Black Hairy Tongue is a condition where your tongue appears black or hairy. Hairy tongue can be any color like white, brown, pink, green or black depending on the causative factor. The black and hairy appearance may be due to over growth of fungi and bacteria in mouth. This condition is usually harmless and can be treated easily with traditional methods, lifestyle changes and good oral hygiene.

What Causes Black Hairy Tongue ?

The exact cause of black hairy tongue is still controversial but this conditions is usually associated with the following:

  • Excessive tobacco use.
  • Drinking more tea or coffee.
  • Poor oral hygiene.
  • Long term antibiotic therapy, especially broad spectrum antibiotics.
  • Dehydration.
  • Overusing mouthwashes containing peroxide or menthol.
  • Medications containing the chemical bismuth.
  • Chronic medical conditions like HIV AIDS.
  • Radiation therapy of neck and head.

Anyone can have black hairy tongue, this is no race specific. Though male populations tends to have more but females are also affected. This conditions usually increases with age, as activities and habits keep increasing as you grow older like using tobacco and coffee. Most often people suspect of HIV which is not always the case, but sometimes it can be the alarming sign of chronic disease like HIV AIDS.

People with Black Hairy Tongue may not have any discomfort or symptoms, Some may have tickling like sensation in the soft palate during swallowing. In some severe condition, there may be gagging sensation or sometimes halitosis. Some may have nausea and metallic taste.

How Can I Get Rid Of Black Hairy Tongue ?

Black Hairy Tongue is not a serious health condition. The main aim of treatment is to avoid possible causative factors like Secession smoking, limiting excessive tea or coffee drinking or other associated factors as discussed above. In many of the cases, just regular brushing of teeth along with tongue with a soft tooth brush 2 times a day will almost eliminate it. Drinking plenty of water and rinsing your mouth after meal will keep your mouth clean.

If the condition is severe or does not respond after limiting causative factors and and good oral hygiene, Some broad-spectrum topical antifungal medications like Clotrimazole, Ketoconazole or oral Fluconazole may be taken under doctor supervision. Some other medications like antibiotics and topical retinoids may also be used in some cases. Response is quite good and complications are very rare.

If all the therapies fails, it can also be treated with carbon dioxide lasers or surgically with electrodesiccation. If you have any questions related to Black Hairy Tongue, You can ask us at DermaTalk Skin Care Advice Forum