Why is My Tongue Orange—What You Can Do?

Why is My Tongue Orange—What You Can Do?

Looking in the mirror and noticing that your tongue has changed from pink or red to orange can be unsettling. Fortunately, eating foods like orange popsicles, gelatin, hard candies, or other foods containing artificial colors usually causes an orange tongue.

An orange tongue, however, may be a sign of an underlying medical condition if a person hasn’t recently consumed one of these foods. There are numerous factors that can turn the tongue orange, and some of them may actually signify the existence of a underlying medical condition. What are these? Read on to learn more.

Causes of An Orange Tongue

Orange tongues can occasionally be a sign of a health change. Color changes may be brought on by ailments like thrush, acid reflux, and some vitamin deficiencies. A few potential reasons for an orange tongue are listed below.

Poor Oral Hygiene

Your tongue’s surface cells typically divide, grow, and then die. On your tongue, these cells can accumulate if they don’t slough off as frequently as they should. In these cells, food becomes trapped, resulting in a white or colored coating.

You’re more likely to develop a coated tongue if you:

  • drink coffee or tea
  • smoke
  • have dry mouth

The stain may have been caused by bad oral hygiene. Not brushing your teeth and tongue also leads to tooth decay and bad breath.

Oral Thrush

Oral thrush, or an oral yeast infection, occurs when too much of the fungi Candida collects on the tongue. The tongue may turn yellow or orange due to this buildup. People of all ages are susceptible to oral thrush. However, it is more common in those who use steroid medications or have compromised immune systems.

Infants are particularly vulnerable to oral thrush if they are taking antibiotics, which can eradicate the bacteria that help prevent yeast overgrowth. A person’s ability to speak and eat may be hampered by oral thrush, which can be uncomfortable. Anyone who thinks they may have oral thrush should visit a doctor.

Acid Reflux

Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), or reflux, occurs when stomach acids back up into your esophagus. The lower esophageal sphincter, a valve, relaxes and lets stomach acids flow out, which causes it to happen.

Common symptoms of reflux include:

  • heartburn
  • trouble swallowing or pain when you swallow
  • a sour taste in your mouth
  • burping
  • bad breath
  • nausea or vomiting

The color of the tongue can change, even though this is uncommon. A white or orange coating might be discernible.

Why is My Tongue Orange—What You Can Do?

Excess Beta Carotene

The substance that gives carrots their orange color is beta carotene. The skin and tongue can become discolored after consuming foods high in this substance. Doctors call this condition carotenemia. Infants and young children, who frequently consume mashed carrots, are most susceptible to carotenemia. Carotenemia is not harmful, but it can resemble jaundice, which causes the skin to turn yellow.

However, whereas this is typically not the case in individuals with carotenemia, the whites of the eyes will also turn yellow in a person who has jaundice. Foods that contain high amounts of beta-carotene include:

  • carrots
  • sweet potatoes
  • cantaloupes
  • papayas
  • pumpkins
  • mangoes

What Can You Do to Treat An Orange Tongue?

For Poor Oral Hygiene

Use fluoride toothpaste to brush your teeth and tongue at least twice per day. A fluoride rinse is another option for maintaining oral hygiene. Check out our advice on how to avoid oral health issues.

For Oral Thrush

Your doctor can prescribe antifungal medications to kill the Candida fungus. These medications are available as liquid, tablets, or lozenges. Make sure to thoroughly clean your mouth while receiving thrush treatment. Twice daily, brush your teeth and tongue. To help remove bacteria, rinse your mouth with warm water and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

For Acid Reflux

You can first try home remedies like these to relieve acid reflux:

  • Before going to bed, avoid eating large, filling meals.
  • Be sure to dress comfortably.
  • By putting blocks under the back bedposts, you can raise the head of your bed 6 to 8 inches.
  • Avoid consuming greasy, acidic, spicy, and citrusy foods.

If these approaches don’t work, your doctor might recommend that you take one or more of these medications, which reduce or block acid production:

  • Antacids, such as simethicone with aluminum and magnesium (Maalox) and calcium carbonate with magnesium hydroxide (Rolaids)
  • Proton pump inhibitors, such as esomeprazole (Nexium) and lansoprazole (Prevacid)
  • H2 blockers, such as cimetidine (Tagamet HB) and famotidine (Pepcid)
Why is My Tongue Orange—What You Can Do?


The majority of causes of an orange tongue are transient. Within a few days, this symptom should go away. Consult your doctor for a diagnosis if your tongue is orange for more than a week or two. You should also see your doctor if you’re experiencing:

  • a rash
  • shortness of breath
  • bleeding sores
  • chest pain


Are There Any Other Tongue Colors?

Black tongue: Dead skin cells may have accumulated as a result, and the tongue may also appear to be hairy. Even though the condition is not harmful and can be fixed with brushing and rinsing, the appearance may be unsettling. Blackening of the tongue is another side effect of bismuth-containing medications.

Bright red tongue: This may be a sign of Kawasaki disease or scarlet fever, especially in children. The inflammation of the tongue, or glossitis, may also be the reason.

White patches on the tongue: Another indication of oral thrush is these patches. They may also be a sign of syphilis, leukoplakia, dehydration, or fever.

Yellow tongue: Jaundice, a condition in which large concentrations of the pigment bilirubin accumulate in the body, can show symptoms such as a yellow tongue.

What Color is An Unhealthy Healthy Tongue?

A tongue that isn’t pink or has noticeable patches of white, brown, black, or another color could be a sign of an underlying health problem. The same applies if you have numerous bumps or none at all; you might also want to consult a medical professional.

What Color is Bacteria on Tongue?

Most of the time, a yellow tongue indicates an overgrowth of bacteria. Poor oral hygiene is frequently the cause of this. Additionally, smoking can cause the color of your tongue to turn yellow.

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