Black hairy tongue is characterized by a painless, benign (harmless) oral condition wherein the tongue looks furry and dark in color. Black tongue occurs due to bacteria overgrowth in the mouth.

Symptoms of Black Hairy Tongue:

  • Brown, black or yellow discoloration of your tongue
  • A furry or hairy appearance of your tongue
  • Halitosis (bad breath)
  • Metallic taste or altered taste in your mouth
  • Gagging feeling in some patients

Causes of Black Hairy Tongue

Usually, black hairy tongue occurs when papillae (projections on your tongue) elongate and do not shed like normal, making the tongue appear hairy. Bacteria, debris, or certain other organisms cause the tongue to appear yellow, black or brown in color. Some of the potential causes of this problem include:

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Changes in normal yeast or bacteria content of your mouth due to the use of antibiotics
  • Breathing through the mouth
  • Rinsing your mouth with mouthwashes that contain astringent agents like menthol or witch hazel or oxidizing agents like peroxide
  • Medications that contain bismuth
  • Heavy use of tobacco

When to consult a dentist

Make an appointment with a specially trained dentist at Brighton Implant Clinic if:

  • You are worried about how your tongue looks like
  • The condition continues for over 10 days

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