Normally, our tongue is pinkish. Its texture is smooth and velvety but it changes when there’s infection and trauma. Your tongue’s color may also change because of illness. In this post, let’s talk about green tongue causes, symptoms and treatment. We’ll also discuss about how to prevent it.
Symptoms of Green Tongue
The tongue turns greenish-brown. The appearance and texture of the tongue gets altered. Sometimes, you may be able to remove the green discoloration which will reveal a red, raw, bleeding tongue below.
You may experience burning sensation on the tongue, general malaise, offensive breath or pain on eating spicy food. These all are related to a green tongue.
Metallic taste and bad breath in mouth are other symptoms of a green tongue.
Green Tongue Causes and Treatment
Unfortunately, there’s no exact known cause of why our tongue turns green. However, there are some theories that can explain the change in color.
One of the most common causes of green tongue is oral candidiasis or oral thrush. It’s a fungal infection that affects the mouth as a result of the Candida albicans overgrowth. This type of infection occurs in individuals with a weakened immune system. Hence, it’s usually seen in patients with cancer and people who undergo chemotherapy.
However, oral thrush doesn’t necessarily mean that your tongue will turn green. The color can change from white to green. It sometimes turns greenish if you’re taking antibiotics.
In addition to having green tongue, oral thrush may also affect your tongue’s dorsal surface and may cause discoloration in any part of your mouth.
Additionally, dental prostheses or dentures that don’t fit well or make the maintenance of oral hygiene difficult may cause infection in your mouth.
To get rid of your green tongue, you need to treat the oral infection first using anti-fungal medicines. However, you can’t just obtain them from the drugstore. Instead, you need to consult with your physician to get the accurate diagnosis. If your greenish tongue is indeed the result of candidiasis, your doctor will prescribe an anti-fungal medicine and recommend you to properly hydrate yourself and eat a healthy diet.
Another possible cause of green tongue is excessive smoking of weed and tobacco. The green color is fully emphasized if you chew tobacco. It also contributes to bad breath.
To eliminate green tongue, limit tobacco and weed use if you can’t completely avoid them. However, if you no longer want to experience green tongue, then try to quit smoking permanently.
This, too, can cause a green tongue appearance. It doesn’t only cause a green coated tongue but it also results in green spots appearing on the front and back of your tongue.
Use of Antibiotics
Green tongue may arise when you’ve been taking antibiotics for so long. Anti-bacterial medicines are known to fight against bacteria. The bad thing is that they also eliminate the good bacteria that maintain the pinkish color of your tongue. Talk to your doctor about limiting your antibiotic intake.
But you should not stop taking it without first consulting your prescribing physician. Doing so will only cause you to take more antibiotics. Or worse, you’ll become resistant to antibiotics, making it difficult for you to find the right anti-bacterial drug that can fight against the infection you may have in your body.
Some foods and drinks can cause a green tongue. Food supplements, too, can cause your tongue to turn greenish. This is especially true if they contain chlorophyll.
If this is the case, you can easily remove it by brushing your teeth and scraping your tongue to get rid of the substances from the foods and drinks you’ve consumed that made your tongue green.
Best way to avoid a tongue piercing infection, piercers would recommend the use of mouthwash. The bad thing about it is that some people overuse it because they think that it would make the healing faster. However, overuse of mouthwash could actually destroy the good bacteria in your mouth, causing your tongue to turn green or brown.
In such instances, you should reduce a mouthwash use. Instead of excessive use of mouthwash, try food supplements that can promote faster healing. However, don’t just take any type of supplements, consult your physician about the type of supplements that speed up healing and improve your overall health.
You may still use mouthwash but consider using it once in the morning and before bedtime. Additionally, only use non-alcoholic product to control bacterial growth but not kill the beneficial bacteria.
It’s also advisable that you use undiluted mouthwash to avoid your tongue to turn green.
Green Tongue with Sores
Sometimes, your green tongue is accompanied by canker sores. This can be caused by eating certain foods that can trigger mouth sores. When you stop eating these foods, your sores would disappear and your tongue will go back to normal.
However, if you frequently experience a green tongue with small ulcers, consider talking to your doctor as it could be a sign of an impaired digestion or a reduced immune function.
While you wait for your doctor’s appointment, try avoiding any triggering foods and gently brush or scrape your tongue to reduce the green tongue appearance.
A green tongue may have other causes besides the ones mentioned above. Sometimes, it can be an extension of an infection of your upper respiratory tract. In most cases, a green tongue appearance is caused by a mild condition.
Generally, the cause of green tongue is the lack of proper hygiene. Still, it’s a must that you tell your doctor about your greenish tongue.
Your tongue can say a lot of things about your overall health. The texture, color and moisture of your tongue can provide information of what’s going on inside your body. The tongue is supplied with numerous blood vessels. Your saliva is constantly cleaning the tongue which discourages harmful bacteria for forming in the mouth. However, if you are unwell, a problem can often be detected by simply looking at the tongue. Many doctors use the tongue to detect a range of conditions. During a medical examination, your doctor will examine it and determine if you’re suffering from a medical condition such as poor circulation, vitamin deficiencies, allergies, digestive problems or high cholesterol. Having a green tongue appearance for a few days can indicate a problem that you shouldn’t ignore.
It’s best to use a tongue scraper to properly clean your tongue and get rid of the greenish color. Cleaning your tongue with a toothbrush is not as effective. Cleaning your tongue properly doesn’t only prevent halitosis but it also prevents life-threatening conditions, like heart problems, diabetes, pneumonia, and several others.
Our tongue is the window to our health. It can show our overall health. As mentioned earlier, our tongue has a normal healthy and pink color. It appears clean and it has somewhat a rough surface because of the tiny projections, known as papillae where taste buds are located.
If there are changes in its texture and color, then this could be a sign of an underlying medical condition. Or it may simply mean that you’re just not practicing a proper oral hygiene.
Besides a greenish tongue, you should also watch out for other changes. If it’s greenish with beefy-red appearance, then it could indicate that your body doesn’t receive enough vitamin B.
Having smooth or pale tongue with some green spots may also mean that you have inadequate hemoglobin in your blood. Talk to your doctor about it. It may signify that you’re suffering from an anemia.
A tongue scraper won’t cost an arm and a leg. Despite its affordable price, it offers cumulative benefits. In addition to having fresher breath, a plaque buildup will be lessened and you’ll have healthier gums. When you use the scraper, make sure that you follow the instruction of the manufacturer. Usually, you need to reach further back of your tongue. Then, pull the scraper forward to reach the tip. Do it three times to adequately clean the area.
You don’t need to use it after every brushing. However, to develop a habit of using it every day, aim to scrape your tongue after brushing. Using a tongue scraper isn’t difficult. In fact, it’s just as easy as you use a toothbrush for cleaning your tongue.
However, if you notice that no matter how many times you scrape your tongue, you’re still experiencing a green tongue, you may need to visit your dentist or a doctor. Something might be wrong with your mouth and should be checked right away.