What a Black Tongue Means

Black TongueIf you're not Gene Simmons or recently eaten a pound of licorice, a black tongue can cause great cause for alarm- luckily the condition is treatable and causes no health-related problems.What Causes a Change in Tongue Color?

Black tongue, also sometimes known as "black hairy tongue" occurs when the bumps on your tongue (the papillae) grow unusually large causing food debris and bacteria to become trapped. These papillae are usually worn down over time and do not cause a problem, but when they do become large, they trap bacteria and begin turning colors as more debris becomes trapped in between your taste buds, a sign you will definitely notice and be rushing off to the local physician or dentist.

Black tongue does not indicate cancer, an infection, sores or other illnesses. Black tongue is just an Know More About This - Good Oral Care Habits abnormal growth of the normal "bumps" that people have naturally occurring on their tongue. The term "black" tongue is also somewhat of a myth because this particular problem of abnormal papillae can cause several unique shades to form in the back of the tongue including yellow, brown or white. Of course this is less than reassuring to someone wondering if he is going to walk around for the rest of his life looking like the lower half of a bad Halloween costume.

A quick trip to a doctor or dentist will quickly confirm the diagnosis of black tongue, due to its appearance, and unfortunately the only real symptom of the condition, halitosis (i.e. bad breath).

There are certain things that can influence the growth of the papillae and lead to black tongue. These include: smoking, some types of antibiotics, chemotherapy or radiation therapy, especially if you are a patient that receives treatment to the head and uncontrolled diabetes or other conditions that can affect the entire body.

How to Prevent the Condition

To prevent black tongue from occurring, good dental hygiene must be practiced many times throughout the day. Brushing of your tongue can wear down the unnaturally long papillae to reduce the condition. Not smoking is always advised. And if suffering from diabetes and cancer it is important to regularly check with your doctor concerning all oral health.

Treatment can be Performed at Home

Treatment of black tongue is simple -brush your tongue when you brush your teeth at least twice a day. No expensive pills, x-ray treatments, chemical pills or lasers needed. No antibiotics are needed, because there is no infection, no matter how unsightly the condition may look. If you want you might also purchase a tongue scraper sold at most drug and retail stores to reduce the papillae and get back to a healthier, and less embarrassing, in the pink mouth.