Ever wondered why my tongue is green? However, an unexplained hue change can indicate a deeper problem. It is typical to experience green tongue after consuming anything with green food coloring. Although there are other reasons for green tongue as well, it is typically caused by an illness or an overgrowth of specific microorganisms. Once the underlying issue has been addressed, the symptoms of this typically disappear. The various green tongue causes, available treatments, and indications for seeking medical attention are covered in this article.

Green Tongue

Green Tongue Causes:

A green tongue can result from several circumstances, including:

1. Green tongue due to oral Thrush

In certain circumstances, bacterial overgrowth or inadequate oral hygiene may cause a Candida infection. A naturally occurring yeast called Candida albicans is typically kept in check by other microbes. When this yeast proliferates out of control in the mouth and on the tongue, oral thrush results. The look of the tongue during oral thrush is often pale or off-white, but depending on how the infection progresses, it may eventually turn green. Other effects of oral thrush are:

  • Blood from the bumps if scraped by food, teeth marks on tongue or a toothbrush
  • Texture changes on the Tongue, Bumps, or Tonsils
  • Trouble swallowing or pain while doing so

Infants who are breastfed frequently get oral thrush. It can also result in symptoms including irritation and eating issues, as well as a scalloped tongue that is similarly pigmented.

2. Green tongue resulting from Leukoplakia

A white spot in the mouth or on the green tongue causes by leukoplakia may eventually turn green or appear discolored. Alcohol and tobacco usage are frequently connected to leukoplakia. Usually painless and harmless, leukoplakia. Even so, doctors will want to check on it frequently because leukoplakia can occasionally develop into cancer.

3. Green tongue due to Hairy Tongue

Green Tongue

The texture and appearance of the tongue alter as a result of the innocuous condition known as hairy tongue. The keratin cells, which are the same proteins that make up human hair, accumulate and cause the condition to arise. The tongue may become rough and hairy as a result of this buildup. In addition, this rough surface offers a perfect environment for bacteria and fungi to flourish, which may also result in a light green tongue. Although it can happen at any age, a hairy tongue is more prevalent in older persons than in other age groups. Other signs and symptoms of a hairy tongue include:

  • A tickling that may get worse when eating
  • An unpleasant taste on the tongue
  • Difficulties tasting food or changes to the taste buds
  • Short of breath

Poor dental hygiene, the use of specific medications, such as medicines, as well as cigarette and caffeine consumption are factors that might cause hair tongue.

4. Geographic Tongue

Green Tongue

White spots on tongue develop on green tongue causes the benign disorder known as geographic tongue. Initially, these blotches frequently take the form of a dark red spot with a high white border, although they may eventually change color. This lesion may also alter in size or position over time, as well as frequently vanish and resurface. Other signs, such as a burning pain in the mouth or discomfort when eating, particularly when eating spicy or acidic meals, may accompany the geographic tongue. Chemicals in tobacco smoke and oral care products can also cause the tongue to become extremely sensitive.

5. Lichen Planus

The immune system disorder lichen planus can result in tongue discoloration and a rash on the tongue. The tongue usually turns whitish but could take on a green hue if fungi or bacteria start to proliferate. It’s also possible that certain foods, drinks, and oral products are to blame for the color shift. Additionally, lichen planus can result in white lesions in the mouth that, depending on the foods consumed and whether or not bacteria begin to proliferate, can change color. These lesions can hurt, and they frequently give people a burning mouth feeling.

6. Syphilis

Green Tongue

A bacterial condition called syphilis can be sexually transferred or given from a woman to her unborn child. A sore on the tongue that may eventually change color may appear in someone who develops syphilis through oral intercourse. Multiple mouth sores could develop if untreated. Penicillin is typically recommended by doctors to treat syphilis.

7. Oral Cancer

Oral cancer may exhibit signs that are similar to an oral infection while being considerably more uncommon. An unhealed open sore or lesion on the tongue is one indication of green tongue causes. Depending on the meals and beverages a person consumes as well as the oral products they use, this irritation may change color. It may also get infected if bacteria begin to accumulate. Other symptoms of oral cancer can include the following:

  • A growing or rough area on the tongue
  • A recurrent sore throat or jaw pain
  • Gums with no known cause or bleeding from the tongue
  • Losing teeth
  • Persistent tongue pain
  • Tingling in the lips, chin, or neck
  • Tinted spots on the tongue that may be pinkish, green, or white
  • Unusual weight loss 

Further Reasons

Other reasons for it can be:

  • Antibiotics, throat or upper respiratory infections that spread to the tongue
  • Discharge from an infected tongue piercing, poor dental hygiene
  • Temporary color changes brought on by food coloring in candies, sweets, or oral hygiene products
  • Temporary color changes brought on by supplements or foods containing chlorophyll
  • Unlawful drug use


Occasionally, a doctor can identify the reasons for it only by looking at the patient. A doctor may also search for further indicators of infection while also asking a patient about their symptoms. A biopsy is frequently only required if a medical professional believes there may be cancer on the tongue. To determine whether cancer cells have spread, they may also utilize one or more imaging procedures.

Green Tongue


Depending on the green tongue causes, there are many ways to treat it. If doctors are certain that bacteria are to blame for it, they might advise taking antibiotics. Antifungal drugs like nystatin, fluconazole, or clotrimazole may be prescribed if a doctor detects a fungal infection. Vitamin A or retinoids can be used to treat oral leukoplakia, however, these treatment for green tongue don’t always work to alleviate symptoms.

Corticosteroids or antihistamines can help alleviate mouth or tongue inflammation. Depending on the person’s symptoms, over-the-counter painkillers like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) may also offer some comfort. Treatment options for oral cancer might vary from person to person and may include dietary modifications, chemotherapy, and surgery. Maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial to assisting treatment efforts in all cases of this. A person can take the following actions to promote healing:

  • Avoiding mouthwashes that include harsh chemicals or high alcohol levels, 
  • Routinely rinsing the mouth with salt water,
  • Flossing daily to reduce germs in the mouth,
  • Brushing and flossing softly to prevent mouth cuts, and drinking lots of water

To increase the number of beneficial bacteria in the body, some doctors may also advise consuming probiotic foods or supplements.

Tongue Rubbing

The number of bacteria in the mouth and light green tongue oral problems may be reduced through tongue scraping. While tongue scraping won’t make your tongue disappear completely, it can support any medication or therapy that your doctor may have prescribed. When tongue scraping is included in a daily dental hygiene program that also includes brushing and flossing, it might function well. Before beginning, it is best to discuss tongue scraping with a doctor or dentist because it may not always be beneficial.

When To Visit The Doctor?

Green tongue causes, when not the result of transitory food coloring staining, is frequently an indication that there are too many dangerous bacteria in the mouth. If the discoloration does not go away in a few days or disappears and returns, it is crucial to consult a doctor for treatment for green tongue, regardless of whether this is yeast growth or another sort of illness. Medical care is necessary in many cases of this condition. The best strategy to address the underlying problem is to adhere to the treatment plan recommended by the doctor.


Why is my tongue green in the morning?

A green tongue in the morning could be due to an accumulation of bacteria and debris overnight.

What causes a green furry tongue?

A green furry tongue is often caused by an overgrowth of bacteria or yeast, poor oral hygiene, or certain medications.

What causes a green tongue?

A green tongue can be caused by an overgrowth of bacteria or yeast, poor oral hygiene, certain medications, smoking, or consuming certain foods and drinks.

Is a green tongue a sign of a serious health problem?

In most cases, a green tongue is not a sign of a serious health problem and can be resolved with improved oral hygiene. However, if it is accompanied by other symptoms, such as pain or difficulty swallowing, it is best to consult a doctor.