A rare case of a man with a “black hairy tongue” has been reported by doctors.After his caregivers became concerned about the appearance of his tongue, a man in his fifties presented to the dermatology department. Doctors described his tongue as having “a thick black coating” that was “yellowish” at the center and back of his tongue in the journal JAMA Dermatology. His tongue also had “thin, elongated, black fibers that gave the appearance of a hairy surface.”
The appearance of the harmless and fairly common condition is caused by a buildup of dead skin cells on the tongue. The papillae that coat the tongue and contain tastebuds lengthen as a result of this. Other substances, such as food, bacteria, and yeast, are then trapped by the papillae. The yellow tint to parts of this man’s tongue was most likely caused by his diet.
The condition can be caused by a rare side effect of antibiotics, poor oral hygiene, dry mouth, smoking, or eating a diet of soft food that does not rub off the dead skin on your tongue, as this man did. Fortunately, it is easily treated by removing the source of the problem and practising good oral hygiene. The man’s recovery was straightforward.
“The patient and caregivers were advised on proper cleansing measures, and the discoloration cleared up after 20 days,” the doctors concluded.