Hairy tongue, also known as black tongue, is a benign condition of elongation and staining of the fingerlike projections (papillae) on the tongue surface. This condition may be caused by overgrowth of a bacteria or yeast that produces a colored substance (pigment). Anything that reduces the flow of saliva in the mouth, such as dehydration or illness, or if the person is not eating a normal diet, can lead to the condition, which typically develops over a few weeks. Medications that commonly cause hairy tongue include antibiotics, anti-psychotics, anti-depressants, and anti-cholinergic agents. Other causes include smoking, alcohol, the use of mouthwashes, and exposure to radiation therapy.
* Hair-like tongue projections * Brown tongue * Black tongue * White tongue * Green tongue
Hairy tongue (lingua villosa) is a common condition caused by defective desquamation of the filiform papillae that results from a variety of precipitating factors. Some of these factors include poor oral hygiene, tooth loss (because a soft diet does not allow for normal desquamation from rough food scraping the tongue), chronic or extensive use of antibiotics, and radiation treatments to the head and neck. Patients with hairy tongue are more often than not coffee or tea drinkers and often use tobacco. It is also commonly seen in patients who are HIV positive or use intravenous drugs, although there is no predictive value to the finding of hairy tongue. One would assume that it is the result of shared lifestyle habits such as poor oral hygiene, use of tobacco, coffee drinking, etc.