12 October 2011 (Wednesday) - lingua villosa

Hairy tongue (lingua villosa) is a commonly observed condition of defective desquamation of the filiform papillae that results from a variety of precipitating factors. Usually the ends of the papillae get rubbed away by food but sometimes they grow much longer than normal, making the tongue look furry.

This extra tissue can get stained and become a variety of colours. The condition is most frequently referred to as black hairy tongue (lingua villosa nigra); however, hairy tongue may also appear brown, white, green, pink, or any of a variety of hues depending on the specific etiology and secondary factors (eg, use of coloured mouthwashes, breath mints, tobacco). Bacterial and fungal infections may also complicate the condition.

Whilst dramatic in appearance, use of a toothbrush on the tongue (together with any appropriate antibiotics) is normally enough to effect a cure.

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