Various conditions may lead to black spots on tongue or under tongue. The spots, dots, marks or patches may be small or big, painful or painless. They may affect adults as well as babies. Explore the possible causes, pictures, signs and symptoms of black spots on tongue. Learn how to get rid of them with treatments and home remedies.
Summary of Page Contents
- Signs and Symptoms
- Causes of Black Spots on Tongue
- Small Black Spots on Tongue
- Pictures of Black Spots on Tongue
- Black Spots under Tongue
- Black Spot on Tongue Baby
- Black spot on Tongue Superstition
- How to Get Rid of Black Spots on Tongue
- Sources and References
Signs and Symptoms
According to the natural structure of the tongue, the normal color of your tongue is supposed to be pink. However, your tongue can suddenly develop strange black or dark spots. This is a clear indication which tells that you might have an oral problem.
Signs and symptoms of black spots on tongue include the following:
- Small raised dark dots like pimples on tongue surface
- Big painful dark blood-filled blisters on tip, side, back or under the tongue
- Difficulties in chewing food
- Black hairy spots on tongue that are not itchy
- Black itchy marks on tongue surface
- Hard dark lump on tip, side, under or back of the tongue
- Ulcers or soreness on tongue surface
- Temporal loss of taste
- Hard red, brown or dark bumps on tongue that bleed easily
Signs and symptoms of dark marks on the tongue can vary among individual based on the causal agent. These symptoms can be either harmless or hurting condition which can develop into a serious health issue. It is advisable to go for a regular oral checkup by visiting your dentist.
Causes of Black Spots on Tongue
The condition of having dark spots or dots on the tongue can be described as the black tongue. There are various factors that are attributed to causing black tongue condition. It is quite useful to learn the causes of dark marks on the surface of the tongue. This can help you to differentiate between harmful and harmless causes of hairy tongue.
The causes of dark marks on tongue include the following factors:
1. Tongue Hyperpigmentation
Hyperpigmentation of the tongue can cause black dots to show up on a tip, on the side, under or the entire surface of your tongue. The condition of hyperpigmentation occurs when melanocytes produce an excess pigment called melanin.
Melanin is a pigment known to give the skin and hair its dark color. Also, the skin of the tongue may contain little amount of melanocytes that produce melanin on the tongue surface to give the dark appearance. The natural papillae on the tongue may appear black or dark when they contain particles of melanin.
According to the study of genetic and inheritance, hyperpigmentation can be caused by a hereditary factor. Black spots on tongue since birth are an example of genetic traits that can be passed from parents to their children.
Hyperpigmentation of the tongue might appear in adulthood and this is not a genetic trait. There are several factors that may encourage this condition to appear in adults. These factors include the following:
- Excessive consumption of coffee
- Body stress and fatigue
- Poor oral hygiene practices
- Deficiency of vitamin B and poor nutrition
- Underlying health condition in the body like anemia
Hyperpigmentation of the tongue is quite a harmless condition that you should not worry about. The condition cannot advance into a health problem. However, for people who have the interest of having a pink tongue for beauty, it is a disadvantage to them.
This condition can be treated by use of products that has hydroquinone, and organic acids like citric. Doctors can use laser treatment to reduce melanin on the tongue surface. Also, the problem can be resolved by home remedies like eating lemon fruits and taking cucumber juice.
2. Oral cancer
Tongue cancer is a known type of oral cancer that can cause dark spots on tongue. Tongue cancer is a chronic oral condition characterized by painful dark, brown or black pumps that can bleed easily and does not go away easily.
Oral cancer is can be caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) which is a sexually transmitted disease STD or infection (STI). Also, other risk factors that can cause tongue cancer include the use of tobacco products by either chewing or smoking and abuse of alcohol. Also, if your family has a history of oral cancer can increase the risk for to get tongue cancer.
3. Oral fibroma and tongue injuries
Oral fibroma is a small conical shaped dark bump on the surface of the tongue.it can appear on tip of tongue, side of the tongue and under the tongue. It can also appear in other parts of the oral cavity such as the roof of the mouth and inside the cheeks.
Oral fibroma is not associated with oral cancer or it does not increase the risk of getting cancer. Oral fibroma can occur due to continuous trauma on tongue tissues. Injuries on the tongue as an effect of biting your tongue repeated on the same point can result to oral fibroma. Also, eating very hot, acidic and spicy food can encourage the formation of these bumps on the tongue.
The condition can be treated by surgical removal of the bump, proper alignment of the teeth or removal of a tooth that might cause continuous injuries your tongue. In addition, you can use prevention measures such as avoiding tongue injuries by being careful while chewing food, taking moderate warm food and proper oral hygiene practices.
4. Tongue piercing
Tongue piercing is a cosmetic practice that creates a hole that you can insert jewelry. This practice can decorate your mouth for beauty appearance but it might have a side effect of the formation of dark spots near the pierced region.
The procedure of tongue piercing can cause a trauma or an injury that result in cell damage or even a wound that has a characteristic of dark spots. Also, bacteria and fungi can infect the pierced hole on your tongue to cause several dark marks on the tongue.
Dark spots around the tiny hole that you pierced on your tongue are not permanent and they can fade away after the healing. Occasionally, these dots may fail to go away and for this reason, you can seek the help of your doctor.
5. Smoking and abuse of alcohol
Continuous smoking and drinking of alcohol can cause black spots on tongue. Smoking of cigarettes not only causes breath in the mouth but also results in the growth of dark hairy structures on the tongue. The condition can appear even more serious if you excessively drink alcohol together with smoking.
Smoking tobacco continuously can increase the risk of any type of cancerous condition in your body. Smoking usually results in dark spots on the tongue that can develop into malignant tissues in the mouth that can advance into oral cancer.
6. Fungal infection
Candida albicans is a known fungal infection that can affect your tongue to develop dark and white patches. Fungal infection is also called a yeast infection. Naturally, the oral cavity has less amount of yeast which can be stimulated to overgrow and damage your tongue with dark patches.
The risk factors that can encourage fungal attack in the oral cavity include; poor oral hygiene, weakened body immune system, smoking and chewing tobacco and excessive taking of alcohol.
7. Allergic reaction
Black spots on tongue can be a consequence of allergic reaction. Some types of food and drugs can stimulate the sensitive test buds on the tongue to show up red or dark bumps on the tongue. An allergic reaction can also stimulate natural papillae on the tongue to become inflamed and the condition is known as transient lingual papillitis or lie bumps.
8. Black hairy tongue
Black hairy tongue is a condition that results in a large collection of dark dots like fur on the surface of the tongue. These spots can spread from back of the tongue to the middle part. The dark patches appear to be scared but they are quite harmless to you.
These conditions develop when dead cells are entrapped in long papillae which finally appear black in color. The black hairy tongue can be encouraged by poor oral hygiene, a side effect of certain medication and habit of smoking tobacco.
9. Tongue injuries
An injury on the tongue can lead to dark marks. The process of chewing food can result in trauma on the tongue surface. It is possible to bite your tongue during the process of chewing food. Also, placing a sharp object inside your mouth cavity can accidentally pierce into the soft tongue tissue to cause dark wounds on the tongue.
Angiokeratoma is a benign skin lesion caused by clotted blood vessels that have swollen into the dermis and epidermis of the skin. They are common among the older people. Angiokeratomas vary in shape, size and color. However, they are generally dark red or black in color.
Pregnancy can be a reason why some women develop black dots on tip of tongue, side of the tongue and under the tongue during the expectant period. The condition can also occur as an effect of using contraceptives. For this case, change of body hormone during pregnancy period and when using contraceptives has a consequence of dark spots on tongue.
12. Poor oral hygiene
Poor oral hygiene practice can encourage the accumulation of fungi, bacteria and food debris on tongue surface that can result in dark patches on tongue. Proper cleaning of your tongue can help to remove food debris on the tongue that appears as black spots.
13. Other causes
- Use of strong medications such as antibiotics, antidepressant
- STD’s such as HIV, syphilis, genital warts, oral herpes (HSV)
- Underlying anemic condition in the body
- Excessive dehydration of the body that lead to dry mouth
- Use of harsh mouthwashes that contain peroxide or menthol
- Consumption of a lot of tea or coffee
Small Black Spots on Tongue
Small black dots on the tongue can appear on various parts on the tongue region. Typically, tiny black spots can show up on tip of tongue, side of the tongue and back of the tongue. Small and few dark marks on the tongue are always harmless especially if they not itchy and no need to go for medical treatment.
Occasionally, signs of black spots or patches on the tongue can start with small or tiny pinpoint dots that gradually spread to the whole tongue. Some tiny spots can also advance into large bumps or even to dark blood-filled blisters.
The appearance of small black marks on your tongue can occur due to any of the causal agent that we have already discussed in this post.
Pictures of Black Spots on Tongue
What is the visual appearance of black spots and patches on the tongue? Clear pictures are provided in this post to show you how black spots on the surface of your tongue can look like. These pictures elaborate more for you to see how black marks look like for visual understanding.
These pictures also show various parts of the tongue that can be affected by dark marks. For instance, black marks can affect the very tip of the tongue, side of the tongue, under the tongue and the back of the tongue.
Black Spots under Tongue
Dark spots under the tongue are a rare case that could be concerning a serious health condition. Black spots or patches under the tongue are a common oral problem that occurs in individuals who smoke or chew tobacco. However, dark marks under the tongue can also affect people who neither smoke nor chew tobacco products.
A black spot under the tongue can be associated with a type of skin cancer known as melanoma. This type of skin cancer affects melanocytes which are cells that produce a skin pigment called melanin. Melanoma not only occurs on the skin but also affect other parts of the body such as mouth cavity.
Squamous cell cancer is another type of skin cancer that commonly appears under the tongue of individual who smoke. You can escape and prevent dark spots under the tongue as long as you quit smoking.
Black Spot on Tongue Baby
Black spots on tongue can affect your infant or toddler. A baby tongue can develop strange dark dots or patches. They can appear on a very tip of the baby’s tongue, on side of the tongue or at the back of the tongue. These spots can take various dark colors depending on the causes. They can appear as brown, dark, black or blue spots on baby tongue.
Infant black tongue can be associated with oral thrush which is a fungal or yeast infection. Baby tongue black thrush is a known condition that can affect your infant. Yeast infection or mold on the baby tongue can limit the feeding habit of your infant due to temporal loss of taste.
Some black dots on the tongue of the baby might be a mild condition that can go away without treatment. However, if you notice that dark spots on the tongue of the baby have persisted for a long time or refuse to fade away, you can seek the help of your doctor.
Black spot on Tongue Superstition
What does having a black tongue mean? It is so interesting to learn about superstitions that are associated with black spots on tongue. Some people have a strong belief in old myths and superstition related to the black hairy tongue. These superstitions are not the same but they can vary from one community to the other depending on geographical location.
According to Indian superstition, people with black tongue are believed to say the truth. Such individuals are respected in a family because of the unique traits of dark dots on the tongue. However, some African communities have a superstition that people with black tongue can curse you because their tongue is believed to contain magic powers that can lead to something bad to happen.
Black spots on tongue astrology is another superstition that some people believe that having dark spots on the tongue that can change the location as time goes has a direct influence on human affairs. Despite all this believes and superstition, there is no any scientific proof that explains how black spots on the tongue are correlated with natural human affairs.
How to Get Rid of Black Spots on Tongue
You have no reason to live with dark spots on your tongue that can frustrate your mind. You can fix or solve the problem of dark spots by using several treatment methods. Home remedies are one of the methods that you can use to get rid of dark marks on the tongue.
Home remedies are a suitable method that you can use to treat dark marks on the tongue that cannot advance in a health complicated issue. Allergy reactions, fungal infection and black hairy tongue can be treated by home remedies.
Home remedies cannot be used to treat a serious oral condition such as oral fibroma and tongue cancer that can result in dark spots on tongue. You can go medical treatment by visiting your doctor to help you on how to remove hyperpigmentation on tongue.
Medical treatment of dark spots on the tongue can be done by your dentist. After visiting your doctor, he/ she will determine the main cause of dark spots on your tongue. Finally, your doctor will decide the appropriate type of diagnosis plan to use.
The following are methods that your doctor might use to treat dark spots on your tongue:
- Surgical methods by using sterilized tools to remove dark bumps on the tongue
- Laser treatment that use a beam of light to kill malignant cells that cause hyperpigmentation on the tongue surface
- Prescription of the oral drugs that can help cure dark dots on your tongue
Try the following home remedies that can help you to remove black spots on the tongue:
- Proper oral hygiene
Maintaining good oral hygiene is the best home remedy that can help you to prevent and remove dark spots, bumps, and patches from your tongue. Brushing and scraping your tongue can help to remove food debris, dead skin, bacteria and fungi that can cause black spots on tongue.
Clean your entire mouth cavity twice per day. Use a soft toothbrush to clean your oral cavity. A tongue scraper can also be used to remove dirty deposit from the dorsum of the tongue. Use suitable mouthwash to clean your oral cavity and avoid harsh mouthwash that can cause irritation of the tongue.
- Eating balanced diet
Eating a properly balanced diet is an excellent home remedy that can help you get rid of black spots on your tongue. Ensure you include roughages such as green vegetables and fruits in your diet. Fruits that contain citric acid such as lemon can help to remove dark spots on your mouth.
Also, drink plenty of clean water to keep your body hydrated. Taking enough water can help your body immune system to function effectively which can help to prevent dark spots on the surface of your tongue.
- Avoid using tobacco products and consumption of excess alcohol, coffee or tea
Avoiding or stop smoking can help your tongue to escape black stains from tobacco smoke. Chewing tobacco or smoking can encourage the growth of fungi and bacteria that cause black spots on tongue. Excessive intake of coffee, tea, and alcohol can also increase the risk of getting dark patches on the tongue. The best home remedy is to avoid bad habit of smoking and drinking excessive alcoholic drinks, tea or coffee.
- Baking soda
You can use baking soda as a home remedy to remove dark spots on the tongue surface. The reagent has the ability to clear away bacteria and fungi that can cause dark marks on the tongue.
Use a baking soda instead of mouth paste to clean your tongue twice per day for few weeks until dark spots on your tongue fade away.
- Lemon juice and honey
A mixture of lemon juice and honey is an effective home remedy for black spots on tongue. Lemon juice has citric acid that acts as a natural bleaching agent of dark marks on the tongue. Honey has a soothing effect that can help to relieve itchy dark blood filled blisters on the tongue.
Simply mix two teaspoons of lemon juice with one teaspoon of raw honey. Then apply it on the affected part of your tongue twice per day for few weeks until dark dots on your tongue go away.
Other home remedies
Other home remedies include the application of Aloe Vera juice, coconut oil, salt rinse, garlic juice, cinnamon extract and any other suitable home remedies.
Sources and References
- Signs and symptoms of black spots or patches on tongue: https://drhealthbenefits.com/disease-disorder/common-symptoms/black-spot-on-tongue
- Cause of black spots on the tongue: https://www.doctorshealthpress.com/general-health/black-spots-on-the-tongue/
- Cause of dark spots on the tongue: https://www.healthline.com/health/dental-and-oral-health/spots-on-tongue#causes2
- Small black spots on the tongue: http://www.healthyandnaturalworld.com/black-spot-on-tongue/
- Pictures of black spot on tongue: https://drhealthbenefits.com/disease-disorder/common-symptoms/black-spot-on-tongue
- Dark spots under the tongue: https://www.zocdoc.com/answers/12943/why-do-i-have-black-spots-under-my-tongue
- Black Spot on Tongue Baby: https://www.mamapedia.com/article/black-spots-on-tongue-of-baby
- Black spot on tongue superstition: http://folklore.usc.edu/?p=17070
- How to get rid of black spots or patches on tongue: https://www.quora.com/How-to-get-Rid-of-black-dot-on-tongue
- Home remedies for dark spots on the tongue: http://www.ayushveda.com/magazine/home-remedies-to-get-rid-of-stains-from-the-tongue/