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Kerala: Man grows thick black hair on tongue following special diet

by Vaishali Sharma

According to a new study published in a medical publication, a Kerala man’s tongue got black and hairy after he was put on a pureed diet following a stroke.

The event, known medically as lingua villosa nigra, occurred three months after the patient’s left side was paralysed by a stroke. The man was given solely pureed and liquid meals for three months, resulting in discoloration of the tongue and carpet-like hair growth. A deposit of dead skin cells on the papillae of the tongue, which contain taste buds, can cause black hairy tongue, or BHT.

Bacteria, yeast, cigarettes, food, and other items can readily impact these papillae. Poor oral hygiene, heavy alcohol use, and changes in the mouth following antibiotic usage are all probable causes of BHT.

Doctors at the Medical Trust Hospital in Kochi noted in a journal that the patient, who is in his 50s, was treated with adequate mouth cleansing methods and that his illness was cured in 20 days.

“On examination, he did not have a fever and was conscious and oriented, with left-sided motor weakness. The dorsal aspect of his tongue showed a thick black coating that was yellowish toward the medial and proximal parts. Dermoscopy results showed thin, elongated, black fibers that gave the appearance of a hairy surface,” the report read after which doctors diagnosed the man with black hairy tongue (BHT).

According to the American Academy of Oral Medicine, an estimated 13% of persons get black hairy tongue at some time in their lives, with those over 40 years of age being the most affected.

This doesn’t create any discomfort or cause any problems, and it usually doesn’t require any treatment other than good dental hygiene and care.

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