Sometimes people have black spots on the tongue. They may be due to the accumulation of dead cells, infection, tongue cancer, and tongue injury. Treatment depends upon the underlying cause.
What Are Black Spots On Tongues?
Black spots, in most cases, are not of serious concern. It may also be possible that the black spots on the tongue were present for many years but it is the first time that you have put your focus on them. In some cases, it is not black but visible due to the hairy tongue. However, these are not actual hairs. These are the dead cells that accumulate on the tongue surface and look longer than usual. There are various other reasons why your tongue looks dark.
What Are The Symptoms Along With Black Tongue?
The symptoms, along with the dark spots on the tongue, depending upon the underlying cause.
Following are some of the symptoms;
1. Discoloured Tongue
The patient may experience a discolored tongue. It may be yellow, brown or black. The patient may have Black spots on the tongue and lips.
2. Sticky Tongue
When the salivary glands do not produce adequate saliva, the mouth becomes dry, causing a sticky tongue.
3. Bad Breath
The patient may also have bad breath due to bacterial accumulation.
4. Bad Taste
The patient has a bad taste in the oral cavity due to bacterial growth.
5. Burning Sensation
Keratin may also build-up on the tongue because of trigeminal neuralgia. It may cause pain and a burning sensation inside the oral cavity.
What Causes Black Spots On The Tongue?
There are various causes of black spots on the tongue. Some of them are;
1. Poor Oral Hygiene
People with poor oral hygiene have a hair tongue which presents itself as a tongue with dark spots. It is because of the accumulation of dead cells on the tongue’s surface.
2. Tongue Injury
Tongue injury may also result in dark spots. It may be due to cutting or biting the tongue. People who have oral piercings are also at risk of developing black spots on the tongue.
Certain food items, such as coffee or red wine, may also cause black spots on the tongue. They may fade away with time.
4. Chemical Exposure
Exposure of the tongue to certain chemicals also results in dark spots on the tongue. Bismuth, used in various antacid formulations, may cause dark spots. Some medications also cause dry mouth, which may also lead to dark spots on the tongue.
5. Underlying Medical Conditions
Various medical conditions result in dark spots. These are Addison’s Disease and Peutz-Jeghers Syndrome.
6. Tongue Cancer
In rare cases, the dark spots on the tongue indicate a more serious condition such as tongue cancer. If diagnosed at early stages, there is effective treatment available for tongue cancer.
[Also Read: Questions to ask doctor about cancer]
When To See A Doctor?
You should see a doctor if you;
- See Black spots on the tip of the tongue that do not go away in a specific time.
- You have bad breath and taste.
- You have lumps of growth on the tongue.
- You experience pain along with dark spots on the tongue.
How To Treat Black Spots On The Tongue?
Treatment depends upon the underlying cause. There are the following treatment options for managing black spots on the tongue;
Dark spots on the tongue may be due to bacterial or fungal infections. The doctor may prescribe antibiotics and antifungal medicines for treating the infection.
Medications may also result in dark spots on the tongue or dry mouth. Ask your doctor to provide alternative medications.
Maintaining oral hygiene is essential. Brush your teeth two times a day.
Vitamin and Mineral Supplement:
Sometimes, black spots on the tongue may also be due to vitamin and mineral deficiency. The doctor may prescribe vitamin supplements.
The doctor may also remove the thread-like growth on the tongue. However, the black spots on the tongue may return after the surgery.
Tips To Prevent Black Spots On Tongue
Following are the tips that may help in preventing the black spots on the tongue;
- Drink sufficient water to remain hydrated.
- Avoid chewing tobacco or smoking.
- Brush regularly twice a day and after eating food.
- Scrap your tongue with a tongue scraper.
What Is The Outlook After Treatment?
Black spots on the tongue are generally not serious. There are various ways to manage the condition. Through a few management measures, the black spots on the tongue quickly disappear. However, if you have other symptoms, along with black spots on the tongue, you should consult with the doctor.
Rohit Jain is an IPR Specialist and Medical Content Writing Expert. For over a decade, he has written several articles in the areas of female infertility, Erectile dysfunction, hemangioma, cervical cancer, monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance, mononucleosis, mitral valve disorder, shin splints, mild cognitive impairment, cellulitis, lymphoma, sepsis, cardiac rehabilitation and more.