What causes the tongue to turn black?

Asked By: Zahir Balakrishnan | Last Updated: 3rd April, 2020
Category: medical health dental health
4.8/5 (64 Views . 33 Votes)
A black tongue is usually a harmless condition that can be caused by medications, smoking, poor oral hygiene, soft diet, or dry mouth. The cause is thought to be a change in the normal bacteria in the mouth after antibiotic treatment or use of products that contain bismuth such as Pepto-Bismol.

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Similarly, you may ask, how can I get rid of black tongue?

  1. Brush your tongue. Using a soft toothbrush, gently brush your tongue twice a day to help manually remove dead skin cells and bacteria.
  2. Use a tongue scrapper.
  3. Brush after eating.
  4. Brush after drinking.
  5. Stop using tobacco products.
  6. Floss before bed.
  7. Schedule a cleaning.
  8. Drink plenty of water.

Furthermore, what does Black Tongue Look Like? 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 your mouth.

Herein, is Black Tongue dangerous?

Black tongue is a harmless and temporary oral condition. Despite its name, black tongue does not always cause the tongue to turn black. In fact, the primary symptom is that the tongue appears hairy with visible growths. Black tongue usually occurs due to a buildup of the protein keratin on the tongue's surface.

What causes discoloration of the tongue?

Tongue color changes The tongue's papillae (tiny, rounded projections) may become discolored if a person smokes or chews tobacco, eats certain foods or vitamins, or has colored bacteria growing on the tongue. Brushing the tongue with a toothbrush or scraping it with a tongue scraper can remove such discoloration.

28 Related Question Answers Found

What is wrong if your tongue is black?

A black tongue is usually a harmless condition that can be caused by medications, smoking, poor oral hygiene, soft diet, or dry mouth. The cause is thought to be a change in the normal bacteria in the mouth after antibiotic treatment or use of products that contain bismuth such as Pepto-Bismol.

What does cancer in the mouth look like when it starts?

In the early stages, mouth cancer rarely causes any pain. Abnormal cell growth usually appears as flat patches. A canker sore looks like an ulcer, usually with a depression in the center. The middle of the canker sore may appear white, gray, or yellow, and the edges are red.

What happens if you wake up and your tongue is black?

Bismuth and Black Tongue
It occurs when bismuth combines with sulfur, which can sometimes be found in trace amounts in our saliva, forming bismuth sulfide. Since you can also have sulfur in your GI tract, taking medications with bismuth can sometimes also temporarily darken your stool.

Which antibiotics cause black tongue?

Other potential culprits are medications with bismuth such as Pepto-Bismol or radiation therapy. Then, of course, there's antibiotics, particularly those in the tetracycline class. Typically, black hairy tongue is not a permanent condition.

What Your Tongue Says About Your Health?


Open your mouth and look at your tongue. That may sound strange, but your tongue can tell a lot about your health. For example, a black and hairy looking tongue can signal poor oral hygiene, or diabetes. If your tongue is bright red like a strawberry, it could signal a deficiency in folic acid, vitamin B12, or iron.

How can I make my tongue pink again?

Treatment options
This symptom often clears up on its own. You may be able to remove the white coating from your tongue by gently brushing it with a soft toothbrush. Or softly run a tongue scraper across your tongue. Drinking lots of water can also help flush bacteria and debris out of your mouth.

What does early signs of tongue cancer look like?

The most noticeable signs of tongue cancer are a sore on the tongue that does not heal and a painful tongue. red or red and white patches (oral leukoplakia) that appear on the lining of the mouth or the tongue. sores and mouth ulcers that will not heal. a sore throat or pain when swallowing.

What causes black tongue in elderly?

A black hairy tongue is caused by too much bacteria or yeast growth in the mouth. The bacteria build up on tiny rounded projections called papillae. Instead of shedding as they normally do, the papillae start to grow and lengthen, creating hair-like projections.

Why is my tongue black NHS?

A black hairy tongue is a temporary and harmless condition that is often caused by an overgrowth of bacteria in your mouth. Certain types of bacteria accumulate on the papillae (the small projections that cover the tongue) and create red blood cell pigments, which can make the tongue look black.

Why does Pepto cause black tongue?


Why does Pepto-Bismol sometimes darken the tongue/stool and how long does it last? The active ingredient in Pepto Bismol contains bismuth. When a small amount of bismuth combines with trace amounts of sulfur in your saliva and gastrointestinal tract, a black-colored substance (bismuth sulfide) is formed.

Does smoking cause brown tongue?

Black or brown fuzz
This condition, known as “hairy tongue” is not harmful, but it may be unsightly and cause bad breath. Normally, hairy tongue is more common in people who smoke, drink black coffee or tea, and have poor dental hygiene.

How do you get rid of smokers tongue?

Keep these tips in mind:
  1. Brush at least twice a day. Brush your teeth after you wake up and before you go to bed.
  2. Brush the top of your tongue. Don't just focus on your teeth.
  3. Floss well.
  4. Rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash.
  5. Take care of your teeth.

How do you get rid of black tongue from Pepto?

The tongue usually goes back to normal after discontinuing Pepto-Bismol. Treatment involves helping the tongue shed the overgrown papillae by brushing the surface of the tongue with a toothbrush or tongue scraper.

What Your Tongue Says About Your Health Chinese medicine?

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the tongue is believed to be connected to the organs of the body through meridians, or energy pathways. TCM practitioners therefore treat it as a “mirror” of one's health. That's why one of the first things you might end up doing at a TCM consult is saying “Ahh”.

Is black spot on tongue cancer?


Dark spots in your mouth can be caused by a variety of things. They run from minor lesions, such as a stain from a dental filling that leaked into your gums (called an amalgam tattoo), to benign tumors of your blood vessels, such as a hemangioma. Some types of cancer can also show up as dark spots.

Can red wine cause black tongue?

A: Many wine drinkers will attest that some red wines can turn the tongue purple or black. Pigments in wine derive from a few different types of phenolic compounds, including anthocyanins and tannins; the degree of pigmentation will vary according to grape type, winemaking methods and aging.

What kills sulfur in the mouth?

The one sure way to get rid of halitosis is to neutralize and block VSCs in the mouth. Typical mouthwashes can produce fresh breath for a short time, but the sulfur gas will return soon, and along with it, bad breath. The best way to neutralize sulfur gas is to use a zinc-ion based mouth rinse.