Black Spots on Tongue | What Causes Them And How To Treat It

Even if you maintain good oral hygiene, you can sometimes spot the presence of one or more black spots on your tongue. This can be worrying, and you might be wondering what’s going on. That’s why, in this article, we’ll detail some of the causes behind them and what you can do to treat them.

The Natural State of A Healthy Tongue

Your tongue is naturally a fleshy pink color, although this may not always be the case. Sometimes, people have slightly brighter or darker tongues than this, but the important indicator of a healthy tongue is that the color is uniform.

On closer inspection, you may notice that the surface of the tongue is not perfectly smooth. Rather, it’s covered in thousands of little bumps called papillae. Each one of these bumps contains touch and taste receptors that send the appropriate signals to your brain. In addition, they provide a textured surface that helps you manipulate food in the mouth.

Normally, these papillae are the same color as the tongue. However, they can stand out if something stains them a different color or if a condition causes them to discolor. We’ll explore some of these below.

Why Do I Have Black Spots on Tongue?

When you consume staining foods or beverages, such as coffee, tea, or wine, a thin layer of the substance, mixed with saliva, can deposit on the tongue. This can discolor the surface of the tongue but can also produce the occasional dark spot. Fortunately, this is temporary, and the dark spot will fade on its own, especially when you brush.

However, if you haven’t had anything that could stain your tongue, there are many reasons you can develop black spots on the tongue:

  • Injury or trauma to the tongue. Because the tongue is a muscle, it can experience damage and bruising that leaves behind a dark or black spot. If you’ve recently received an oral piercing, you may experience soreness and bruising during the recovery period.
  • Chemotherapy. Speak to your care provider if you’re undergoing chemotherapy and experience a discolored tongue.
  • Black hairy tongue. A harmless condition caused by a buildup of excess skin cells. Good oral hygiene should eliminate them.
  • Tobacco use. Tobacco use and smoking can stain the tongue, teeth, and gums with brown or black spots.
  • Certain medications. In particular, if the medication contains bismuth, it can cause black spots or patches on the tongue. Examine the labels to see if the active ingredients can cause black spots on the tongue as a side effect.
  • Oral hyperpigmentation. This can be caused by rare conditions such as Peutz-Jeghers syndrome or Addison’s disease.

Conclusion: Treatment and Seeing A Dentist

The first thing you should try when removing black spots on your tongue is to maintain good oral hygiene. Brush your tongue as part of your regular brushing and flossing routine. However, if brushing and using mouthwash doesn’t get rid of the spots, it’s a good idea to see a qualified dental professional. They can help you determine the cause and give you the appropriate treatment.

At Vintage Smile Family Dentistry, we put our patients first. We know that visiting the dentist can be nerve-wracking, so we understand that giving you quality care means that your comfort comes first. With one-on-one attention, personalized treatment, and friendly service, we empower you towards excellent oral health. Don’t hesitate to get in touch for all of your Houston dental needs! For any inquiries or to schedule an appointment, call us at (281) 251-7770.


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