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Does your tongue look black or feel a little hairy? While this is uncommon, it is actually a harmless condition referred to as black hairy tongue. Luckily, while this isn’t a pleasant experience, it isn’t typically too difficult to prevent.

You see, papillae—which are small projections—grow on your tongue. Typically, papillae shed and aren’t noticeable. Unfortunately, if bacteria builds up in your papillae, they may not shed like they should. If this happens, they may grow several times longer than they should. This ultimately leads the hairy texture you feel on your tongue. To make matters worse, these long papillae often become dyed black.

However, there are other conditions that make you more susceptible to the black hairy tongue. You see, poor oral hygiene, smoking, drinking lots of coffee or tea, the use of some antibiotics, dehydration, and radiation therapy can lead to this problem.

Fortunately, you can prevent this issue by simply practicing sound oral hygiene. In other words, please brush twice a day for two minutes at a time. You can also try double rinsing, which is rinsing your mouth with one part hydrogen peroxide and five parts water. Afterwards, simply rinse your mouth with water.

If you think you may have black hairy tongue syndrome, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Our dentist, Dr. Steven Driggers, and the team will assess your individual needs and offer you the best solution possible. To schedule an appointment with us, please call Sonshine Family Dental at 317-271-1330. We are eager to receive your call.