What Is Black Hairy Tongue?

Black hairy tongue is a condition which causes an abnormal coating of dark, hair-like growth to develop on the surface of the tongue. Though this condition is harmless, it can be repellent in appearance. Learn about the symptoms, causes, and treatments of black hairy tongue.


Black hairy tongue is caused by a build-up of keratin and dead skin cells on the tongue papillae (the tiny bumps). When this build-up doesn’t shed, it traps bacteria, yeast, food, and tobacco, which stain it. The build-up of black hairy tongue can be caused by:


The appearance of a dark, fur-like coating on the tongue is the most obvious and common symptom of black hairy tongue. This condition is also associated with:


Black hairy tongue usually doesn’t require treatment because it doesn’t cause pain or harm to health and it usually goes away on its own. However, the appearance of black hairy tongue can be repellent, so some steps you can take to get rid of it include:

If your black hairy tongue still persists, you may want to visit a doctor or dentist for more options.

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