Black hairy tongue is a temporary, harmless condition caused by bacteria or fungi in the mouth that make the tongue appear black and hairy. It can be easily cured by good old-fashioned oral hygiene.
It is caused by excess bacteria or yeast growth in your mouth. The bacteria accumulation occurs on tiny rounded projections known as papillae on the surface of the tongue. The papillae, instead of shedding, start to grow and lengthen, forming hair-like projections. They may possibly grow to 15 times their normal length.
Generally, the papillae are pinkish-white. However as they grow, pigments from food, drinks, and maybe the bacteria or yeast themselves get caught in the papillae, dyeing the tongue a color. Mostly that color is black, that's why the name. But the tongue may also turn brown, yellow, green, or a range of other colors.
Some lifestyle habits and conditions can make people more prone to get black hairy tongue. They may include:
Diagnosis for the condition depends on appearance and possible causes or contributing factors. It also involves eliminating other conditions which may cause a similar appearance to the tongue, like:
Having good oral hygiene is the best method to treat black hairy tongue. Softly brush your teeth twice a day with a soft toothbrush and brush your tongue also. You may use a tongue scraper to clean your tongue thoroughly. Drinks ample of water throughout the day to aid keep your mouth clean.
Call your dentist if the problem doesn't improve on its own. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics or antifungal drugs to remove the bacteria or yeast. Topical medications are also sometimes given .However, if the problem doesn't improve, the papillae may be surgically clipped off with a laser or by electrosurgery.