Mouth | Odontologie | Hairy Tongue (Symptom)
Hairy tongue is the lengthening of papillae which are bumps on the surface of the tongue. Usually the ends of the papillae get rubbed away by food but sometimes they grow much longer than normal, making the tongue look furry. The extra tissue can get stained by food or tobacco and become yellowish brown or black.
Hairy tongue is also commonly referred to as black hairy tongue (lingua villosa nigra), but the tongue discoloration may appear white, brown, pink, or green. The colour of the tongue depends both on the underlying condition plus the presence of any additional factors, such as the type of food consumed.
Hairy tongue is caused by irritation of the surface of the tongue, leading to the elongation of the papillae that are normally present on the surface of the tongue along with an absence of shedding of superficial cells that is typically facilitated by tooth brushing or dietary factors. A number of different conditions can predispose to the development of hairy tongue.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Even though it may appear alarming, black hairy tongue itself is harmless (although it is thought to be linked to the development of thrush). This condition does not involve any type of bacteria or fungi and generally resolves on its own; the recommended treatment is to brush the tongue with a soft toothbrush twice per day. Black hairy tongue is listed as a possible side effect while taking the antibiotic penicillin, also vitamins.