Black Hairy Tongue – Symptoms, Causes and Natural Treatments

Black hair tongue is a condition that sounds frightening and also looks scary, but it is not life-threatening. This is caused by the significant amount of fungi or bacteria present in the mouth, making it look hairy and black. While long-term black hair tongue may create disturbances, this condition is easily controlled with proper oral hygiene and changes in lifestyle.

The tongue contains thousands of tiny rounded projections, which are called papillae. The papillae, which are normally pinkish-white in color, are located on the surface and are shed off regularly. These papillae play a significant role as they are connected to the sensory nerves that manage a person’s sense of taste.

In rare cases, papillae do not shed off regularly and tend to grow up to fifteen times of the normal size. As the papillae grow, food pigments, yeast, and bacteria get stuck. Black hair tongue is caused by significant growth of yeast or bacteria trapped between these papillae. As the food pigments and buildup of plaque decompose, it results to dark pigmentation. This makes the tongue appear black and hairy.

Black Hairy Tongue

What are the Symptoms of Black Hairy Tongue?

Black hair tongue is not painful, but may cause a burning sensation due to the growth of yeast called Candida albicans. The signs and symptoms of black hair tongue are:

  • Black discoloration of the surface of the tongue (the color may be brown, green, yellow, white, or tan)
  • Furry or hairy appearance
  • Halitosis or bad breath
  • Metallic taste
  • Ticking feeling in the roof of the mouth

What are the Causes of Black Hairy Tongue

Lifestyle and certain conditions can increase the chance of developing black hairy tongue. These include:

  • Poor oral hygiene – This is the most common cause of black hairy tongue.
  • Smoking – It reduces the amount of saliva in the mouth, allowing bacteria or yeast to grow.
  • Dehydration – Not drinking enough allows bacteria to multiply in the mouth.
  • Drinking lots of coffee or tea – This can encourage discoloration of plaque buildup.
  • Certain medicines – Taking certain medicines can also result to hairy or furry tongue.
  • Antibiotic therapy – Prolonged antibiotic therapy affects the normal balance of microorganisms inside the mouth.
  • Poor immune system

Certain diseases like candida, lupus, liver congestion and oral thrush can also lead to black hairy tongue. There are many natural treatments that can help in getting rid of black hairy tongue.

Natural Treatments to Get Rid of Black Hairy Tongue

Here are the most effective home remedies to get rid of black hair tongue.

1. Proper Oral Hygiene

Oral Hygiene

The best way to remove tongue discoloration is by practicing good oral health.

  • Brush your tongue – When brushing your teeth, do not forget to brush your tongue gently to get rid of bacteria, food debris, and dead cells. It is best to use a tongue scraper. Brush your teeth and tongue at least two times a day with fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss at least once a day– Flossing can get rid of plaques and food particles trapped between the teeth.
  • Gargle after eating – If you cannot brush your teeth immediately after eating, make sure that you gargle with warm water to prevent food particles from accumulating in your mouth.
  • Visit a dentist regularly – Your dentist can help you prevent oral problems.

If you are smoking, stop this habit as tobacco products contribute in tongue discoloration. It is also important to reduce alcohol consumption.

2. Salt

Salt Water

One of the best ways to get rid of black hairy tongue is salt. Salt can effectively scrape and eliminate the accumulated plaque as well as dead cells. Salt also contains antiseptic properties that can help in killing bacteria.

  1. Sprinkle enough amount of salt on your tongue.
  2. Scrub it with a toothbrush gently for one minute.
  3. Rinse with warm water.
  4. Repeat this treatment two times a day to clear the yeast and bacteria.

Alternatively, you can mix one teaspoon of salt with water and use the solution as mouthwash. Repeat this two to three times a day to get rid of black hairy tongue.

3. Baking Soda

Baking Soda

One of the effective natural treatments for black hairy tongue is baking soda. It has exfoliating properties that can get rid of the plaques on the surface of the tongue. It also helps in maintaining good pH levels in the mouth.

  1. Mix one teaspoon of baking soda with lemon juice to make a paste.
  2. Apply the paste over your tongue and brush it gently.
  3. Rinse it off with warm water.
  4. Repeat this treatment once a day to get rid of black hairy tongue.

You can also add one-half teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water and use this as mouthwash. Rinse your mouth with this solution to get rid of bacteria.

Read:10 Health Benefits of Bath with Baking Soda

4. Aloe Vera Gel

Health Benefits of Aloe Vera Gel

Aloe vera contains healing, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help in treating oral problems effectively.

  1. Cut a leaf of aloe vera and extract its gel.
  2. Mix the gel with enough amount of water to make a juice.
  3. Use this juice as mouthwash and switch it around for two to three minutes.
  4. Spit it out. Repeat this treatment several times a day.

5. Oil Pulling

Oil Pulling

Oil pulling is one of the best ways to clean the mouth. It is effective in eliminating yeast and assists in removing toxins from the body. Here’s how to get rid of black hairy tongue with oil pulling.

  1. Before brushing your teeth, put one tablespoon of coconut or sesame oil in your mouth.
  2. Switch the oil between your teeth, around the mouth, and under the tongue. Do this for at least fifteen minutes.
  3. Spit out the oil in the trash and wash your mouth it warm water.
  4. Repeat this treatment once a day to keep your mouth clean.

6. Turmeric

Turmeric Powder Pink Eye

One of the cheapest and easiest ways to get rid of black hairy tongue is by using turmeric. It has antibacterial properties that can effectively eliminate the plaques and food residue on the surface of your tongue. This delicious spice can also prevent bacteria from growing. Here’s how to use turmeric to treat black hairy tongue.

  1. Mix one-half teaspoon of turmeric powder with lemon juice to form a paste.
  2. Put the paste over your tongue and scrub it for two to five minutes.
  3. Rinse your mouth thoroughly with warm water.
  4. Repeat this treatment once a day to get rid of black hairy tongue.

You can also mix one-half teaspoon of turmeric powder with water and use it as a mouthwash. Repeat this once or twice a day to keep your mouth free from bacteria.

7. Probiotics

Probiotics

Probiotics are excellent treatment for black hairy tongue, especially if the main reason is the growth of candida fungus. With its L. acidophilus and B. lactis cultures content, probiotics can inhibit the growth of fungi and bacteria.

  1. Get one probiotics capsule and mix the powder with a little water.
  2. After brushing your teeth, use the solution to rinse your mouth.
  3. Swish your mouth with the solution and swallow it. Consume a glass of water.
  4. Repeat this process once a day to get rid of black hair tongue.

Eating foods that contain live cultures can also help in eliminating fungi and bacteria. Include yogurt in your diet or take probiotic supplements.

8. Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide contains powerful antibacterial properties that can effectively purge bacteria in the mouth. It can help in getting rid of black hairy tongue. Using this solution can also make your teeth whiter. To keep your mouth clean, use 3% hydrogen peroxide solution.

  1. Mix hydrogen peroxide with water in a ratio of 1:2.
  2. Dip your toothbrush into the solution.
  3. Scrape your tongue gently.
  4. Spit the solution out and wash your mouth thoroughly.
  5. Repeat this treatment once a day for four days.

Read:15 Amazing Benefits and Uses of Hydrogen Peroxide in Your Home

9. Indian Lilac

Indian Lilac

Indian lilac is also effective in treating black hairy tongue. Also known as neem, this herb contains antibacterial and antifungal properties. It can eliminate bacteria, fungus, and yeast from the mouth. This herb also helps in flushing out the toxins from the body. Here’s how to get rid of black hairy tongue with Indian lilac.

  1. Add one tablespoon of dried Indian lilac leaves in a cup of water.
  2. Bring it to boil until the water is reduced to half.
  3. Wait for it to cool down and use the solution as mouthwash.
  4. Rinse your mouth thoroughly with warm water.
  5. Repeat this process two times a day until you are satisfied with the outcome.

10. Vegetable Glycerin

Vegetable Glycerin

One of the best ways to treat black hairy tongue is by using vegetable glycerin, especially if the main cause is dry mouth. This treatment can also reduce bad breath.

  1. Put enough amount of glycerin on the surface of your tongue.
  2. Brush your tongue lightly using your toothbrush.
  3. Wash your mouth with warm water.
  4. Repeat this treatment two times a day until the black color is gone.

These are the best natural treatments for black hairy tongue. To prevent it from occurring again in the future, practice good oral hygiene by brushing your teeth and tongue at least two times a day. Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration and reduce the consumption of alcohol and other colored beverages.

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