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Black Hairy Tongue Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

What Is Black Hairy Tongue?

Papillae are the minute projections on our tongue’s surface. They contain taste buds. Black hairy tongue is an oral condition that makes the tongue look furry and dark. Clearly, black hairy tongue is harmless and occurs on temporary basis. Accumulation of dead skin cells on the papillae leads to black hairy tongue.

Such papillae tend to be longer than usual and can be stained with tobacco or food substances. They can also trap yeast and bacteria easily. Even though, the affected appearance of tongue can be distressing, however it doesn’t indicates towards some underlying health problem. Generally, black hairy tongue is painless and resolves on its own without needing medical treatment.

What Are The Symptoms Of Black Hairy Tongue?

Few common symptoms of the condition are:

  • Bad breath.
  • Metallic taste or altered taste in mouth.
  • Furry or hairy look of the tongue.
  • Tickling or gagging feeling.
  • Discoloration of tongue. It may appear blackish even though the color can be tan, brown, white yellow or green.

When Is The Right Time To Seek Medical Assistance?

As mentioned earlier, black tongue is painless, harmless and temporary. However seek medical assistance in case you are concerned about its appearance.

What Causes Black Hairy Tongue?

Usually, it consequents when papillae (projections) on the tongue:

  • Do not shed.
  • Grow longer.

Such causes your tongue to appear hairy. Bacteria, debris or some other organisms can easily gather on these projections, leading discoloration of the tongue. Not always, the cause of the condition can be determined, though, few potential causes can be:

  • Lack of oral hygiene.
  • Using antibiotics.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Certain medications that contain bismuth.
  • Irritation caused by hot beverages.
  • Mouthwashes that contain oxidizing agents.
  • Consuming soft foods that do not help in rubbing the dead skin cells on the tongue.

What Are The Differential Diagnoses Of Black Hairy Tongue?

How Is Black Hairy Tongue Treated?

Usually, the condition does not need any medical treatment. Even though, it makes the tongue look unattractive, but fortunately, it is harmless and temporary!

One can resolve the condition by following the below mentioned suggestions:

  • Avoid the sources that can lead to a black hairy tongue for example:

1. Quit using tobacco.

2. Do not take bismuth-containing medicines. Talk to your doctor before discontinuing the usage of prescribed medicine.

  • Good oral hygiene is important, thus practice the following:

1. While brushing your teeth, gently brush your tongue. This will help get rid of food debris, bacteria and dead cells from your tongue.

2. Once every day, floss your teeth, this will remove plaque and food particles stuck between the teeth.

3. Brush your teeth twice every day. Choose fluoride toothpaste.

It is advice to visit the dentist more often, by this; any oral problem would be spotted at an early stage. Besides oral exam, professional cleaning must also be conducted on regular basis.


By : Natural Health News

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