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“Hairy tongue”

I have not taken oral pathology yet so I don’t have any good textbooks to reference on hairy tongue. My husband took an antibiotic and got hairy tongue as a result (it was listed as a possible side effect in my drug reference book). What is the best treatment for hairy tongue? Anything besides brushing the tongue or using a tongue scrapper daily?



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3 Answers

In the case of drug-induced black hairy tongue (BHT), cessation of the offending agent will frequently result in the resolution of BHT. In the meantime like you said, gentle physical debridement with a toothbrush or tongue scraper is helpful. In the case of a co-infection of Candida albicans a topical administration of an antifungal such as nystatin or fluconazole may be prescribed.

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Thanks kara. And is BHT just hairy tongue that has been discolored by plaque retention and food pigmentation. His is not black, but white and the papillas are long. I dont think its fungal. My instructors said usually when its c.albicans thr tissue is a red sore under the white layer.

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Taking an antibiotic can disrupt the balance of bacteria in the mouth. It can kill both good and bad bacteria which leaves it suseptible to fungal infections. It can be other colors besides black. Black is just the most common color. Depending on what his diet is like and what type of bacteria is the culprit it could manifest as white elongated papillae. With good oral hygiene it could resolve itself. What is curious to me is antibiotics are sometimes prescribed to clear it up if it is a fungal infection but antibiotics are often what caused the problem in the first place lol

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