Diagnosis

Diagnosis of black hairy tongue is based on appearance and possible causes or contributing factors. It also includes eliminating other conditions that may cause a similar appearance to the tongue, such as:

  • Normal variations in tongue color (pigment)
  • Foods or medications that have stained the tongue
  • Fungal or viral infections
  • Oral lesions that occur on the tongue, such as oral hairy leukoplakia
  • Blackened tongue (pseudo-black hairy tongue) from using products containing bismuth, such as Pepto-Bismol
June 10, 2017
References
  1. Hairy tongue. American Academy of Oral Medicine. http://www.aaom.com/hairy-tongue. Accessed Feb. 25, 2017.
  2. Gurvits GE, et al. Black hairy tongue syndrome. World Journal of Gastroenterology. 2014;20:10845.
  3. Tongue, hairy. National Organization for Rare Disorders. https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/tongue-hairy/. Accessed Feb. 25, 2017.
  4. Goldstein BG, et al. Oral lesions. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 27, 2017.
  5. Mangold AR, et al. Diseases of the tongue. Clinics in Dermatology. 2016;34:458.
  6. Brushing your teeth. American Dental Association. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/b/brushing-your-teeth. Accessed Feb. 27, 2017.
  7. Wilkinson JM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. March 16, 2017.