Unless you are a pirate in Treasure Island, the black spot on your tongue is not a mark of impending doom. In fact, a black spot on the tongue is usually harmless.
Causes of Black Spot on Tongue
The most common reason for a black spot on the tongue is hyper-pigmentation, also known as oral fibroma. Oral fibroma is a genetic trait that causes dark brown or black spots to appear on the tongue like a birth mark. This kind of black tongue spot should not affect taste or cause any pain; it is purely cosmetic.
For those who have had tongue piercings, black spots can show up near or around the piercing. These spots may be the result of bruising to the tongue or chemical reactions to the metal in your mouth. Don’t worry; they should heal on their own in a few days.
Oral cancer is a always a possibility in the case of strange bumps, sores, or spots. Though a black spot on the tongue is a rare symptom of oral cancer, have your tongue checked by a doctor if your spots are causing you pain and don’t heal within two weeks.
If your entire tongue is black, not just a black spot on the tongue anymore, you may have black hairy tongue. Having a black hairy tongue means the papillae on the tongue have grown longer than usual (making the tongue look hairy) and then have been stained by food. Usually coffee, tea, or other dark foods can stain the papillae.
Black hairy tongue should not cause any pain. The papillae might tickle the roof of your mouth, but other than that, the color and appearance of your tongue should get better by brushing your tongue.
Excessive smoking or drinking can cause black spots on the tongue from bacteria build up or stain the surface of the tongue. Other foods with deep colors can stain the tongue dark shades of yellow, green, brown, or black. This also can be solved by brushing your tongue.
Eating chewable pepto-bismol tablets has also been known to turn the tongue black. A chemical called bismuth reacts with acids on your tongue and causes a black film on the tongue. This can easily be removed by brushing the tongue with a tongue brush.
Treating Black Spot on Tongue
You’ve probably gathered the best ways to treat a black spot on the tongue while you’ve read, but to reiterate, here are the best things to do.
Hyper-pigmentation/oral fibroma is not curable. If it bugs you enough to do something about it, a doctor may be able to surgically remove it.
Black spots from tongue piercings need to be waited out; however, have a doctor look at them if they swell or don’t heal within a few days.
Oral cancer can cause a black spot on the tongue, so be aware of the progress of your spot or spots.
For everything else, brush your tongue! The best tongue brush on the market is the Orabrush, designed specifically for your tongue. It has microfiber bristles that pull gunk from the surface of the tongue and help get rid of stains, bacteria, and bad breath.
So, brush your tongue with an Orabrush and ward off those evil black pirate spots. You’ll be glad you did.