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A man's tongue has turned black and developed 'hair' after he was put on an all-liquid diet following a stroke.
The 50-year-old grew a thick layer of dead skin and bacteria on his tongue during the two months he was on the diet of blended meals and soups.
The condition called lingua villosa nigra is more common than people might think and can occur due to a number of factors.
It is often caused by poor oral hygiene, smoking, strong mouthwashes and some antibiotics and by eating mainly soft foods because the harder foods scrape the dead cells from the tongue as they are eaten.
According to the American Academy of Oral Medicine, up to 13 percent of adults have suffered a 'black hairy tongue' at some point in their life.
It is mainly asymptomatic, often characterised by its appearance, sometimes patients may feel a burning or tickling sensation on the tongue, nausea or bad breath.
In 2018, a woman suffered a similar condition following a horrific car crash, she was taken to hospital to treat her wounds but it was discovered that she had also suffered a wound on her tongue which became infected.
A report carried out by experts at Washington University, in Missouri, said the woman was able to reverse the effects.
It said: “Black hairy tongue is usually reversible and has no long-term sequelae as long as the precipitating agent is discontinued and the patient practices good oral hygiene.
“In this patient, minocyline was discontinued, and an alternate atimicrobal regimen was started.
“She was advised to practice good oral hygiene. Within four weeks after the minocyline was stopped, her tongue returned to its normal colour.”
She reported feeling nauseous and had a bad taste in her mouth and within a week her tongue had become black and fuzzy.
Doctors put her on some antibiotics and it cleared up but if the condition does occur the NHS has advised giving up smoking and drinking until it goes away.
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