What are the causes of a black tongue? Get more insights on the causes of green black hairy tongue, symptoms, treatments and how to fix and cure this tongue problem among children and adults.
Tongue is a very essential organ in the body and it is made up of several muscles that defines its function. Structurally the tongue is used in tasting, moving and mixing of food to enable swallowing and is also used in forming of words while talking.
A healthy tongue is pink in color and the surface is covered with small nodules called papillae which contains taste buds. At a time human beings may develop spots on the tongue or patches that are white, black or red in color. Similarly, bumps on the tongue can form due to various factors.
Black tongue is also a major problem most people are experiencing including kids. According to the studies, majority of these tongue conditions does not associate any serious medical condition. There are rare cases where such signs may imply a serious medical problem especially when they relate other signs like soreness, pain, bleeding and a swollen tongue.
Black Tongue – Meaning
“Black hairy tongue is a temporary, harmless oral condition that gives your tongue a dark, furry appearance. The distinct look of black hairy tongue usually results from a buildup of dead skin cells on the numerous tiny projections (papillae) on the surface of your tongue that contain taste buds.
These papillae, which are longer than normal, can easily trap and be stained by tobacco, food or other substances, and bacteria or yeast. Although black hairy tongue may look alarming, typically it doesn’t cause any health problems and is usually painless. Black hairy tongue usually resolves without medical treatment.”[Mayo Clinic]
Black Hairy Tongue Symptoms
Here are the major signs and symptoms of a black hairy tongue:
- Discoloration of the tongue to black, green tan, yellow, white or brown
- Hairy growth on the tongue surface causing a furry appearance
- An altered taste either salty or metallic in the mouth
- Production of a bad breath by the patient
- Tickling or irritating sensation of the tongue
Causes of Black Tongue – What Causes a Black Hairy Tongue?
Black tongue is mainly caused by excessive growth and multiplication of bacteria in the mouth. They also make the papillae to grow longer and altering the normal shedding rate. The lengthening of the papillae drastically increases hence appearing like abnormal bumps on tongue.
When these natural nodules on the tongue grows abnormally, they begin changing from their normal pink color to white, black or dark due to the catching up of food and drink materials as well as bacteria themselves. Besides the yeast infection in the mouth, there are also other factors that can cause the tongue to appear black in color and they include the following:
- Poor oral hygiene
- Smoking and use of tobacco
- Drinking a lot of beverages such as coffee or tea
- Using antibiotics (which may disrupt the normal balance of bacteria in the mouth)
- Being dehydrated (lack of enough water in the body to flash out toxin substances)
- Consumption of medications that contain the chemical bismuth (such as Pepto-Bismol for upset stomach)
- Inadequate saliva production in the mouth.
- Regularly using mouthwash that contains peroxide, witch hazel, or menthol
- Getting radiation therapy to the head and neck
- Eating of food substances that does not help to rub dead skin cells from your tongue
- Chronic medical conditions and infections such as AIDS
How to Get Rid of a Black Tongue – Fix, Reduce, Treat, Prevent and Cure
Black hairy tongue is does not imply any serious medical condition and symptoms are expected to subside within a couple of weeks. This is a temporary and harmless medical condition that does not require any special medical attention.
Good oral hygiene is the best way to get rid of the black hair tongue. While you are brushing your teeth, also remember to brush your tongue on regular basis. This not only help in the removal of dead skin on the surface but also helping in shedding of the excessive papillae that may harbor bacteria and other stains.
Always take enough amount of water on regular basis. Dry mouth can easily cause bacterial infection. Avoid smoking and using too much substances such as tobacco, tea and coffee. Roughage should be the greatest part of your diet to help in rubbing out dead skin cells from the tongue surface.
Black Tongue Pictures and When to See a Doctor
When symptoms persist, you need to consult your doctor, dentist or a GP since the condition can be linked to a serious medical condition. Your mouth will be examined and a relevant treatment will follow. In such cases, the doctor may prescribe antibacterial medication to get rid of the fungi causing the black tongue. For a more serious situation advanced treatments such as laser or surgery may be used in removing the excessive papillae.
Here are some (FAQ) questions the doctor will as you the moment you report about the tongue problem:
- When did you first notice the problem?
- Have you had similar symptoms before?
- Do you have pain, swelling, breathing problems, or difficulty swallowing? Are there problems with speaking or moving the tongue?
- Have you noticed changes in taste?
- Do you have a tongue tremor?
- What makes the problem worse? What have you tried that helps?
- Do you wear dentures?
- What have you tried that helps?
- Are there problems with the teeth, gums, lips, or throat? Does the tongue bleed?
- Do you have a rash or fever? Do you have allergies?
- What medicines do you take?
- Do you use tobacco products or drink alcohol?
Black tongue can cause taste problems in the mouth and the diagnosis should focus to know the real cause of the condition. Damage to the taste buds, nerve problems and allergies are some of the factors that can alter the tongue tasting ability. In conclusion therefore share with us your experience to do with black hairy tongue to help in the improvement of this content.
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