Why Is The Roof Of My Mouth Yellow? (10 Possible Causes & 4 Steps To Get Better)

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The cause of the roof of your mouth being yellow could be a simple hygiene issue or a severe underlying issue. The serious issues include oral cancer, jaundice, or canker sores.

If the roof of your mouth has turned yellow, it might not signify a serious issue, but you might want a medical checkup.

Poor oral hygiene might be to blame in most cases. This often happens in young children who have not yet mastered cleaning their mouths properly.

In other cases, it could be due to an underlying health issue.

Most conditions that lead to the roof of the mouth turning yellow include jaundice, some infections, or oral cancer. Before you start panicking, you need to see your doctor for a detailed checkup.

In this article, we look at the possible causes of this condition, its symptoms, and how to treat them.

What would cause the roof of my mouth to be yellow?

1. Oral hygiene

The first culprit to a yellow mouth roof will be poor oral hygiene. If you fail to brush your mouth thoroughly, including the roof of your mouth, then yellowing may occur.

A young woman is checking her breath to see if she has bad breath

Bacteria build up in places that don’t get cleaned and may lead to the roof of the mouth and the tongue turning yellow.

Areas that need to be cleaned in the mouth include the tongue, the roof of the mouth, teeth, gums, and lips.

Other symptoms you may experience due to failing to clean your mouth correctly include:

  • Bad breath
  • Bleeding gums
  • Swollen gums
  • Painful chewing

So if these symptoms accompany the yellow mouth roof, you must visit a dentist for thorough mouth washing.

2. It could be oral thrush

You may develop oral thrush when yeast infection gets an overgrowth in the mouth.

Yeast infection causes the roof of the mouth to turn yellow. It also causes yellow bumps and patches on the mouth roof hence the symptoms you might be experiencing.

You should see your doctor if you experience the following symptoms too.

  • Cracked lip corners
  • Burning feeling in your mouth
  • Lack of smell and taste in some cases

We recommend treating oral thrush to prevent it from spreading to other areas.

3. Dry mouth

When you breathe excessively using your mouth, the mouth gets dry and lacks sufficient saliva.

A woman with Xerostomia is trying to relieve her dry throat

Xerostomia, a condition that causes the salivary glands to stop producing enough saliva, might also lead to this condition.

As the saliva in your mouth gets limited, bacteria buildup may occur. The excessive bacteria buildup makes the roof of the mouth turn yellow.

Other dry mouth symptoms include the following

  • Sticky saliva
  • Bad breath
  • Dry throat
  • Dry tongue

Visiting your doctor is the best step since some medications help eliminate bacterial infections.

4. You could be having oral herpes

Sometimes HSV-1 virus may result in an oral herpes outbreak. Herpes may appear outside or inside the mouth. When you get herpes at the roof of your mouth, it could be the reason you notice a yellow mouth roof.

The American Academy of Dermatology associates the symptoms of a tingling sensation and itching with herpes. These symptoms occur at the site of herpes development before they occur.

Visit your doctor if you get these symptoms and herpes has caused yellowing on the roof of your mouth. With medication, you get well and resume your normalcy.

5. It could be canker sores

Do you experience some painful sores on the roof of the mouth? It could be canker sores with puss.

Canker sores appear as mouth ulcers, and if they contain puss at the roof of your mouth, they could cause the yellowing of this area.

Often, these sores disappear on their own. If you experience painful red or yellow sores that don’t disappear, visit your dentist or doctor for proper treatment.

6. Jaundice

If your liver or gallbladder dysfunctions, it could cause bilirubin buildup.

Jaundice causes bilirubin buildup in the blood, causing the yellowing of most regions. These regions could include the roof of the mouth, tongue, eyes, palms, and feet.

If these symptoms occur with flue like symptoms, visit your doctor right away.

7. Your mouthwash could contain oxidizing agents

Does your mouth contain hydrogen peroxide? If yes, it could be the cause of your symptoms.

Since hydrogen peroxide proves to be an active oxidizing agent, it could lead to yellow coloring on the roof of your mouth.

These mouthwashes will also make your tongue turn yellow.

8. Medications containing bismuth

When you take bismuth subsalicylate to treat an upset stomach, you may notice some yellowing on the roof of your mouth.

A man is holding a medicine that he's about to take with a glass of water

Drugs containing bismuth may have a yellowing and blackening effect on the tongue and the rest of the mouth.

So, if you have taken bismuth-containing medication, turning the roof of the mouth yellow should not worry you.

9. It could be a result of tobacco smoke

Smoking tobacco might cause the yellowing you have experienced on the roof of your mouth.

Often, smoking contributes to poor hygiene in the mouth. It may also cause your tongue to appear black.

If you smoke often, oral thrush might develop, causing yellow patches on the roof of your mouth.

10. Oral cancer/cancer treatment

Oral cancer or cancer treatment may cause some yellow patches on the roof of the mouth.

You should see your doctor if the roof of the mouth has a painless bump. If the yellow color happens as a result of cancer treatment, let your doctor know also.

Steps to deal with the yellowing on the roof of the mouth

  1. Seek immediate medical help
  2. Ensure you increase your levels of oral hygiene
  3. Treat any bacterial infections successfully
  4. Quit smoking tobacco


Why is the top of my mouth yellow?

You could be suffering from simple mouth hygiene issues or more severe complications.

The safest way to know will be by visiting your doctor.

What causes the roof of your mouth to hurt when you eat?

It could be due to oral thrush or painful canker sores. With treatment, the pain goes away.

I have sores on the roof of my mouth. What can I do?

Visit your doctor to help make a diagnosis. Diagnosis will make it easy to get medication for the sores to heal.


Although the yellow color on the roof of your mouth may disappear on its own, it’s good to visit a doctor.

Sometimes the condition may spread to other organs. Serious causes like bacterial infection require medication to clear.

Always visit your doctor or dentist when you notice changes in your mouth. 

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Nudrat Naheed
Hi, I am Nudrat, The Heart And Brain author, IR student, and painter. Writing about health fascinates me because it helps me to explore a new healthy routine and share it with others. I write primarily about general health, pregnancy, postpartum, and allergies here. If you don't find me writing, I'm busy painting or reading on global politics.

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