Black hair tongue is a term used for a unique appearance of the tongue, which is attributed to significant bacterial or yeast infection on the mouth. While the term may create a scare, the condition is easily managed using simple household tips and ensuring utmost oral hygiene.
The human tongue has thousands of tiny projections, which are referred to as papillae.
In some individuals, these papillae do not shed off on regular basis and can grow up to 15 times their normal size. As a result, food pigments (usually present in the food that we eat), bacteria and yeast tend to get trapped between these papillae. Decomposition of accumulated plaque and dyeing of food pigments, results in typical blackish pigmentation. Hence a normally pinkish white tongue tends to appear blackish.
What Causes Black Hairy Tongue?
Even in individuals that have the predisposing factors, there are certain lifestyle habits that tend to increase the chances of formation of black hairy tongue,
- Poor oral hygiene, especially among individuals who don’t use a tongue cleaner.
- Excessive consumption of tea or coffee.
- Inadequate intake of water, increasing the chances of dehydration.
- Intake of medications that contain Bismuth, typically used to treat stomach upset.
- Genetic disorder associated with low production of saliva.
- Frequent use of mouthwash containing menthol or peroxide.
- Radiation therapy of the neck and head.
How To Get Rid Of Black Hairy Tongue Naturally?
While the treatment of black hairy tongue typically depends upon improved oral hygiene, there are certain tips that can be aid in dealing with the condition promptly,
- Brush your teeth regularly. Use tongue cleaner to clean your tongue after brushing. Using a tongue cleaner helps remove accumulated food pigments and bacteria on the tongue and thereby prevents black hairy tongue. Flossing regularly will prevent accumulation of bacteria in the oral cavity and reduce the chances of developing the condition.
- Life style modification can help deal with the condition. Quit smoking. Reduce the use of mouth washes containing peroxide; instead wash the mouth with plain water.
- Increase the intake of water. Water will not only keep you hydrated, but will also help flush out bacteria and pigments that accumulate in the oral cavity.
- Increase the intake of Vitamin A and Vitamin C in your diet. Vitamin A helps ensure optimum mucosal health while Vitamin C plays a vital role in warding off infections.
- Change your diet to include roughage and dietary fibers. Roughage in your food will help clean the tongue naturally while dietary fiber will improve gastric mobility and ensure clean gastro intestinal system. Include foods like cabbage, carrots, whole grains, etc in your diet.
- Homeopathy can help improve overall gastro intestinal health and prevent plaque formation. Homeopathic drugs like Kresostote and Graphitis help ensure overall tongue hygiene. Lycopodium is another drug that helps enhance overall liver and gastro intestinal health.
In case these simple home based techniques don’t work, it is recommended to consult your doctor immediately to rule out any underlying chronic medical condition.