A yellow tongue, just as the name suggests, refers to a condition where the tongue is affected by yellowish discoloration. Typically, a healthy tongue has a bright pink color and is full of tiny nodules. This yellow coloration is often temporary, and usually clears after a short period of time.
The discoloration is rarely fatal, but could be indicative of an underlying condition such as jaundice or diseases of the gallbladder. The cause of a yellow tongue is attributed to the enlargement and inflammation of the nodules found on the tongue. This usually occurs alongside bacterial accumulation in the tongue. Oral thrush is yet another common cause of yellow tongue discoloration.
Other risk factors that predispose one to a yellow tongue include a weak immune system, long-term use of dentures, Vitamin deficiency as well as the use of antibiotics which is commonly linked to oral thrush. Poor oral hygiene has also been cited as one of the causes of the tongue’s yellow discoloration.
Some of the symptoms of a yellow tongue include foul breath, dry mouth and a characteristic bitter taste in the mouth. Since the condition is usually temporary and harmless, there are a number of home remedies that you can use to treat the discoloration naturally. Natural remedies are often preferred because they have minimal side-effects, and usually work effectively to address the root cause of the condition.
1. Maintain Proper Oral Hygiene:
Time Required: 10 Min
What You Need: A toothbrush, toothpaste and warm water. Thread floss (optional).
As mentioned above, one of the main causes of a yellow tongue is poor oral hygiene. The simplest way to counter this is to maintain proper oral hygiene, and what better way to do this than to brush regularly? Use a blob of toothpaste and warm water. For the most part, the discoloration usually comes off with regular brushing. If you can, add flossing to your daily brushing routine. This is key because it reduces debris stuck between the teeth, which in turn reduces the accumulation and proliferation of bacteria in the mouth.
- Place a blob of toothpaste on the toothbrush and brush as usual.
- Focus on the teeth and surface of the tongue where discoloration has occurred. This helps loosen the coating and speeds up the healing process.
- Rinse your mouth using warm water.
- Proceed to floss regularly for proper oral health.
- Maintain this routine and repeat at least thrice daily especially after meals.
Time Required: 15 Min
What You Need: A pinch of salt, toothbrush and warm water.
Salt is a remedy whose coarse texture makes it well suited for the natural treatment of a yellow tongue. When applied on the tongue, the salt is used to scrape the tongue to get rid of debris on the tongue. This also helps eliminate dead cells from the tongue’s surface. Most importantly, salt is packed with antiseptic properties that help destroy bacteria on the tongue. This also helps combat foul mouth odor which is one of the most common symptoms of a yellow tongue. Follow the simple directions outlined below to get rid of the discoloration.
- Place a pinch of salt on the tongue’s yellow patches.
- Wet your toothbrush and gently scrape the tongue’s surface.
- Do this for about a minute or so.
- Rinse the tongue with warm water and spit.
- You may also prepare some warm salty water to gargle in order to reduce the bacterial population on the tongue.
- Repeat this remedy twice daily to treat a yellow tongue and alleviate the symptoms of the same.
3. Oil Pulling:
Time Required: 10 Min
What You Need: 1 Tablespoon of virgin coconut oil (edible) an warm water to rinse the mouth.
Oil pulling is an ancient technique that has since been incorporated in the natural treatment of a yellow tongue. The essence of this remedy involves swishing coconut oil in the mouth. The oil’s healing properties not only destroy the bacterial population responsible for the yellow patches, it also effectively helps deal with the bad mouth odor.
Coconut oil is also helpful in getting rid of yeast that accumulates as a result of oral thrush. The used oil is not meant to be swallowed as it is laden with toxins that could interfere with the normal functioning of the body’s internal organs. Coconut oil is recommended for this remedy, but sesame oil also works wonders in treating a yellow tongue.
- Place a tablespoon of the coconut oil in your mouth and swish it, making sure the yellow patches on the tongue come into contact with the oil.
- Swirl the oil between the teeth and continue for 10 minutes.
- Do this until the oil acquires a milky coloration, that, understandably, is packed with the bacteria and toxins.
- Spit the oily mixture and then rinse the mouth using warm water. Do not swallow the oil, and avoid spitting it in the sink as the oil will easily solidify and cause a blocked drainage.
- Repeat this procedure at least twice daily for great oral hygiene.
NOTE: The best time to use this remedy is before brushing your teeth to improve its efficiency.
Time Required: 15 Min
What You Need: 3 Cloves of fresh garlic, pestle and mortar. Lemon juice (optional).
Yellow tongue discoloration sometimes results from a common condition known as thrush. This is an infection that results from an excessive amount of candida yeast that thrives in the mouth. The yeast often finds a home in the mouth because it provides the perfect set of conditions that include warmth and moisture. The infection leads to yellow deposits on the tongue. Garlic is recommended as a natural remedy for this condition because it is a potent anti-fungal and antimicrobial, properties which help destroy the candida. Add garlic to your daily diet to eliminate the yellow discoloration on the tongue. Use lemon juice to ward off the smell of garlic.
- Peel the garlic cloves and chop to small pieces.
- You may eat the garlic this way, but many people opt to prepare the garlic paste as indicated in step 3.
- Grind the chopped garlic pieces until you get a paste.
- Eat this paste twice daily. While at it, avoid scraping off the yellow patches since this not only causes pain, it also leads to bleeding which prolongs the period of healing.
- If you find it hard to manage the garlic’s characteristic smell, follow up this remedy using fresh lemon juice.
- Use this remedy twice daily.
Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: 1 Tablespoon of freshly plucked neem leaves and 1 cup of boiling water.
Just like garlic, neem is packed with healing properties that make it ideal for the treatment of a yellow tongue. Neem is also an ancient remedy used in the Ayurvedic world and is best known for its healing properties. The herb is an effective antibacterial that helps control large populations of the bacteria that thrive on the tongue. It is also a blood purifier which compliments the herb’s efficiency. You will need neem leaves for this remedy.
NOTE: The herb has a characteristic bitter taste, but you are advised against the use of sweeteners for the topical application of the remedy on the tongue.
- Prepare the neem herbal drink by placing the leaves in a pan and adding the boiled water.
- Boil the mixture until you have half the amount of the original volume (approximately half a cup).
- Lower the heat and let the mixture simmer for a minute before turning it off.
- Allow the mixture to cool before passing through a strainer. Do not add any sweeteners to the remedy.
- Use the neem solution as mouth wash and rinse three times.
- Repeat this procedure twice daily until the yellow patches on the tongue are completely eliminated.
6. Hydrogen Peroxide
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: 1 Part of 3% hydrogen peroxide and 5 parts of warm water.
Hydrogen peroxide has excellent antiseptic properties that make it effective in the natural treatment of a yellow tongue. These antiseptic properties go a long way in killing the bacterial population present on the tongue as well as managing the bad mouth odor. The key to getting the most of hydrogen peroxide as a home remedy is to dilute the solution. When used in its undiluted form, the hydrogen peroxide easily causes irritation of the membranes in the mouth. For this reason, the peroxide is diluted using water in the ratio 1:5 respectively. Additionally, it is important to limit the use of this remedy to just once daily to prevent dehydration.
- Dilute the hydrogen peroxide using warm water in the ratio 1:5 before using the remedy.
- Gargle using the solution and spit after 5 minutes.
- Alternatively, dip your toothbrush in the solution and use it to scrap the tongue as gently as you can.
- For either choice, rinse the mouth with warm water.
- Repeat this procedure twice daily to treat yellow tongue.
7. Aloe Vera Juice:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: 2 Teaspoons of aloe vera juice and warm water to rinse.
Aloe vera juice is a popular natural remedy for diverse medical conditions, and a yellow tongue is no exception. The juice’s healing properties revolve around its anti-mircobial and antibacterial traits. When used as gargle, the juice allows for the tongue to heal faster. It is also helpful because it counters bad breath and helps one recover quickly. Follow the simple steps outlined below to benefit from this remedy.
- Place 1 tablespoon of aloe vera juice in your mouth and swish it around for a couple of minutes.
- Spit the mixture and repeat step 1.
- Use this remedy for a week as you monitor the progress made until the tongue has its normal pink coloration.
8. Probiotic Yogurt:
Time Required: 10 Min
What You Need: Probiotic yogurt
A yellow tongue sometimes results from antibiotics overuse. This happens because while antibiotics are prescribed for the elimination of the bad bacteria, they often cause the destruction of the good bacteria as well. To counter this effect, it helps to increase probiotics in your diet. One of the simplest ways to do this is to indulge in probiotic yogurt. Probiotics are especially effective in cases where the yellow patches are a side-effect of antibiotics. It is also important to note that the probiotics contain rich cultures that control bacterial growth in the mouth. You may also use probiotic supplements in addition to the yogurt.
- Enjoy a glass or two of probiotic yogurt twice daily.
- Probiotic supplements are an excellent option too.
9. Make Lifestyle Changes:
Time Required: Varies depending on the changes to be made
What You Need: To be wary of lifestyle habits that increase the chances of getting yellow patches on the tongue.
Some lifestyle habits predispose affected individuals to yellow coloration of the tongue. This include smoking,excessive alcohol consumption and too much indulgence in candy. Smoking is perhaps the leading cause in this category as the nicotine deposits traces of smoke and black compounds that discolor the tongue. Alcohol intake on the other hand, hampers the optimal functioning of the liver, which in turn makes it likely to get yellow tongue.
Tips on Making Lifestyle Changes
The golden rule when it comes to making lifestyle changes is to ensure that there’s a solid plan in place for a successful outcome. Use the tips below to help make a full recovery from a yellow tongue.
- Quit smoking. This is not a walk in the park for many affected persons, so it is key to have short term and long-term goals. Join a support group or seek professional help. There are a number of products available in the market to help smokers quit, so that is also worth having a look at.
- Reduce your alcohol consumption to ensure optimal health of the liver and the associated glands to reduce the chances of jaundice. There are also support groups for those who would like to stop drinking alcohol.
- It also helps to eliminate dairy from your diet as dairy and dairy products are known to coat the tongue and increase mucus production.
Other helpful tips to deal with a yellow tongue include maintaining a balanced diet and cut out processed fatty foods which strain the liver, staying hydrated as well as steam inhalation to ease the symptoms of a yellow tongue. Remember, yellow tongue is not often an emergency case, but make sure you see a dentist if you are concerned about the potential side-effects of the condition. This is also key if the home remedies listed above do not record any improvements, in which case one would need medical intervention.