What causes black hairy tongue?

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Black hairy tongue is caused when tiny projections on the tongue, known as papillae, don't fall off as they normally do. This gives the tongue a furry or hairy appearance. Bacteria and fungi build up on the papillae, giving them a black, brown, or yellow appearance. Black hairy tongue is almost always caused by poor oral hygiene. Tobacco use is another common cause. Sometimes taking an antibiotic can cause black hairy tongue.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.