Yellowish Roof of Mouth: Causes, Treatment and Concerns

You may notice a spot that is yellowish on the roof of your mouth for several reasons. Although a yellowish roof of your mouth may alarm you, the problem is usually not serious and can heal without extensive treatment. However, you should always consult with your dentist if you notice anything suspicious that concerns you. 

Schedule an appointment at Trident Dental for a comprehensive examination of your teeth and oral soft tissues. 

Causes of Yellowish Roof of Your Mouth

Yellow mouth lesions are not as common as red and white ones, but can occur for a wide range of causes, such as:

  • Inadequate oral hygiene. Daily toothbrushing and flossing helps prevent bacteria from accumulating on your teeth, gums, tongue, cheek, and palate. Without cleaning your teeth and gums, bacteria multiply, and their by-products can cause tooth decay, gum disease, and discoloration of the soft tissues and teeth. After extensive dental plaque accumulation, these bacteria can cause your tongue, the roof of your mouth, and your teeth to turn yellow. Professional teeth cleaning and improved home oral care can typically resolve this discoloration.

  • Fordyce granules. These yellowish areas form when normal sebaceous or oily glands collect in the oral soft tissues, including the tongues, gums, cheek, and roof of your mouth. These asymptomatic areas require no treatment to heal.

  • Tooth abscess. A tooth with an infected dental pulp can cause swelling on the roof of your mouth. Because the accumulation of pus causes swelling, it can have a yellow appearance. The treatment for an abscessed tooth is a root canal treatment

  • Periodontal infection. Gum or periodontal abscesses form when plaque accumulates beneath the gum line. This can cause a yellow swelling that may require deep scaling and root planing or periodontal surgery

  • Oral candidiasis. Also known as oral thrush, candidiasis is a yeast infection that can affect the cheeks, throat, palate, and tongue. It typically appears as a white or yellowish patch and can cause soreness and loss of taste. Possible causes of oral candidiasis include not cleaning a denture adequately, diabetes, cancer, compromised immune system, and certain medications such as antibiotics. Treatment can include taking an antifungal medicine.

  • Aphthous ulcers. Aphthous ulcers, or canker sores, can be white or yellow and surrounded by a red border. They can be painful and interfere with eating and speaking. They typically resolve completely without treatment in a couple of weeks, but can take several weeks and leave scarring. The cause of most canker sores is unknown; some possibilities include trauma, food allergies, vitamin or mineral deficiency (especially zinc and vitamin B12), hormonal changes, and stress. Certain medical conditions have also been linked to aphthous ulcers, such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, HIV/AIDS, Celiac disease, and Behcet’s disease. Finally, some oral health care products have been implicated in causing aphthous ulcers. These products contain sodium lauryl sulfate found in some toothpaste and mouthwash.

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