A black hairy tongue is a condition in which the tongue becomes covered in a very soft, dense, dark brown to black fur.  Black stains or hairs can appear on your tongue for some reason; though it is not pleasing to the eye, it is not a major dental problem to be so much worried about.

A black hairy tongue is one of the most common issues faced by people of all ages. It is not a disease; it is a common condition that can be caused by certain factors. When you have a black hairy tongue, it means that there’s a dental practice you are not doing right and you need to change it.

The tongue has raised bumps covering them and they are called the papillae. The papillae are found at the top and sides of the tongue. So when your papillae grow longer instead of shedding, the grown-out part of it will turn to black color, giving you a black hairy tongue, these hairs will begin to trap food debris and bacteria, sometimes it can present itself in another color other than black.

Causes Of Black Tongue

You may be thinking about the reasons for the black hairy tongue, you don’t need to worry much because these causes can be managed and your discolored tongue will disappear, here are some of the causes;

  1. Increased in Bacteria on Your Tongue: An increase in the number of bacteria in your mouth would increase the growth of the papillae on your tongue and this overgrowth would change color.
  2. Dry mouth: Dry mouth is also known as xerostomia; it is a condition where your mouth becomes dry as a result of reduced saliva production.
  3. Use of tobacco products: Using tobacco products or even smoking can change the color of your tongue because tobacco has staining effects.
  4. Poor oral hygiene: When you neglect your oral health, you will not only go down with a black hairy tongue but you will also have bad breath.
  5. Rinsing with hydrogen peroxide: Frequently raising the mouth with hydrogen peroxide would change the color of your tongue to black, it is not advisable to rinse with peroxide for any reason unless as prescribed by your dentist.
  6. Use of Antibiotics: Frequent use of antibiotics and other medications that promote the development of fungi, yeast, and bacteria can cause a black tongue.

How To Take Care Of Black Tongue

Taking care of your black tongue should start after your visit to the dental clinic, your dentist would diagnose you and know the state of your oral health and what caused your black tongue. Here are some of the effective tips that would help you get rid of black hairy tongue;

  1. Use of Tongue Scrappers:  Using a tongue scraper will help you to get rid of black hairy tongue, but you need to make sure that it should be soft. When you use the hard and rough tongue scraper, it will hurt your tongue and also damage your tongue’s surface.
  2. Avoid rinsing with Hydrogen Peroxide, unless it is prescribed for you by your dentist.
  3. Practice good oral hygiene methods. Frequent brushing and flossing will help you get rid of a black tongue.  When you have poor oral health bacteria will thrive more in your mouth.

How To Avoid a Black Hairy Tongue

A black tongue can happen recurrently, but you can prevent it from happening by taking some precautions and measures, your dentist can prescribe some mouth rinses to improve hydration, and also give you some instructions to increase the flow of saliva in your mouth.  It would also be good if you quit smoking. Your dentist will also recommend that you increase your oral health routine.

When To See Your Dentist for The Treatment of Black Tongue

Diagnosing the root cause of your black hairy tongue can be done by your dentist; it is necessary you book an appointment with your dentist if you notice a black hairy tongue. Also, if you have a black hairy tongue with a severe mouth odor don’t hesitate to see the dentist, you might need more dental care and attention.