We tend to worry when we see something unexpected on our body. It’s hard to blame us, really, as seemingly every time we read a news article about something that may show up on the skin or in the mouth, it’s the harbinger of something horrible. But is that always the case? What about black spots on the tongue? Does it mean that your tongue is going to fall out, or is that black dot on the tongue nothing to stress over? In this article, we’ll explore black dots on the tongue and what they mean to you and your health. From black spot in tongue causes to black spots on tongue treatment, we’ll cover everything you need to know about these tiny black spots on the tongue.
What Are Black Spots on the Tongue?
The black spots on your tongue can actually be a couple of different things. They may be small, tiny bumps, or they could be larger discoloration over a broad patch of the tongue. It can even develop into an almost hairy texture. As you may surmise, along with the different types of spots, there are different types of causes of black spots on the tongue.
What Causes Black Spots on the Tongue?
What causes black spots on your tongue? As mentioned, the various forms of black spots result from the various causes. That being said, some causes are slightly more common than others.
1. Tongue Cancer
The most severe of the causes, tongue cancer can first physically manifest as black spots or bumps on the tongue.
2. Fungal Infection
Black spots on the tongue can often be the result of a fungal infection. The black spots will appear almost like mold forming on the tongue.
3. Tongue Piercing
Tongue piercings can also cause black spots to appear on your tongue. Essentially, the piercing disrupts the natural skin pigmentation of the tongue. With piercings, the black spots are temporary.
Linked to conditions like anemia, vitamin B deficiency, and bad oral hygiene, hyperpigmentation may also lead to black spots over the dorsum of the tongue. The interesting thing about hyperpigmentation is that, while there is an association between the discolorations and certain afflictions, doctors and scientists have not determined exactly what causes it.
5. Hairy Tongue
A unique type of black spot on the tongue, hairy tongue appears as small, black, furry-like patches on the tongue. It can be caused by bad oral hygiene, smoking, and excessive drinking of alcohol.
6. Repetitive Injury
If you keep biting or injuring the same area of the tongue, you may experience discoloration. Much like the tongue piercing, disruption to the pigment can be temporary.
The black spots on your tongue may simply be the result of an allergic reaction.
8. Reaction to Medications
There are a number of medications that may cause a black spot or bump on the tongue reaction. These drugs are usually antidepressants, some asthma drugs, and drugs that contain bismuth subsalicylate.
Believe it or not, pregnancy may cause black spots on your tongue. This is usually due to the large hormone shift within a woman’s body during this time.
Now that you’ve seen many causes of black spots on the tongue, we can start to discuss the possible treatment courses to take in order to get rid of them.
How to Remove Black Spots on Tongue
There’s a good chance that the second thing you’ll want to know about the black spots on your tongue is how to get rid of them. Is there a black spots on the tongue cure? How do you remove black spots on tongue naturally? The answers to these questions depend to what is causing the black spot in the first place. We’ll go over some of those “black spot cures” below.
1. Don’t Do Anything/Time
In the case of pregnancy, for example, once your pregnancy is over and your hormones return to normal, the black spots should disappear. Similarly, causes like injury and tongue piercing just need a little bit of time to heal. As long as the tongue isn’t re-injured, the black spots should disappear on their own.
2. Improve Your Oral Hygiene
A number of the causes of black spots can result, in part, from poor oral hygiene. Improve your oral hygiene (regular brushing, visits to the dentist for a cleaning, etc.) and you may find that the black spots begin to fade away. This is also a great preventative measure, allowing you to avoid the appearance of black spots completely.
3. See a Doctor
If it does not look like your particular black spots can be easily treated, it’s time to go see a doctor. Some of the causes like a fungal infection or hairy tongue can be stubborn and may require antibiotics to help clean your mouth and get rid of the black spots. The antibiotics can also help prevent those issues from becoming more serious. If there is a chance that it’s tongue cancer, then it’s something you want to get in front of as soon as possible. Early diagnosis can help determine an appropriate cancer treatment and prevent the further damage or spread of cancer. It is better to get it checked out and treated than to possibly lose your tongue.
Keep an Eye on Black Spots
Black spots on your tongue are an odd health issue. For the most part, they are harmless and don’t even cause pain. Sure, some black spots like hairy tongue can be downright gross to look at and deal with, but the solution may be something as simple as brushing your teeth. However, if the spots are persistent, a trip to the doctor isn’t a bad idea. It may be nothing and you may go home with a prescription for some antibiotics as a precaution. But, on the off chance that it’s an out-of-control infection or cancer, it’s best to be sure so you can get treatment and deal with the issue early.
Kucherov, V., “Black Spots on Tongue Causes, Small, under Tongue, on Tip, Side of Tongue,” Heal Cure, http://www.healcure.org/tongue/spots-on-tongue/black-spots-on-tongue-causes-small-under-tongue-on-tip-side-of-tongue/, last accessed May 23, 2017.
“Black Spots on Tongue, Dark, Tiny, Small, Under, Tip, Sides, STD, Causes, How to Get Rid of and Pictures,” Heal Treat Cure, http://www.healtreatcure.org/tongue/black-spots-on-tongue-dark-tiny-under-tip-sides-get-rid/, last accessed May 23, 2017.