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7 Causes of Black Spots on Tongue

The tongue plays an important role in taste as well as digestion. It also aids in communication by allowing you to speak.

Normally, the tongue is pink. If you’ve recently noticed a black spot on your tongue, then you might be concerned.

The causes range from vitamin deficiencies to anemia, and in more serious cases, cancer. Don’t panic, though- cancer is rarely the cause.

In this post, we’ll show you the possible causes for black tongue spots, as well as how you can treat them.

Cause #1: Fungal Infection

fungusIf you don’t follow good oral hygiene, then you’re more prone to developing fungal infections in the mouth.

As the fungus overtakes your mouth, it can cause your tongue to develop a dark, moldy appearance.

If you smoke, drink, or don’t regularly brush your teeth, then you have a higher risk of oral fungal infections.

To treat this cause of black spots on the tongue, start flossing and brushing daily.

Use mouthwash, too. Overtime, the dark patches on your tongue should go away.

Summary: A potential cause of your symptom is a fungal infection. This can be caused by drinking, smoking, or not brushing daily.

Cause #2: Hyperpigmentation

“Hyper” means over or too much so “hyperpigmentation” is when your tongue is producing too much pigment.

Although it’s relatively uncommon, it could be a cause of your black tongue spots.

The melanocytes are the cells responsible for producing pigment. They secrete a molecule called melanin, which is what gives skin color.

There are many factors that can lead to someone developing hyperpigmentation, including stress, trauma, anemia, and hormonal changes.

Another possibility is that you have a vitamin B deficiency. If that’s the case, you’ll need to consult a doctor to see how to fix it.

Summary: If the melanocytes in your tongue start to produce too much pigment, this can lead to a condition called hyperpigmentation.

Cause #3: Tongue Cancer

Although rare, it’s possible that your black spots on tongue are due to cancer.

Cancer is simply the uncontrolled growth and division of normal cells.

Remember that cancer can occur anywhere in the body, including the tongue.

As with any form of cancer, early diagnosis is key. The earlier it gets diagnosed, the more likely you are to survive.

If you notice black specks on your tongue that aren’t going away no matter how much you brush, then go see a doctor.

It’s better to be safe than sorry. The most common cause of tongue cancer is tobacco use.

Summary: Tongue cancer, which is usually caused by tobacco use, can result in your tongue changing color.

Cause #4: Certain Medications

The human body is incredibly complex. Therefore, it’s impossible to know exactly how each person will react to a certain medication.

That’s why every medication comes with a list of potential side effects. A side effect of some medications includes black tongue spots.

If you’re currently on medications and you notice this symptom, then consult your doctor.

They may be able to switch your medication to one that doesn’t include this negative side effect.

The good news is that once you stop taking the medication, the symptom should go away.

Note, never stop taking a medication unless you’ve been approved to do so by a doctor!

Summary: Medications can cause the body to react in strange ways, including changing the color of the tongue.

Cause #5: Oral Fibroma

Oral fibromas typically manifest as a large mass on the tongue with black spots.

People often confuse it with being cancer when it’s not. Oral fibromas are benign, meaning they don’t lead to anything serious.

The worst part about an oral fibroma is that they’re visually unattractive. They don’t cause pain but can be annoying to look at.

They appear as small masses of tissue, and can also lead to black spots forming on the tongue.

If you see an oral fibroma, know that it’s not a medical emergency, so don’t panic. Still, it’s recommended that you see a doctor to confirm what it is.

Summary: Oral fibromas are hard masses that form on the tongue that can be accompanied by black specks.

Cause #6: Tongue Injuries

Your symptom could be due to physical trauma.

For instance, if you accidentally bite your tongue very hard, but don’t break the skin, it can lead to that area becoming darker than normal (like a bruise).

In such cases, all you need to do is wait and it will go away on its own.

Also, this symptom could be due to any oral equipment you’re currently using.

If you have a device that’s frequently touching your tongue, this might be the cause.

Summary: Another relatively common cause of black tongue spots is physical trauma, either caused by biting or oral devices.

Cause #7: Pregnancy

During pregnancy, a woman’s body can act in strange ways.

There have been cases in which pregnancy triggered black spots on the tongue in some women.

Doctors and researchers aren’t entirely sure why this happens.

They believe it’s due to all the hormonal changes that a woman goes through whenever she’s pregnant.

If pregnancy is the cause, then after delivery your black spots should go away. If they don’t, consult a doctor for further investigation.

Summary: If you’re pregnant, then this can be a cause for why you have black specks on your tongue.

Key Takeaways

What’s the best way to avoid this symptom in the future? Start brushing and flossing more.

In most cases, a tongue that is dark in color is due to lack of proper oral hygiene.

Make sure you’re also gargling mouthwash daily. If your symptom hasn’t gone away after a week or two, then visit a doctor or dentist.

They’ll run the proper tests and be able to tell you for sure whether it’s due to a fungus, cancer, or physical trauma.

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