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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, there are a few ways that you could accidentally create the perfect environment for a black hairy tongue. As you’ve probably guessed, if you don’t care for your teeth well, you could be more susceptible to bad bacteria. Similarly, if you drink a good deal of tea or coffee you could also have to deal with this issue. The use of some antibiotics, dehydration, and radiation therapy can lead to a black hairy tongue.

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. Carol Halloran, and the team will assess your individual needs and offer you the best solution possible. To schedule an appointment with us, please call Crossroads Dental at 319.291.3908. We are eager to receive your call.