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Hairy Tongue

Hairy Tongue Causes

Tooth loss, poor oral hygiene, radiation treatments to head and neck, and excessive use of antibiotics may trigger hairy tongue. Individuals with the condition are frequent tobacco smokers and coffee drinkers.

Hairy Tongue Definition

Hairy tongue is a condition that affects both humans and animals, characterized by a darkening of the tongue, sometimes hair growth. A fungus causes the dark appearance on the tongue, although it is a harmless condition. Most common affected are the elderly, tobacco smokers, and users of antibiotics.

Hairy Tongue Diagnosis

A physical examination is conducted to diagnose the condition. A dental check up may aid in the diagnosis.

Hairy Tongue Symptoms and Signs

A majority of the tongue's surface is covered in hair. Other symptoms include discoloration of the tongue in black, orange, yellow, brown, or green, with a hairy texture. Although painless, the patient will notice a stale smell or taste in the mouth, and gag reflexes become more sensitive. Symptoms will always appear in the top of the mouth and not underneath. A secondary disorder, thrush, may affect those with the condition. The condition is caused by the growth of yeast and bacteria on the tongue projections, called papillae.

Hairy Tongue Treatment

A biopsy or scraping may be conducted, as well as antifungal or antibiotic medication. The best way to prevent this is to have good oral hygiene, and use a scraper for the tongue that will remove accumulations on the papillae.

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