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Does your tongue look black or feel a little hairy? While this is uncommon, it is actually a harmless condition referred to as black hairy tongue. Luckily, while this isn’t a pleasant experience, it isn’t typically too difficult to prevent.

You see, black hairy tongue is caused when too much yeast or bacteria grows in your mouth. On your tongue are papillae, which are tiny rounded projections. Unfortunately, bacteria can build up on your papillae, which stops them from shedding like they normally do. If this happens, your papillae can grow to fifteen times their normal length and create hair-like texture. Sadly, pigments from the foods you eat and the beverages you drink can stain your papillae, turning them black.

Still, while this issue isn’t too serious, it’s still better to avoid the problem, and as you’ve probably guessed, there are a few things that make you more vulnerable to the black hairy tongue. If you smoke, drink coffee, or drink tea, you could be more susceptible to these issues. However, to make matters worse, you could be more vulnerable to black hairy tongue if you’re trying to cope with a medical situation. You see, some antibiotics and radiation therapy can both lead to this issue.

Fortunately, you can prevent this issue by simply practicing sound oral hygiene. In other words, please brush twice a day for two minutes at a time. You can also try double rinsing, which is rinsing your mouth with one part hydrogen peroxide and five parts water. Afterwards, simply rinse your mouth with water.

If you think you may have black hairy tongue syndrome, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Our dentist, Dr. Shelly Galvin, and the team will assess your individual needs and offer you the best solution possible. To schedule an appointment with us, please call Westwood Dental at 913-432-0765. We are eager to receive your call.