Foods that cause yellow tongue include soft foods that do not remove the dead skin cells on the tongue, drinks that are too warm and burn the tongue, tea and coffee, explains HealCure.org. Tobacco use also causes yellow tongue. Yellow tongue can be an early indicator of medical conditions, such as black hairy tongue and jaundice, notes Mayo Clinic.
When dead skin cells form a coating on the tongue, foods can stain these cells and make them appear yellow, notes Mayo Clinic. While foods can stain the papillae on the tongue, enlarged papillae can trap bacteria from foods and shedding skin, both of which also develop pigments. Another cause of yellow tongue is mouth breathing. Although rare, if the eyes and skin yellow along with the tongue, this may be a sign of jaundice, a condition that requires medical attention.
Excessive bacteria and yeast buildup on the tongue also develop pigments that can appear as a yellow coating, notes HealCure.org. While yellow tongue can lead to black hairy tongue, other colors associated with this condition include a white, brown, tan, purple, green or orange tongue. A yellow tongue due to black hairy tongue often presents with these other symptoms: a metallic taste, a fuzzy feeling along the tongue, bad breath, or a tickling or itching feeling.