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Black Hairy Tongue: Why You Should Brush Your Teeth Regularly.

What you're about to read is so gross that I've decided to sandwich it between two cute posts. I'm not sure that's even enough, so I'm sorry in advance.

Here it is - this is what you'll get if you don't brush your teeth regularly: black hairy tongue!

According to the Mayo Clinic, hairy tongue (lingua villosa) is a temporary (thank God!) and harmless problem resulting from an overgrowth of bacteria and yeast in the mouth. These organisms accumulate on the tiny projections of the tongue (called papillae) and cause the discoloration, which can be black, brown, white, green, pink or other colors (like after using colored mouthwashes and breath mints)

The main cause of the condition is poor oral hygiene, so brush your teeth regularly. Please.

The image they have at the Mayo Clinic's website is about a thousand times worse than the one you posted. NOBODY LOOK AT IT!
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This happens if you suck on an Altoids mint and then go to sleep. Some years back I went camping, and in my infinite wisdom I forgot my toothbrush and toothpaste. So after a long day of hiking and eating camp dinner, I decided to freshen my breath with an Altoids and then hit the kip. The next morning I woke up to the foulest flavored mouth I'd ever had, and made the mistake of looking at my teeth in my makeup compact. My whole mouth was as black as licorice! YIPES!!

My husband made a mad dash to the local convenience store for a travel toothbrush, and I made a mad (and somewhat sickened) dash to the nearest public restroom. Three full scourings later, my mouth was back to its usual gleaming state, and I'd learned a valuable lesson in dental hygeine!

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It's not always from not brushing your teeth. Last year, I had a really bad stomach flu and was taking Pepto Bismo regularly to try and fight the nausea. One morning I woke up and my tongue looked like that. I freaked out, thought I was dying, and started researching what my cause of death would be on the internet. Many sites (like the Mayo site) listed poor oral hygiene as a cause. Eventually I found a site that also pointed out that regular use of antacids can cause it. Lo and behold, I read the Pepto Bismo packaging, and there was the warning "May cause darkening of tongue". Ewwwwwwwww.
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Hairy or coated tongue is basically an overgrowth of the filiform papillae on the tongues of some otherwise healthy individuals. Long and even normal papillae can become discolored by food and drink (e.g. red wine and, yes, Pepto Bismol) The best way to control coated tongue is to scape the tongue daily with a spoon or low profile tongue scraper (available at drugstores or over the Web), brush the tongue and use diluted 3% hydrogen peroxide as a debriding mouthwash. (Dilution: 2 parts water to one part 3% --that is, medicinal -- hydrogen peroxide, an oxygenating agent). The causes of hairy or coated tongue often -- not always -- are not specifically detectable, and the control outlined above is the only means at present for many individuals of managing the condition. It is effective, however. Such factors as heavy smoking and -- as Lasagne says
-- long-term use of antibiotics have been reported to cause temporary coated or hairy tongue, but the condition appears to be normal and permanent in some individuals. Poor oral hygiene and failure to brush the teeth are not the causes. More research is needed. Read critically about this topic. Much misinformation and misconception surround it.
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Oh my God! Thanks to this blog, because I woke up this morning with the "black tongue" thing and I was sooooo scared that I jumped on the internet to find out why this had occured and just as it so about the Pepto-bismol, I remembered I took two chewable tablets last night.I checked the warning labels and there it was "may cause darkening of the tonuge. I feel so relieved that I found out why this had happen.
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I have been on strong antibiotics for a month for a skin infection. Now that I am done with the anitibiotics my tongue is black and feels like I have hair all over it. I am scraping it, brushing with diluted peroxide and it doesn't go away. Do you think this was caused by the anitbiotics? I am otherwise a very healthy woman. It's making me feel like I have something awful!!!
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