(ORDO NEWS) — Such a phenomenon in the common people is called “black hairy tongue.” Fortunately, it did not harm the patient (other than aesthetic).
The American Medical Association described the case of a patient who presented to a dermatology clinic after the tip of his tongue was covered with a dense layer of black hair-like fibers.
Doctors diagnosed a man, whose name is not called, hypertrophy of the papillae of the tongue, which in a simplified version is called “black hairy tongue”, and in medical textbooks – lingua villosa nigra.
Three months before going to the dermatologists, the man, who is over 50 years old, had a stroke that caused paralysis on the left side of his body.
After the stroke, the man was prescribed a diet of pureed foods and liquids, and about two and a half months later, his caregivers noticed black pigmentation on his tongue.
According to the doctors report, the thick black coating was separated by yellowish stripes near the midline and back of the tongue.
The researchers explained that what looks so much like hair on the tongue is actually hypertrophy of the filiform papillae of the tongue.
In their normal form, they reach no more than a millimeter in length and exfoliate as a result of normal life activity, but in the case of the patient described, the “hairs” reached 18 mm in length.
The true cause of the pathology has not yet been established. Often it is associated with the use of antibiotics, which disrupts the microflora of the oral cavity and suppresses the development of beneficial microorganisms.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, some mouthwashes can also interfere with the flaking process and contribute to the onset of the disease. Dry mouth is another risk factor.
The authors note that overly long papillae produce keratins, the same proteins found in hair and nails. This contributes to their strange appearance. Bacteria, fungi, and food particles trapped in the “hairs” also contribute to their color.
Fortunately, this condition is usually harmless and short-lived. The patient experienced no pain as a result of this condition, and his black hairy tongue cleared quickly with simple oral hygiene routines. As a result, he completely got rid of the pathology in 20 days.
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