Your tongue is a powerful muscle that you rely on every day. It helps with chewing, speaking, and eating, and anything going wrong with it is immediately noticeable. That’s why if you notice a black spot or discolored patches on your tongue, it can be quite concerning. So it’s important to understand what could cause this to happen, and that’s what this post will discuss.
Your Tongue’s Natural Appearance: Explained
Your tongue is covered in tiny bumps called papillae. These bumps are large enough to be visible to the naked eye, and if you look closely enough in a mirror, you can see them. They form the texture that allows your tongue to grip and manipulate food in your mouth and contain receptors that form your taste buds.
Naturally, there are gaps in between the papillae, and they can accumulate food debris. Some foods and drinks can stain them as well, such as coffee, tea, and wine. The tongue naturally looks fleshy and pink, but if this happens, you could see some discolored patches as well as darker spots.
Black Spot On Tongue: What’s Going On?
Black spots on your tongue could be because of a variety of reasons.
- Smoking or chewing tobacco. Tobacco is notorious for staining and discoloring teeth, gums, and oral tissues. It can do the same for your tongue. The toxic chemicals in cigarette smoke and snuff can cause inflammation of the oral tissues, leading to discolored, irritated spots on the tongue.
- HPV. Human Papillomavirus can also lead to the development of bumps or spots around the oral tissues.
Poor oral hygiene. Not brushing your tongue regularly can cause it to accumulate food debris and bacteria.
- Hyperpigmentation. Some individuals have more pigment than is normal on some parts of their skin and tissues. In this case, the spot is likely harmless.
- Certain Medications. Some medications interact with the body and stain or change the color of tissues, e.g., bismuth salicylate (Pepto-Bismol). This could affect the tongue.
- Oral Piercings. If you’ve had a tongue piercing recently, the tongue has had to endure a puncture wound and will develop scar tissue as it heals. So a black spot around that area could be normal.
Should You Be Worried About Tongue Cancer?
It’s rare, but sometimes, blackened patches on the tongue can indicate more serious conditions, such as tongue or oral cancers. This is especially true if they don’t heal independently or don’t go away with regular brushing and tongue cleaning. Therefore, if you suspect you might have tongue cancer, don’t hesitate to see a doctor immediately.
Conclusion: Treating Black Spots On Your Tongue
Maintaining good oral hygiene overall will help you avoid black spots on your tongue. Ensure that you brush for a full two minutes twice a day, taking care also to brush your tongue. Floss and use mouthwash regularly. This will help you remove any existing spots on your tongue, too, restoring it to its original appearance. Of course, if you can’t get rid of them yourself, you can contact a qualified, professional dentist.
Pasadena Dental Doc offers state-of-the-art dental care with fair, transparent prices. We specialize in a wide variety of dental procedures. We also have flexible office hours and accept most insurance plans. For any questions or to schedule an appointment, don’t hesitate to call us at (713) 947-0293. We pride ourselves on being the best dentist in Pasadena, TX.