Black spots on the tongue: why they come out and how to remove them

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The tongue is the organ of the human body that intervenes, among other functions, in the development of speech and also in the chewing and swallowing of food. It is a muscular structure that normally has a pink appearance but, sometimes, dark areas may appear in it, more or less extensive, in the form of black spots or spots.

Consultation with the doctor or dentist is always advisable because, although in most cases the spots do not imply a serious danger to health, there are situations in which they can be a symptom of diseases that require immediate treatment. If you want to know why black spots come out on the tongue and how to remove them, in this article we indicate the most frequent causes and possible solutions.

Black spots on the tongue why they come out and how to remove them

Alterations in pigmentation

If you wonder why black spots appear in the mouth, you should know that, sometimes, they are totally harmless because the dark tone is the result only of hyperpigmentation, that is, a higher concentration of pigments that give it its natural color (pigments similar to those that give color to the skin or hair).

In most cases, the causes of this anomaly have genetic origin, although also some chemotherapy treatments can trigger it, disappearing naturally once finished. In any case, the medical consultation is important to confirm that, indeed, it is a natural hyperpigmentation that does not entail risks.

Stains caused by reactions to food or medicines

Brown or black spots may be due to external factors. Some foods such as coffee, tea or wine, taken frequently and in considerable quantities can cause the intense color they have to end up staining the league itself, as well as affecting the natural coloration of the enamel of the teeth.

In this sense, we must remember the importance of proper oral hygiene that includes not only the brushing of the teeth, but also that of the tongue, with adequate brushes that do not damage it, to avoid the accumulation of bacteria and substances that can end up altering its color.

Some medications may also be behind the appearance of black spots on the tongue. Certain chemical compounds, such as bismuth subsalicylate, present in some drugs can cause these color changes that progressively disappear when you stop taking them.

If you need tips to help you maintain good oral hygiene, take a look at our post How to clean the tongue and how to clean tartar from my teeth.

Black hairy tongue

Although its appearance can be alarming, the black hairy tongue is generally an alteration of the color and texture of the tongue temporary and harmless, as the American Mayo Clinic points out [1]. The tongue has extensive dark spots and with peeling that look like small hairs, hence the name.

In reality, they are dead cells that accumulate in the taste buds altering their functioning and causing bacteria and substances from food to be trapped, which end up causing that dark color in the area. Again, good hygiene that includes brushing teeth and tongue twice a day is usually the solution to the problem that, if it persists, requires consultation with the specialist.

Stains caused by reactions to food or medicines

Brown or black spots may be due to external factors. Some foods such as coffee, tea or wine, taken frequently and in considerable quantities can cause the intense color they have to end up staining the league itself, as well as affecting the natural coloration of the enamel of the teeth.

In this sense, we must remember the importance of proper oral hygiene that includes not only the brushing of the teeth, but also that of the tongue, with adequate brushes that do not damage it, to avoid the accumulation of bacteria and substances that can end up altering its color.

Some medications may also be behind the appearance of black spots on the tongue. Certain chemical compounds, such as bismuth subsalicylate, present in some drugs can cause these color changes that progressively disappear when you stop taking them.

If you need tips to help you maintain good oral hygiene, take a look at our post How to clean the tongue and how to clean tartar from my teeth.

Black hairy tongue

Although its appearance can be alarming, the black hairy tongue is generally an alteration of the color and texture of the tongue temporary and harmless, as the American Mayo Clinic points out [1]. The tongue has extensive dark spots and with peeling that look like small hairs, hence the name.

In reality, they are dead cells that accumulate in the taste buds altering their functioning and causing bacteria and substances from food to be trapped, which end up causing that dark color in the area. Again, good hygiene that includes brushing teeth and tongue twice a day is usually the solution to the problem that, if it persists, requires consultation with the specialist.

Leukoplakia

Leukoplakia is a lesion that can appear in different parts of the mouth such as the gums, the inner face of the cheekbones and on the tongue. The spots it causes are usually white, but also grayish without reaching black. They are thought to result from irritation in the affected area that could be related to the use of tobacco or other irritants.

In many cases, brushing and the elimination of the factors that cause them to get their disappearance, but it should be noted that they can also be precancerous lesions so, again, it requires the necessary medical diagnosis.

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