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Why Is My Tongue Green?

Oct 23, 2023Oral health

Why is my tongue green?

The tongue can be used to assess one’s overall well-being. A healthy tongue usually has shades varying from rosy pink to a vibrant reddish hue, accompanied by a thin layer of white film.

The presence of an abnormal tongue coloration is an indication of a potential health issue. A tongue displaying shades of green and yellow is unusual and should be examined further. The presence of a green tongue is an indication of an undisclosed illness that affects one’s general health.

What are the possible factors that can cause a green tongue?

There are multiple causes for a green tongue. A white tongue can turn green as a result of consuming certain foods, drinks, or medications over time.

Multiple factors contribute to the occurrence of a green tongue.

Hairy tongue syndrome

Hairy tongue is a condition that occurs when a specific type of cell on the tongue is shed irregularly, causing a rough and hairy appearance. The textured surface provides an environment where bacteria and yeast can grow, potentially causing a change in tongue color, often appearing as a noticeable green shade.

The consumption of certain foods or beverages, or the use of specific items, can cause a regular change in color. Additional signs of hairy tongue include the following:

  • A strong sensation of heat and spice on the taste buds.
  • The lengthened cells on the tongue can trigger a sensation of gagging or tickling.
  • The presence of bacteria or yeast on the surface of the tongue leads to the development of unpleasant smelling breath.
  • The palate may experience unusual flavor perception or a lack of taste due to hidden taste receptors.

Lichen planus

Tongue discoloration can be caused by lichen planus, a condition that resembles a rash. Typically, the tongue affected by lichen planus displays a white appearance. However, it can turn green due to the presence of bacteria or yeast, eating certain foods or drinks, or using certain products. Furthermore, lichen planus presents various symptoms in addition to tongue discoloration.

  • The mouth may experience discomfort or burning sensations caused by white lesions.
  • Various factors including bacteria, yeast, consumables, beverages, or oral care items in use can cause alterations in the hue of white oral lesions.

Oral cancer

Color changes on the tongue can be potential indicators of oral cancers, which can result from the growth of bacteria or yeast, ingestion of specific foods or beverages, or the use of certain oral care items. Common symptoms of oral cancer may include:

Symptoms commonly associated with oral cancer usually include:

  • A persistent wound or ulceration on the tongue that does not heal.
  • A bump or swelling on the tongue.
  • There is a sensation of bleeding on the tongue.
  • Significant reduction in weight.
  • The sensation of numbness can be experienced in the lower lip, face, neck, or chin.
  • Variations of colored patches can be found on the tongue, displaying shades of white, red, white and red, or even green.

Oral thrush

The excessive growth of yeast in the mouth leads to a condition known as oral thrush.  This occurs when the natural fungus in the mouth exceeds normal levels of multiplication. As the infection advances, the fungal overgrowth changes from white to a greenish color. Additional symptoms of oral thrush include:

  • Bumps of a pale shade appearing on the surface of the tongue or the tonsils.
  • The act of teeth or toothbrush scraping against the bumps in the mouth causes them to bleed.
  • There is discomfort experienced at the site of the oral bumps.
  • Swallowing difficulty

Infants suffering from oral thrush may experience feeding difficulties, increased irritability, and restlessness.

Geographic tongue

Geographic tongue, a harmless condition, leads to the formation of lesions on the tongue that have the potential to vary in color. At first, the tongue may develop red lesions with clear white borders, but over time, these borders may change to a green color.

Additional symptoms may include:

  • The surface of the tongue shows unusual irregularities, with a smooth texture and varying contours and sizes.
  • There are lesions on the tongue that have a tendency to migrate or shift from one region to another over a period of days or weeks.
  • Lesions on the tongue may appear and disappear repeatedly.
  • Occasional sensations of mild discomfort or a burning sensation are sometimes felt on the tongue or inside the mouth.

An increased sensitivity to certain substances is another symptom of geographic tongue. The tongue can become overly sensitive, especially when it comes into contact with certain substances. These substances may include:

  • Cigarette smoke
  • Toothpaste
  • Mouthwashes
  • Sugar or sweet food
  • Spicy and acidic nourishments

Contact Our Redlands Dental Office!!

We invite you to visit our Redlands dental clinic. Our skilled professionals provide high-quality care and services. We are excited to meet you and help with all of your dental needs!

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