Symptoms of Black Hairy Tongue

The following features are indicative of Black Hairy Tongue:
  • black discoloration of the tongue
  • hairy or furry appearance of the tongue
  • altered taste or metallic taste in mouth
  • bad breath
  • gagging or tickling sensation
It is possible that Black Hairy Tongue shows no physical symptoms and still is present in a patient.

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Common Causes of Black Hairy Tongue

The following are the most common causes of Black Hairy Tongue:
  • changes in the normal bacteria or yeast content of the mouth after antibiotics use
  • poor oral hygiene
  • dry mouth (xerostomia)
  • regular use of mouthwashes containing irritating oxidizing agents, such as peroxide
  • tobacco use
  • drinking excessive amounts of coffee or black tea
  • excessive alcohol use

Risk Factors for Black Hairy Tongue

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Black Hairy Tongue:
  • poor oral hygiene
  • dry mouth (xerostomia)
  • regular use of mouthwashes containing irritating oxidizing agents
  • tobacco use
  • drinking excessive amounts of coffee or black tea
  • excessive alcohol use

Prevention of Black Hairy Tongue

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Black Hairy Tongue. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • practicing good oral hygiene
  • use tongue cleaning devices
  • avoid smoking

Occurrence of Black Hairy Tongue

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Black Hairy Tongue cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Extremely rare less than 1000 cases

Common Age Group

Black Hairy Tongue can occur at any age.

Common Gender

Black Hairy Tongue can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Black Hairy Tongue

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Black Hairy Tongue:
  • Physical examination: To check fungal or viral infections, blackened tongue and normal variations in tongue color

Doctor for Diagnosis of Black Hairy Tongue

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Black Hairy Tongue:
  • Dentists

Complications of Black Hairy Tongue if untreated

Yes, Black Hairy Tongue causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Black Hairy Tongue is left untreated:
  • burning mouth syndrome
  • halitosis
  • nausea
  • gagging
  • dysgeusia

Self-care for Black Hairy Tongue

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Black Hairy Tongue:
  • Brushing the tongue with a soft toothbrush: To remove dead cells, bacteria and food debris
  • Brush after eating: Brush the teeth at least twice a day after every meal, using fluoride toothpaste to keep tongue clean
  • Regular dentist visit: Helps to prevent oral problems or spots
  • Maintain good nutrition: Drink plenty of water and eat a balanced diet to stay healthy

Time for Treatment of Black Hairy Tongue

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Black Hairy Tongue to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • Within 1 week

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Black Hairy Tongue.

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