Because of his pureed diet, a stroke victim’s tongue turns BLACK and ‘HAIRY.’

He developed the condition, known medically as lingua villosa nigra, while in hospital after suffering a stroke that paralysed his left side and made chewing difficult.

After two months, the patient was admitted to the hospital after his black tongue developed yellow stains as a result of food becoming stuck in the ‘hairs.’

His caregivers were given simple cleaning instructions and were instructed to thoroughly brush his tongue. After 20 days, the condition had resolved.

According to the American Academy of Oral Medicine, up to 13% of adults experience ‘black hairy tongue’ to varying degrees at some point in their lives.

The most recent case was detailed in a report published in the journal Jama Dermatology by doctors from the Medical Trust Hospital in Cochin, Kerala.

They revealed that the patient had a stroke three months prior, which paralysed his entire left side, including his face, and made chewing difficult.

He was put on a diet of pureed food and liquids, and his caregivers noticed ‘black pigmentation’ covering the surface of his tongue about two and a half months later.

After taking mucus samples from his tongue, dermatologists led by Dr Puravoor Jayasree diagnosed him with lingua villosa nigra.

‘The patient and caregivers were given advice regarding proper cleansing measures, and the discoloration resolved written after 20 days,’ the doctors in the journal.

Black hairy tongue is a harmless condition that causes the tongue to become dark and furry.

It is usually caused by a buildup of dead skin cells on the papillae, which are finger-like projections on the surface of the tongue containing taste buds.

However, it can also be linked to poor oral hygiene, tobacco use, irritating mouthwashes, and certain antibiotics.

The papilla usually grows to a length of about 1mm (0.04 inches) before falling off, but it can grow to a length of 18mm (0.7 inches) if the tongue is not scraped on a regular basis.

This means that diets high in soft foods and liquids, which do not adequately abrade the surface of the tongue, can aggravate the condition.

Debris and bacteria can accumulate if the papilla becomes too long.

What is black hairy tongue?

The term “black hairy tongue” refers to a rare, harmless condition characterised by a ‘hairy’ enlargement and discoloration of the filiform papillae.

The filiform papillae are tiny conical bumps on the surface of the tongue’s front two-thirds that do not contain taste buds.

Hairy tongue and lingua villosa nigra are other names for it.

What causes the condition?

Hairy tongue is most common in adults over the age of 40 and is uncommon in infants.

It is most commonly caused by poor oral hygiene, but a variety of medications, including penicillin, erythromycin, and tetracycline, have been linked to hairy tongue.

Smoking, alcohol, cocaine, and coffee can all raise your chances of getting it.

What does it look like?

Filiform papillae can grow to be up to 18mm long, giving them a ‘hairy’ appearance.

The tongue discolours, usually brown or black, but brown, yellow, and green have also been reported.

The back surface of the tongue is usually affected, while the tip and sides are frequently spared.

Is it dangerous?

Hairy tongue is typically asymptomatic, with the main issue being its unsightly appearance.

Patients may occasionally complain of a burning or tickling sensation on their tongue, nausea, or halitosis (bad breath).

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