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A 29-year-old member asked:

what causes a black hairy tongue?

3 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Richard Bensinger
Ophthalmology 52 years experience
Tongue papillae: The tongue is coated with taste receptors termed papillae. These normally stay short from food chewing and constant rubbing in normal activity of the mouth. If they grow longer, they can be stained darker by food and other substances in the mouth. It is not harmful and is not pathologic. You can lessen it by brushing the tongue as well as your teeth with your toothbrush.
Dr. Richard Bensinger
Ophthalmology 52 years experience
Overgrown papillae: The tongue is coated with taste receptors termed papillae. These normally stay short from food chewing and constant rubbing in normal activity of the mouth. If they grow longer, they can be stained darker by food and other substances in the mouth. It is not harmful and is not pathologic. You can lessen it by brushing the tongue as well as your teeth with your toothbrush.
Dr. Richard Bensinger
Ophthalmology 52 years experience
Papillae overgrowth: The tongue is coated with taste receptors termed papillae. These normally stay short from food chewing and constant rubbing in normal activity of the mouth. If they grow longer, they can be stained darker by food and other substances in the mouth. It is not harmful and is not pathologic. You can lessen it by brushing the tongue as well as your teeth with your toothbrush.

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A 44-year-old member asked:

How common black hairy tongue?

1 doctor answer2 doctors weighed in
Dr. Gary Sandler
Dentistry 54 years experience
Unknown: I don't think there have been any studies on this subject. It can range from mild to severe. I see mild cases often but only occasionally a severe case.
A 38-year-old member asked:

Black hairy tongue is caused by what problems?

2 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Joseph Bouvier
Pediatrics 25 years experience
See below: Black hairy tongue (in latin, lingua villosa nigra) is usually caused by some sort of rubbing sown of the papilla of the tongue so when they grow back they are longer and look "hairy." th tissue then can get stained by a number of chemical s or drugs like pepto-bismol and look black. Is is also a side effect of bulemia but by itself, it is harmless.
A 30-year-old member asked:

How do you know when you are starting to get a black hairy tongue?

1 doctor answer1 doctor weighed in
Dr. Kini Tran
Dr. Kini Tran answered
Dentistry 18 years experience
Tongue appears hairy: The hairy appearance is due to the elongation of keratinized filiform papillae, which may have different colors varying from white, yellow, brown, to black depending upon the involved extrinsic factors (ie, tobacco, coffee, tea, or food) and intrinsic factors (ie, chromogenic organisms in the normal flora).
CA
A 28-year-old male asked:

What is the definition or description of: black hairy tongue?

6 doctor answers7 doctors weighed in
Dr. Theodore Davantzis
Dentistry 40 years experience
Black Hairy Tongue: A condition characterised by hyperkeratosis of darkened, hyperplastic filiform papillae on the dorsum of the tongue with secondary hemosiderin deposition. Black hairy tongue is anterior to the circumvallate papillae, due to prolonged antibiotic therapy, resulting in overgrowth of chromogenic bacteria. http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/black+hairy+tongue.
A 43-year-old member asked:

Is black hairy tongue dangerous?

2 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Robert Trager
Dentistry 55 years experience
no: Many people have black or even white hair tongue-some various causes-anemia-gastric upsets -heavy smokers -radiation treatment-not dangerous- brush tongue to keep it clean.

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Last updated Mar 16, 2021

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