Green Tongue, Causes & How to Get Rid

 A green tongue may be a sign of different diseases and conditions. A normal tongue is usually pink or reddish pink. There are also white coatings on the surface of your tongue.  Read on find more about why the color green, symptoms and remedies.

Green Tongue Causes-why is my Tongue Green


As suggested by the name, a green tongue refers to a tongue that has been discolored through formation a green coating on part of the tongue or on the entire tongue surface.

green tongue causes how to get rid
Green-colored tongue

Causes in Adults & Babies

If you are an adult who wishes to know the common causes of a green tongue the following factors will be helpful;

Candidiasis or oral thrush

This condition is one of the likely causes of tongue discoloration. Characteristics of this condition include infections caused by Candida albicans. This is an infection considered to be opportunistic since it comes as soon as immunity is compromised. Normally, oral thrush is white in color but upon ingestion of food; the tongue turns its color to green.

Elongated papillae

Usually, your tongue has small filiform papillae. If your tongue has this kind of papillae on its surface, the tongue is considered healthy. When the tongue is healthy, you realize that it sheds off the papillae at regular intervals.

However, there are individuals who do not have the regular shedding of the papillae. If you are among such individuals, you will realize that your papillae get elongated with time. Such papillae are at a very high risk of getting bacterial infections. Such infections contribute to the possibility of your tongue turning green in color.

Most people who end up with elongated papillae are those who do not maintain proper oral hygiene, those who use more than required amounts of the mouth wash, and those associated with excessive smoking. This condition is referred to as hairy tongue.

Drug addiction

Scientific studies show that, if you are a drug addict, you will most likely find yourself with a green tongue. Too much of smoking is also a likely cause of a green tongue.

Tongue piercing

If your tongue has turned green and you have a tongue piercing, it is almost sure that the cause of such discoloration is the piercing. Tongue piercing exposes your tongue to both fungal and bacterial infection. This consequently contributes to the likelihood of your tongue turning green.

Candy with green dye

Sometimes, your tongue turns green following the color of the food you consume. For instance, candy with green dye turns your tongue green. In such a case, the green coloration of the tongue is not at all associated with any of the green tongue syndrome symptoms discussed below.

Green tongue causes in babies

If you notice that your baby has a green tongue, you need to check out for three of the causes discussed above; black hairy tongue, oral thrush and respiratory tract infection.

Mainly, research shows that most babies who get a green tongue have oral thrush. This is because; oral thrush is very common among babies.

Although you expect white patches on the babies tongue, they turn green following food and drug consumption. To avoid oral thrush which may cause a green tongue condition in your baby, ensure that the baby’s immune system is not compromised.

Sometimes, your baby gets a green tongue after eating green lollipops. At such time, you do not need to seek treatment.

Green Tongue Syndrome Symptoms

You will notice that the following symptoms are associated with a green tongue;

A green color on the tongue

You will notice that the color of your tongue is altered. This discoloration is removable. Once removed, you will notice that the area below it is red and may be bleeding.

Bad breath

Your tongue is in most times associated with the smell of your breath. This is why you are asked to not only brush your teeth but the tongue as well. Usually, with the green tongue, you will realize that your breath is really bad.

Green Tongue Syndrome Symptoms
Bad breath

Burning sensation

When you have a green tongue, you may experience a certain level of pain especially when you take spiced foods.

Metallic taste

You may also experience a metallic taste in your mouth and this aids in diagnosis of the underlying condition easily.

Gastrointestinal discomfort

This usually comes in the form of nausea and vomiting. You may need to seek immediate medical advice as these symptoms of the green tongue condition may cause excessive discomfort.

Loss of appetite

Due to abnormality in the taste buds, you may experience reduced appetite for some time.

Increased tongue sensitivity

Since your tongue is not functioning normally, you may realize that your tongue becomes extremely sensitive to anything that comes in contact with it; be it the saliva or even foods.

Dryness of the tongue

Sometimes, the green tongue condition leaves your tongue with a hard layer on its lower side. Although you may clean the hard layer, it is usually very difficult due to the tongue pain and general tongue sensitivity.

Green tongue with bumps

A green tongue with bumps majorly indicates elongation of the papillae on your tongue surface. Your tongue texture feels rough and this condition that comes with enlarged papillae is referred to as hairy green tongue.

The bumpy feel of the tongue disappears as soon as you get treatment for the green tongue. Your papillae will go back to their normal size after treatment.

Green tongue cancer & STDs

If you have a weak immune system, you are likely to be attacked by the infections associated with a green tongue.  Cancer or any forms of Sexually Transmitted Diseases or infections weaken your immune system.

Oral candidiasis is closely associated with STD’s and as discussed earlier, it is one of the major causes of green tongue.  People with cancer have an extremely weak immune system which easily allows for green thrush and infections of the tongue.

Green yellow tongue

Sometimes, your tongue acquires both the yellow and green colors. The green color on your tongue indicates that dead skin cells have built up on the enlarged papillae and that is why you have the green coloration of the tongue.

When the papillae become enlarged, bacteria in your mouth produce pigments that are colored. So if your green tongue is caused by elongated papillae and these papillae have dead cells building on them; you may realize that the tongue has a green yellow discoloration.

When the papillae are longer than the normal size, you may notice that they trap the cells that are shed. These cells become stained by food, tobacco or other substances that come into contact with your tongue. All the same, there is nothing very serious when your tongue becomes discolored. This is a temporary condition that will go away upon treatment. [1]

Additionally, if you have trauma of the tongue as well as tongue piercing, you may have white or green mucous on your tongue. If your tongue is green, it is likely to be infected and the result will be a yellow-green discharge. This is an indicator of a bacterial infection.

Sore throat and green tongue

You may realize that your tongue turns green at the time you have a sore throat. Usually, if the green tongue is accompanied by sore throat, it is an indicator that you are likely to have upper respiratory tract infection.

Sore Throat and green tongue
Sore Throat

The upper respiratory tract infection is caused by strep throat in most cases. Other infections that may be related to this condition are sinus infection, common cold, and rhinitis. When you have a strep throat, you will most likely have greenish or whitish pus coming from your tonsils. You will need to see your doctor for treatment of the infection as soon as you realize you tongue is all green.

Green Coating on Tongue in the Morning Indication

You may be shocked when you wake up to a green tongue. You should not be scared since this is not a serious condition. Some forms of antibiotics result to a green tongue and so if you took them before you slept, it may explain why you have the green tongue.

That aside, if you took food with green color at night and failed to brush your teeth and tongue; it could also be a cause.  Check out for any other causes already discussed to find out why you developed the green tongue overnight.

How to get Rid of Green Tongue-Treatments & Home Remedies

There are several natural remedies that aid in treatment of a green tongue;

Vitamin c

Eating foods that are rich in vitamin C is one of the major ways of boosting your immune system. As mentioned above, people with a weak immune system are in most cases associated with the discoloration of the tongue.

That aside, vitamin C aids in elimination of oral thrush which is one of the main causes of a green tongue. Foods rich in vitamin C include fruits, mainly, citrus fruits.

Turmeric and honey

These two natural substances have antibacterial properties. Sometimes, bacterial infection on the tongue is why you end up with a green tongue. To get rid of such bacterial infections, you are advised to take advantage of the antibacterial properties of honey and turmeric.

Honey and Turmeric home remedies for green tongue
Turmeric and honey


  1. Make a paste of turmeric and honey
  2. Apply it on the tongue evenly
  3. You are advised to repeat the procedure every day until the tongue has its natural color back

Baking soda

Baking soda is very effective in healing the symptoms that come with a green tongue. It maintains a good pH in your mouth by neutralizing acids. It also exfoliates the tongue.


  1. You are advised to mix baking soda with some lemon juice to make a paste.
  2. Once you have the paste ready, apply it on your tongue
  3. After about fifteen minutes, rinse your mouth with water
baking soda
baking soda


Vegetable glycerin is also used to treat green tongue.


  1. Apply vegetable glycerin on your tongue
  2. Using a soft brush, gently brush your tongue
  3. After about ten minutes, you are then advised to rinse your mouth using warm water.
  4. Do this twice in a day

Neem or Indian lilac

Neem has both antibacterial and antifungal properties. It also works effectively in removal of toxins which may be a possible cause of the green tongue


  1. Add your Neem to water and heat it to boil
  2. Gargle the resulting heated solution. Ensure it is not too hot as that may harm your tongue more)
  3. To complete the process, rinse your mouth thoroughly with water.

Colloidal silver

You are advised to use colloidal silver in the case where yeast has overgrown in your mouth. It has natural antifungal properties explaining why it is in a position to aid in getting rid of bad breath. You are advised to use water to dilute it before usage.


Salt contains antiseptic properties which aid in removal or elimination of bacteria. You are required to gently brush your tongue using salt. This way, you get rid of dead cells and debris from your tongue. You are advised to use a natural tongue scraper.

Mint clove

To get rid of bad breath which comes with a green tongue, it is recommended that you use mint clove.


In place of mouthwash, you are advised to use probiotics. Here, you make a mixture of the capsule and water then use the solution in the same way you would use a mouthwash.

Aloe Vera

Due to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, Aloe Vera qualifies as a natural remedy for green tongue. Aloe Vera not only removes the coating on the tongue but also eliminates any bad breath. You are always advised to apply fresh Aloe Vera juice on the tongue.



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