Signs and symptoms of black hairy tongue include:
- Black discoloration of the tongue, although the color may be brown, tan, green, yellow or white
- A hairy or furry appearance of the tongue
- Altered taste or metallic taste in mouth
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Gagging or tickling sensation, if the overgrowth of the papillae is excessive
When to see a doctor
Though unattractive, black hairy tongue is usually a temporary, harmless condition.
See your doctor if:
May. 16, 2014
- You're concerned about the appearance of your tongue
- Black hairy tongue persists despite brushing your teeth and tongue twice daily
- Hairy/coated tongue. American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology. http://www.aaomp.org/public/hairy-tongue.php. Accessed Feb. 19, 2014.
- Reamy BV, et al. Common tongue conditions in primary care. American Family Physician. 2010;81:627.
- Yan P, et al. Can you identify this condition? Canadian Family Physician. 2010;56:440.
- Goldstein BG, et al. Oral lesions. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 19, 2014.
- Shimizu T, et al. Hairy tongue. BMJ Case Reports. 2012;2012:1.
- Brushing your teeth. MouthHealthy. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/b/brushing-your-teeth. Accessed Feb. 19, 2014.
- Wilkinson JM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. March 14, 2014.
- Salinas TJ (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. March 17, 2014.
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