Yellow coating on the tongue of a child

Yellow coating on the tongue of a child

25.05.2022 0 By admin

The color, density and localization of plaque in the child’s tongue provides information about many processes occurring in his body. If the plaque is whitish, odorless and easily removed with a cotton swab or toothbrush, there is no reason to worry. This plaque is formed by the accumulation of saliva, epithelial cells, food debris and microorganisms living in the oral cavity. Usually such a plaque can be seen on the child’s tongue in the morning, after sleep. To remove it, oral hygiene and food intake are sufficient.

Why plaque on the tongue turns yellow

If during the day the child did not eat foods containing natural dyes (vegetables and fruits of bright orange color, frozen ice, lollipops, etc.), as well as carbonated drinks containing chemical dyes, then among the factors causing yellowing of plaque on the tongue , the following can be distinguished.

Causes of yellow plaque in the tongue of a child

Diseases of the gastrointestinal tract (GIT)

A white-yellow coating may indicate gastritis, colitis, or a stomach ulcer. The child complains of abdominal pain, nausea, heartburn, loss of appetite.

Diseases of the liver, gallbladder and biliary tract

Yellow plaque on the tongue appears with viral hepatitis. In this case, yellowing of the skin, mucous membranes and sclera (outer white membranes of the eyes) is also observed.

Yellowing and thickening of plaque on the tongue causes:

  • liver failure;
  • hemolytic jaundice;
  • poisoning with chemical or food products;
  • inflammation or blockage of the gallbladder and / or its ducts.

Diseases of the upper respiratory tract in children of the 1st year of life

If the baby has a yellowish coating on the tongue with a deterioration in general well-being and suspicion of a sore throat, consult a doctor immediately. The anatomy and immaturity of the baby’s immune system can provoke a sharp development of the disease.

What to do if a child has a yellow coating on the tongue

Infectious and parasitic diseases

Dysentery bacillus, staphylococci, giardia, salmonella, helminthic invasions are able to penetrate from the intestine to the liver and affect the biliary tract, which is reflected in the change in color and density of plaque in the child’s tongue. A yellow-white coating on the tongue can be observed in the early days of scarlet fever.

Yellowness can increase due to dehydration caused by vomiting and diarrhea. The plaque in this case is so thick that it is difficult to remove with a brush.

Candidiasis (thrush) can be triggered by the development of yeast microorganisms, accompany diseases caused by a sharp decrease in immunity, occur during or after taking certain medications.

Also, a yellow coating on the tongue appears in a child with:

  • diseases of the pancreas (pancreatitis, diabetes mellitus);
  • overfeeding fatty foods, which causes an increase in bile production.

Yellowing of the tongue in babies

yellow coating on the tongue of the baby

Specific causes of yellow plaque on the tongue in newborns and children of the first year of life:

  • invasive candidiasis of newborns (the presence of infection in the mother during pregnancy and childbirth, prematurity, intubation, the use of antimicrobials). Invasive candidiasis is a severe fungal infection that can be manifested by the involvement of any organs and systems of the body in the process;
  • autoimmune diseases;
  • poor-quality composition of the mixture for feeding the child;
  • transition from breastfeeding to artificial;
  • intoxication of the body, including through breast milk.

Additional signs of pathology in children

Yellow coating on the child’s tongue may be accompanied by:

  • unpleasant pungent odor from the mouth;
  • increased salivation;
  • frequent regurgitation, vomiting, diarrhea;
  • yellowing of the skin and mucous membranes;
  • discoloration of urine and feces;
  • swelling of the gums and tongue;
  • the appearance of cracks in the corners of the mouth, a hemorrhagic rash over the body (small red spots with a yellow tinge);
  • tremor (trembling) of the hands;
  • tearfulness, anxiety, irritability.

If the yellow plaque in the baby lasts more than 5 days, is not removed with gauze or a cotton swab, and the child refuses the breast or nipple, you should immediately call a doctor who will prescribe an in-depth examination to find out the cause of the pathology.



  1. N.P. Shabalov. Children’s diseases: a textbook for universities, 6th edition, revised and expanded, in two volumes. T.1. – St. Petersburg, 2011 – 928 p.
  2. Pediatrics. National leadership. Brief edition / edited by A.A. Baranov. – Moscow, 2014 – 768 p.

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