Has your tongue been feeling hairy and discolored recently? Have no worries for hairy tongue syndrome or black hairy tongue is usually a temporary, harmless problem.
What is hairy tongue disease?
Hairy tongue disease is a condition in which there is elongation of the many small nodules (filiform papillae) on the surface of the tongue resembling stubby hairs and there is lack of normal shedding of the tongue cells. The papillae can sometimes grow up to 1 cm in length and can become stained, usually black from coffee, tea, cokes or overgrowth of pigment-producing bacteria and fungi. The debris and organisms collected on the tongue can also result in yellow and brown discoloration.
Causes of hairy tongue
The exact cause for hairy tongue disease is unknown but hairy tongue is usually seen in heavy smokers and in those following antibiotic therapy which causes change in normal bacteria content in the mouth. Other potential factors that may contribute to hairy tongue include:
- poor oral hygiene,
- mouth breathing,
- poor diet
- excessive use of antiseptic mouthwashes containing oxidizing agents like hydrogen peroxide.