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Black Hairy Tongue

You are about to go out with your friends; it’s been a long week and you are ready to rest. However, as you are getting ready you notice something weird in your tongue; your tongue has turned a dark color and you begin to feel a burning sensation. This burning sensation becomes harsh and you decide to take pain-killer, unfortunately these have little effect. At the event, you face several embarrassing moments and decide to leave early.

You decide to visit your dentist and have your oral cavity inspected. After a thoroughly investigation your dentist informs you, you have been diagnosed with: black hairy tongue.

Black Hairy Tongue

The name might sound scary and even painful; however this rare condition is actually harmless. There are several factors that can cause this disease, however the primary reason is poor oral hygiene. This pathology affects about 8% of the population; however this number can drastically increase if the person is addicted to drugs or has certain diseases (HIV).

What causes: Black Hairy Tongue

Black hairy tongue is caused when you have excess bacteria and yeast in your mouth. As bacteria and yeast build-up, these will get attached to the surface of the tongue. Specifically the bacterium, will attached to the lingual papillae.

Lingual papillae are the small nipple or hair-like structures located on the upper surface of the tongue; they are divided into four areas: circumvallate papillae, fungiform papillae, filiform papillae and foliate papillae. Through these rough textures, we are able to distinguish taste in foods and everything we consume.

When you are diagnose with black hairy tongue disease, the papillae begin to grow and lengthen, forming a hair-like entities. These can grow up to 15 times their normal length.
Healthy papillae normally is a pink-white color, however when infected with bacteria it turns black in color; other colors include brown, yellow and green.

As mention in previous posts, some of our habits can be harmful and can cause numerous diseases; Sani Dental Group advices you avoid the following as much as possible:

  • Certain antibiotics/medication
  • Certain mouthwashes (contains peroxide, witch hazel or menthol)
  • Dehydration
  • Poor Oral Hygiene
  • Radiation/Chemotherapy treatment (in oral cavity and surrounding)
  • Smoking
  • Smoking
  • Xerostomia

Fact: Black hairy tongue is more common in men than in women and with people whom use intravenous drugs.

Treatment Options: Black Hairy Tongue

As mention this disease is caused by poor hygiene practices, the best and easy way to prevent this disease is by good oral hygiene. By gently brushing your teeth at least 2 times a day, brushing your tongue and using mouthwash you will greatly reduce the risk of obtaining this disease.

Our professionals offer you these tips:

  • Follow good oral hygiene
  • Have a balanced diet
  • Quit Smoking

If problem persist – visit your dentist; he will offer you the best treatment option available. Only he can determine if simple steps are needed to be taken or if in your case you will need a surgical procedure (laser or electro-surgery).

You follow your treatment and the thick, black, hairy fibers begin to fall off; your tongue returns to its normal look.

Once again you and your friends get together and they ask you, “How have you been?” You reply to them that you are glad that you no longer have that burning sensation in your mouth or that your tongue is no has a variety of colors like it did. You enjoy the rest of the evening, you are happy that once again you are able to smile and enjoy good moments like in the past.

The steps and procedures mentioned in this post are procedures available in the medical field; however, not all these treatments and procedures are perform at Sani Dental Group. To confirm if this procedure is perform at our dental clinics, please contact us directly.