Yellow tongue — a yellow discoloration of your tongue — is usually a temporary, harmless problem. Most often, yellow tongue is an early sign of a disorder known as black hairy tongue. Rarely, yellow tongue may be a sign of jaundice, a yellowing of the eyes and skin, which sometimes indicates liver or gallbladder problems.
Self-care is usually all that's needed to treat yellow tongue, unless it's related to another medical condition.
March 15, 2018
From Mayo Clinic to your inbox
Sign up for free, and stay up to date on research advancements, health tips and current health topics, like COVID-19, plus expertise on managing health.
ErrorEmail field is required
ErrorInclude a valid email address
To provide you with the most relevant and helpful information, and understand which
information is beneficial, we may combine your email and website usage information with
other information we have about you. If you are a Mayo Clinic patient, this could
include protected health information. If we combine this information with your protected
health information, we will treat all of that information as protected health
information and will only use or disclose that information as set forth in our notice of
privacy practices. You may opt-out of email communications at any time by clicking on
the unsubscribe link in the e-mail.
Thank you for subscribing!
You'll soon start receiving the latest Mayo Clinic health information you requested in your inbox.
Sorry something went wrong with your subscription
Please, try again in a couple of minutes
- Goldstein BG, et al. Oral lesions. http://uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 21, 2015.
- Wolff K, et al. Disorders of the mouth. In: Fitzpatrick's Color Atlas & Synopsis of Clinical Dermatology. 7th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2013. http://www.accessmedicine.com. Accessed Jan. 21, 2015.
- Longo DL, et al. Jaundice. In: Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com. Accessed Jan. 21, 2015.
- Jaundice. The Merck Manual Professional Edition. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/hepatic_and_biliary_disorders/approach_to_the_patient_with_liver_disease/jaundice.html. Accessed Jan. 27, 2015.
- Geographic tongue. American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology. http://www.aaomp.org/public/geographic-tongue.php. Accessed Jan. 27, 2015.
- Bruce AJ (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Feb. 9, 2015.
- Salinas TJ (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Feb. 9, 2015.