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Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Dental and Oral Health Center
Yellow coating on tongue
For a while now, I have had a yellow coating on my tongue. I was given medication in the case it was a yeast infection, and it didn`t go away. I then tried scraping and brushing it all off. Though this works initially, the yellow coating reappeared the next day. I even stopped taking my nose spray, which I think is the cause of this, and started using Listerine mouthwash. How does one get rid of this?
There are a variety of possible factors that can lead to changes in the color of the upper surface of the tongue. These include:
- antibiotic therapy
- poor oral hygiene
- use of certain mouthwashes
- antacids (or possibly chewable multi-vitamins)
- hairy tongue
- and growth of bacterial or fungal organisms.
The discoloration is typically harmless, although it can be dramatic and alarming. If you are using a chewable form of vitamin supplement, you might try switching to a capsule/tablet that you swallow with water. Switching toothpaste or mouthwash formulations may be helpful. Finally, gentle brushing of the tongue with a toothbrush (you don`t need a tonguebrush, although these are available) once a day can often control the color by removing the excess skin cells on the papilla (small, hair-like structures) of the tongue. This layer of cells is where most pigments or colored materials accumulate.
Incidentally, several tongue colors have been reported, including yellow, green, brown and black.
Thank you for visiting NetWellness!
D Stanley Sharples, DDS
Clinical Assistant Professor of Primary Care Dentistry
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University