Doctors in Missouri diagnosed a 55-year-old woman with the condition last year after she reported feeling nauseated, having a foul taste in her mouth - and a black, hairy-looking tongue, according to a study published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The case outlined in the journal involves a woman who was prescribed two kinds of antibiotics after being injured in a vehicle accident. The condition typically occurs when papillae - normal bumps on the tongue's surface - grow longer than normal because they're not shedding dead cells properly, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Developing a "black hairy tongue" looks rather scary but it's not quite as risky as it looks. The symptoms can also lead Smoking and low oral hygiene.
Hamad said the case in St. Louis was the "classic, textbook case of black hairy tongue". According to the report, the patient had developed a bacterial infection and was treated with intravenous meropenem and oral minocycline.
"In this patient, minocyline was discontinued, and an alternate atimicrobal regimen was started".
Hamad said he determined that Minocycline was likely the culprit so took her off the medication and he advised her to practice good oral hygiene. Anxious about her health status, the women went to the hospital and found out she got "black hairy tongue" (lingua villosa nigra).
Black hairy tongue is a harmless and temporary condition that, as the name suggests, gives the tongue a black and fuzzy appearance.
Apart from the obvious discoloration and hairy appearance of the tongue, people with black hairy tongue may experience altered or metallic taste in the mouth, halitosis or bad breath, and a gagging or tickling sensation if the papillae growth is excessive.
When Dr. Yasir Hamad heard that a patient's tongue had turned black, he decided he needed to see it for himself.