Why is my Tongue Green?

The normal color for the tongue should be reddish pink or pink with a smooth white coating. Some conditions can cause the tongue to appear black, red, and green, brown, white or some other funny colors. It is a well known fact that the general well being is portrayed through the state of the oral cavity. Any abnormality of the tongue appearance may indicate signs of underlying problems. In our discussion we will concentrate with the green tongue analyzing its causes symptoms and treatment.


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Causes of green tongue


Oral thrush

This is a fungal infection that results when the mouth is infected with fungi known as Candida Albicans. It affects those people with weak immune system. It is also common with those patients that have artificial teeth that are not fitting very well or have used artificial teeth for a longer period of time. The infection causes the tongue to appear white and after consuming food or taking antibiotics the tongue changes its color to green. The removal of the green layers may lead to bleeding and pain in the tongue.


Hairy tongue syndrome

You might think that the hair may develop in the tongue as the name suggests but that is not the case. The normal appearance of the tongue appears to be smooth and velvet in texture.  The velvety appearance of the tongue is due to the growth of tiny substances known as papillae. The papillae shed off during some intervals. When they fail to shed off, they may overgrow and form strands that appear like hair. The strands are prone to bacterial infection and once they are infected or contaminated a green tongue may appear. In some instances, the tongue may change its color to black.


Additional causes

The above are the major causes of the green tongue. But there are also some causes such as respiratory infection as a result of the sore throat. Smoking, tongue piercing, continuous use of mouth wash, and longer consumption of the antibiotics may lead to the green tongue. Using drugs such as marijuana and tooth pastes that have greener hues may cause the condition. Furthermore, taking candy that is green colored or food with green spices may cause it but it is worth noting that they are temporary.




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Foul smell

Foul smell coming from the mouth is associated with the green tongue. Not paying attention to the oral hygiene like not brushing may cause the bad breath and result in the greenish appearance of the tongue. The foul smell also may be attributed to the overgrown papillae strands in the tongue.


Lack of Appetite

Loss of appetite could be another factor indicating green tongue. This is due to the infection of the intestines leading to high production of the acid in the body. More over the infection may cause the taste buds to swell and the patient may have metallic taste.



This is another symptom to be careful of. Nausea erupts as a result of the infection of the intestines. The patient may have a feeling of vomiting or vomit altogether. Most of the patients complain of having a funny taste in their mouth.


Dry tongue

This symptom goes hand in hand with the dry mouth. The tongue is dry especially at its back where there is a hard layer. The foods that we take greatly influence the dryness of the tongue.


Irritation while taking meals

This is common while taking hot or spiced food. The tongue may be irritated leading to pain or feeling of the sore throat.



For those that have fungal infections such as the oral thrush, anti-fungal medications may be prescribed. Taking a lot of water to facilitate hydration is advised and also the patient should have a healthy and balanced diet with a larger share of fruits and vegetables.

In cases where the papillae strands have overgrown, several examinations and microscopic tests may be performed for diagnosis of the strands. The real cause for the abnormal papillae strands has not been established but it is thought that over- using mouth wash, poor oral hygiene and smoking may trigger their growth. Treatment of the overgrown papillae is achieved by establishing the root cause.

If the cause is poor oral hygiene, daily brushing of the teeth is recommended. If the cause is smoking the patient is advised to quit smoking, then the tongue will return to its normal color. Mouth wash should be used moderately or stopped if necessary.

Preventive measures may be adopted to prevent the green tongue. Avoiding green colored candies and chewing gums may assist. Also avoiding using the toothpaste that has green dies reduces the green tongue.

The green color in the tongue is highly preventable. Taking a lot of water is just a natural remedy to ensure that all debris is dissolved. Consuming crunchy fruits provides a natural cleansing of the tongue and maintaining a proper oral hygiene helps to put the tongue in good shape and texture.

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