Black Hairy Tongue

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Has your tongue taken on the appearance of being covered in dark-colored hair? This is a condition known, appropriately, as black hairy tongue. It is a painless, but detrimental development that our Federal Way dentistry clinic can help you with.

Black hairy tongue occurs when the papillae on your tongue swell and lengthen. This creates a hair-like appearance, then captures bacteria and particles within your mouth. The pigments from your food and bacteria gradually turns the papillae black, or occasionally brown, green, yellow, or another color.

There are many causes of black hairy tongue, including the following:

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Smoking or chewing tobacco
  • Antibiotics or certain medications
  • Drinking excessive tea or coffee
  • Dehydration
  • Mouthwash containing peroxide, witch hazel, or menthol
  • Radiation therapy in the head or neck

Curing black hairy tongue is often just a matter of improving your oral hygiene. First and foremost, start scraping your tongue if you do not already do so. Additionally, you may consider giving up on smoking, drinking more water, or consulting your dentist for further options.

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