The New England Journal of Medicine ©2018

Wash U Article Showcases 'Black Hairy Tongue' Condition

September 14, 2018 - 8:42 am

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - Washington University physicians talk about a rare medical condition that causes you to have a discolored hairy looking tongue.

It's appropriately called black hairy tongue.

The New England Journal of Medicine ©2018

“It basically looks like the surface of the tongue will be coated in a different color, a typical black color covering the surface of the tongue, and though the name says hairy there is no real hair, it’s just the surface structures that get long," says Wash U internal medicine professor Dr. Yasir Hamad.

Hamad says several things can cause black hairy tongue, including heavy smoking, antibiotics, poor oral hygiene or irritating mouthwashes. 

Once the irritant is identified and removed, the condition usually goes away. Hamad recently treated a woman with it who got her black hairy tongue after taking the antibiotic minocycline.