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Black hairy tongue

A black hairy tongue is produced when the papilla (finger-like projections from the surface of the tongue) fail to fall off, as they normally do. As the length of the papilla increases, debris collects and bacteria grow, producing the characteristic dark "furry" appearance. This can be associated with antibiotic use.


Review Date: 3/5/2011
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; and Seth Schwartz, MD, MPH, Otolaryngologist, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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