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Mouth Diseases

Unusual color change in the mouth

02/01/2008

Question:

My friend has noticed that inside her lower has changed to a yellow color. As she descibed it, "it looks like chicken fat" instead of the regular pink color. I`m thinking she should be very concerned and seek the advice of a dentist ASAP. I tried to look online to see if I could find anything like what she described, but could not locate anything. Everything I found talked about whitened areas. Any suggestions?

Answer:

Many things are missing from your description, especially the precise location of this "lower" area of color change. With that limitation, several common things can give the mucosa (skin lining the mouth) a yellow appearance, although they usually have fairly distinct features on examination. These include:

Even scar tissue can appear more yellowish, due to a reduction in the amount of blood vessels that normally make the mucosa appear pink.

While none of these conditions are serious, your friend would probably gain peace of mind from a dental examination to confirm that the color change is innocuous and requires no treatment.

For more information:

Go to the Mouth Diseases health topic, where you can:

Response by:

John R Kalmar, DMD, PhD John R Kalmar, DMD, PhD
Clinical Professor of Pathology
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University