossing). The yellow stopped coming back after about a week of use.

My assumption what that it was simple, normal bacteria growth (or its waste products) in the mouth. I haven't eaten an abundance of carbs (sugar) for years, so I haven't seen a cavity in about as long, so maybe it was a pH related occurence.

Regardless, the "yellow" was unsightly -- and the tongue scraper worked.

45c9355413cc7ecfd2099c95d3d30e63

(65)

on February 09, 2012
at 06:58 PM

This is reassuring. I'll start scraping more often. I honestly don't want to go low-carb tho. I'm too active.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on May 16, 2012
at 06:21 AM

It's definitely bacterial growth. A raw carrot daily or just using vinegar and baking soda can make it disappear too.

1
45c9355413cc7ecfd2099c95d3d30e63

on February 13, 2012
at 02:00 PM

I've been scraping, but it's not going away. If anyone else has suggestions, please chime in.

58c33847c5b7ecbf6572075df2cdd002

(866)

on April 12, 2012
at 08:05 PM

Try cutting the coffee and tea. Also, do you smoke?

6cb2b961935fa2b55b24a8e6176d9bcf

on April 27, 2014
at 08:08 PM

Go see an Asian wellness doctor who deals with tinctures, they can see different illnesses by looking at eye whites, color of tongue looking in ears eyc. Very beneficial

1
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on February 09, 2012
at 04:47 PM

A tongue scraper helped me but, as said by justin, that's reactive.

On ancestral eating, the yellow went away but reappears occasionally. If I eat a meal that causes a temporary flare-up of GERD I can expect a yellow tongue for a while. I figure it's a combination of reflux and bacterial overgrowth.

Eating too late in the day definitely is a trigger particularly if the meal included carbs. Interestingly enough, beef never causes a problem even if I eat heavily and neither do salads--the foods I have to watch are fruits and starches late in the day.

0
2c612e3bf373ce2fca02eb2652e8b632

on April 27, 2014
at 03:22 PM

Mine has always been coated since going paleo ... But seems more coated now that I have a cold and a stuffy nose .. could be sinuses .. but most likely candida or low stomach acid! Anyway this is an old thread .. have you got any updates?

0
463e09e6e28c4f2591aaca88bf0c3cef

(248)

on September 07, 2013
at 12:44 AM

I read (in a free e-book, so it's not to be fully/blindly trusted) that build-up on the tongue was due to excess yeast in the body. Apparently we can reduce this yeast by eating less sugars and starches. I cut out fruits and my tongue (which looked like yours) has gotten pinker. Who knows?

0
4ae58220bd747d076ea1b3212244731e

on June 07, 2013
at 03:11 PM

I get it from drinking coffee, but with regular sugar. I switched to Agave nectar, and my tongue stopped turning yellow. Today I was out of the agave, and used regular sugar, and BAM, my tongue is gross yellow. It might be from the sugar.

0
758bb798c238ffc6f5df5b70a3bc135a

on October 25, 2012
at 01:47 PM

So its most likely from coffee? I have recently started drinking a lot more coffee than I ever had

0
5f2b8e0a671b7eaae8a6bd97f0ded166

(120)

on May 16, 2012
at 06:06 AM

I used to had that problem. But eventually it went away on its own. Though i changed my diet a lot. I eat very limited types of food and mostly follow ray peat style diet. I think yellow tongue got to do with liver problem. Good protein helps with liver function. I am not sure, but i think i saw improvements in tongue color and over all health after i stopped eating all kind of polyunsaturated oils. I hope it helps.

0
7f4d3d2bcc529a65c7bc2e91cc7b14d6

(0)

on April 12, 2012
at 07:27 PM

James, oral thrush looks totally different, first of all its very white and the texture is totally different....my neice and nephew have had it and ive seen a few cases.

0
5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on February 09, 2012
at 04:47 PM

I'm guessing oral thrush (Candidiasis), thus the Nystatin. You need to take that for a week or so for it to kick in though (doesn't go away in a day). Did you take the full course? Check with your doctor for other options since the Nystatin didn't work. Other than that, look up oral thrush on the net and see your options (I don't recall ever getting it).

My guesses. The yeast overgrowth is due to changes in the mouth/diet/immune system. So make sure you're taking your vitamin D, look into some oral probiotics (to help crowd out the thrush), maybe tea tree oil gargles, and see if there's specific things in your diet that seem to aggravate it.

Oh, and make sure you sterilize/replace your toothbrushes so you don't keep recontaminating yourself with that particular strain.

45c9355413cc7ecfd2099c95d3d30e63

(65)

on February 09, 2012
at 06:59 PM

Tried a full course of nystatin and it did nothing. It's yellow, which makes me think it's not candidiasis.

45c9355413cc7ecfd2099c95d3d30e63

(65)

on February 09, 2012
at 07:17 PM

FWIW the ENT specialist said it wasn't a fungus

0
1096aa84d006fe967128ffbd37e8070e

(1002)

on February 09, 2012
at 02:21 PM

Educate yourself about fasting. I've heard those are toxins coming out on your tongue, and that you should fast until your tongue is nice and pink. It really does work....usually takes 10 days for mine to go pink. Then you can use a tongue scraper as part of your morning dental hygiene routine to help keep it clear.

45c9355413cc7ecfd2099c95d3d30e63

(65)

on February 09, 2012
at 07:00 PM

not a chance I can do a 10-day fast.

9dd4d453f7ebd7fd2a82814d08fc8f17

(581)

on February 09, 2012
at 04:15 PM

if it's really because of toxins, i would say that's a reactive method because it's a method of management after the tongue had turned color. might be a better investment of time/effort to find out if/which toxins r involved and remove them.

0
76d70438d2442d21206b8e5528d23d23

on February 09, 2012
at 02:14 PM

That picture comes out too blurry for me to see much, but--

  • Do you drink coffee?
  • And have you tried brushing your tongue?

45c9355413cc7ecfd2099c95d3d30e63

(65)

on February 09, 2012
at 07:00 PM

ya I drink coffee or tea daily brushing it doesn't help much. Scraping it with a spoon might work better

0
Cbda678b2a6bf0537d8c4ea0ce8aa9ad

(4319)

on February 09, 2012
at 02:11 PM

I used to have a yellowish tongue when I was eating lots of carbs. went away since going Paleo.

45c9355413cc7ecfd2099c95d3d30e63

(65)

on February 09, 2012
at 06:59 PM

hope for me yet...

-1
82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on June 07, 2013
at 03:31 PM

It's impossible to tell from your photo because it's so blurry, but it's likely that you have a condition called hairy tongue. It's common and benign. It happens because tiny projections on the surface of the tongue grow longer than normal. Usually they stay short because cells at their tips fall off or get rubbed off, but sometimes, for various reasons, the cells stay in place and the projections grow long enough to get stained and take on colors.

Hairy tongue varies in appearance. The colors vary, the lengths of papillae vary, and the area of the tongue varies.

The colors happen because the elongated papillae become stained from food, smoking, coffee, etc.

Hairy tongue often occurs when people are in high ketosis, maybe because acetone in the saliva "pickles" the cells and stops them from falling off. Acetone is what makes the breath smell funny when we're ketotic.

Read about hairy tongue on Medscape

Here's a picture of hairy tongue that got stained black. The distribution is bifurcated like yours seems to be (not sure about yours because of the blur).

why-is-my-tongue-yellow?

Here's a picture of my tongue during a 21-day fast. In my case the hairy tongue was white because I was fasting so there was nothing to stain the papillae. The length is longer and there's no bifurcation in mine.

why-is-my-tongue-yellow?

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on June 07, 2013
at 04:35 PM

This is white and looks totally different.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on June 07, 2013
at 11:57 PM

As I wrote in my answer, hairy tongue can have different lengths and be different colors. I just added a second photo and edited my answer to emphasize this fact. The affected area of the tongue can also vary. Since the original poster's photo is very blurry, he's the only one who can tell how different or similar my picture is to his.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on June 07, 2013
at 11:45 PM

As I wrote in my answer, hairy tongue can have different lengths and be different colors. Search in Google Images for "hairy tongue" to get an idea of the range of appearances. Since the original poster's photo is very blurry, he's the only one who can tell how different or similar my picture is to his.

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