If your tongue becomes orange, it can just be a result of recent food consumption. The color of the human tongue is naturally pink. Brightly colored foods, such as popsicles or hard candy, might change the color of your tongue.
An orange tongue can occasionally indicate a change in your health. Color changes can result from conditions like acid reflux, thrush, and certain vitamin deficits.
Color and texture guide
The tongue can change color depending on underlying medical conditions. While some of these problems resolve on their own, others need to be treated. The various tongue colors and the illnesses that could cause them are described here.
The tongue may turn black due to keratin accumulation. The skin, hair, and nails all contain the protein keratin.
The Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center states that a buildup of keratin can result in the tongue turning black and hairy. Poor dental hygiene, certain drugs, such as certain antibiotics, tobacco usage, radiation therapy, and poor oral hygiene can all cause a buildup. Additionally, drinking dark beverages like coffee or black tea can turn the tongue black.
Rarely, a significant medical condition like diabetes or HIV can cause a black tongue.
A fungal infection, like oral thrush, may cause the tongue to become pale and develop white patches. Thick, white or red spots that develop on the tongue as a result of oral thrush can be irritating. There could be issues with eating or swallowing. Leukoplakia is yet another potential factor. This disorder, which frequently arises from smoking, causes white patches or plaques to develop on the tongue.
Additionally, lichen planus, a form of a rash, can cause the tongue to appear white.
Due to insufficient blood flow or cardiac disease, the tongue may turn purple.
A purple tongue may potentially be a symptom of Kawasaki illness, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. This rare yet dangerous illness results in blood vessel inflammation.
The tongue can also become rough and red, which could be a sign of scarlet fever or a vitamin B shortage. Alternatively, these modifications can be the result of an allergic reaction to a substance or food. Glossitis, or inflammation of the tongue, can also be indicated by a red, bumpy tongue. It occasionally serves as an additional indicator of Kawasaki disease.
A doctor might describe a red, bumpy, and swollen tongue as having a strawberry tongue.
Grayish-white spots can develop on the tongue as a result of a disorder termed geographic tongue, according to the National Organization for Rare Disorders. The tongue then begins to form white lines between these areas, giving it the appearance of a map.
This hue shift may also result from eczema. 43.5% of participants in a 2017 research of 200 eczema patients had a grey or pale tongue.
Bacterial development is frequently the cause of tongue yellowing. Bacterial overgrowth on the tongue can be caused by both poor oral hygiene and dry mouth. The tongue may also turn yellow before it develops hair and turns black. This happens when the papillae expand, trapping germs on the surface of the tongue.
Rarely, the tongue will turn yellow due to more serious health issues. According to a 2019 study, diabetes may be indicated by a yellow tongue. Jaundice is an additional potential factor.
The same conditions that cause tongue yellowing, such as poor oral hygiene or dry mouth, may also cause orange tongue. The tongue can also turn orange after taking some antibiotics or eating foods high in beta-carotene. This substance is responsible for the coloring of carrots.
Bacterial accumulation may cause the tongue to turn green, and the reasons may be the same as for a yellow or white tongue. A fuzzy or hairy layer can sometimes form.
An oxygen deficiency in the blood might be indicated by a blue tint to the tongue. This could be brought on by kidney disease, blood vessel disease, blood abnormalities, or a shortage of oxygen coming from the lungs. Low blood oxygen levels are dangerous and necessitate prompt medical intervention. Another potential reason for a blue tongue is eczema.
Here are a few potential reasons why you might have an orange tongue, along with remedies.
Negligent oral health
Your tongue’s surface cells typically divide, expand, and eventually die. These cells can accumulate on your tongue when they don’t shed normally. These cells become clogged with food, which results in a white or colored covering.
If you consume a lot of coffee or tea or smoke, your risk of developing a coated tongue increases massively.
The stain may have been caused by poor dental hygiene. Tooth decay and bad breath are also caused by not brushing your teeth and tongue.
How you can help?
Use fluoride toothpaste to brush your teeth and tongue at least twice a day. In order to keep your entire mouth clean, you can also apply a fluoride rinse. See our advice on avoiding dental health issues.
An increase in bacteria and yeast
Sometimes, especially when these microorganisms grow too quickly in your mouth, yeast and bacteria can become trapped on the surface of your tongue. In addition to potentially discoloring your tongue, germs and yeast can also make your tongue appear orange.
How you can help?
Consult your doctor if the color does not fade after thorough cleaning and rinsing. To get rid of the infection, you might need to take an antibiotic or antifungal drug.
A deposit of the fungus Candida albicans on the interior of your mouth results in the condition known as thrush. It typically manifests as a cluster of white, cheesy-looking sores on your tongue and inside of your cheeks. However, if the sores bleed, they could color your tongue orange.
How you can help?
In order to eradicate the Candida fungus, your doctor may prescribe antifungal drugs. These medications are available as liquid, tablets, or lozenges.
Make sure to thoroughly clean your mouth when receiving thrush treatment. Twice daily, brush your tongue and teeth. To help remove bacteria, rinse your mouth with warm water and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
When stomach acids reflux into your esophagus, it is known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or reflux. It occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter, a valve, relaxes and lets stomach acids pass through. Heartburn, difficulty swallowing or pain while swallowing, a sour taste in your mouth, burping, poor breath, nausea or vomiting are all common signs of reflux.
Although they are uncommon, changes in tongue color are conceivable. There can be a white or orange coating present.
How you can help?
You might start by attempting these at-home cures for acid reflux:
- Limit large, filling meals before bed.
- Avoid oily, acidic, spicy, and lemony foods.
- By inserting blocks under the back bedposts, you can raise the head of your bed by 6 to 8 inches.
- Put on comfortable clothing.
Your doctor might advise you to take one or more of these drugs that lower or inhibit the formation of acid if these methods don’t work for you:
- antacids, such as calcium carbonate with magnesium hydroxide and simethicone with aluminum and magnesium (Maalox) (Rolaids)
- proton pump inhibitors, such as esomeprazole (Nexium) and lansoprazole (Pepcid), H2 blockers, such as cimetidine (Tagamet HB) and famotidine (Pepcid) (Prevacid)
Antibiotics can alter the usual balance of bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms in your mouth. Your tongue may momentarily acquire a unique coat as a result of this.
How you can help
Once you’ve taken your prescribed antibiotic prescription, the orange tint should vanish. Probiotics can support the restoration of your body’s bacterial equilibrium in the interim.
Lack of vitamins
Your tongue’s color can change if you consume insufficient amounts of several nutrients. Your tongue may grow red and feel uncomfortable if you don’t get enough iron, folate, or vitamin B-12.
How you can help?
Increase the amount of these nutrients in your diet by including foods like shellfish, fish, beef, beef liver, chicken, spinach, enhanced breakfast cereals, beans, and tofu. Ask your doctor if you need to take a supplement if diet alone isn’t sufficient to make up for your nutritional deficiency.
According to anecdotal evidence, a brief change in tongue color may result from exposure to allergens such as pollen, mold, or food.
Sneezing, runny nose, itchy, watery eyes, skin rash or hives, swelling around the lips or face, nausea, diarrhea, and wheezing are among the symptoms of allergies.
How you can help?
Avoid your allergy trigger as much as you can, especially if you also experience more severe responses like mouth swelling or hives. When you are exposed, allergy medicines or injections can help you avoid symptoms.
Mold in the environment
Mold is a type of organism that thrives in moist areas like basement ceilings and shower curtains. When exposed to mold, those who are sensitive to it may experience symptoms like coughing, wheezing, nasal congestion, scratchy throat, and eye discomfort.
Additionally, mold exposure can give the tongue an odd hue coating.
What can you do?
Cleaning up mold in your house and stopping new growth will help you avoid exposure.
- Reduce the humidity level in your house to between 30 and 50 percent.
- Use a fan or open a window to ensure that wet areas, such as the bathroom, kitchen, and laundry room, are properly aired.
- Clean surfaces of mold using soap and water or mold-killing solutions.
- To stop moisture from entering your home, fix any leaks.
What color and texture best represent health?
A person’s tongue often has a thin white covering over a pink base. Pink can be either a light or dark hue. There are numerous papillae on the top and sides of a healthy tongue. The papillae, which are tiny, fleshy lumps, give the top of the tongue its gritty appearance.
When should I see my doctor?
An orange tongue typically has transient causes. With time, this symptom ought to go away. Consult your doctor for a diagnosis if your tongue remains orange for longer than a week or two.
Additionally, if any of the following apply to you. A rash, shortness of breath, sores that are bleeding, or chest pain.