There is a new disease that is causing quite a panic for those who hear about it.
According to reports, people are waking up with black and hairy tongues.
This sounds like something straight out of a horror film but is actually happening to real people.
Lingua Villosa Nigra
The disease is probably something that most folks have never heard of - it's very rare.
Recently, a doctor wrote about a patient who he had to treat. His observation shared in a Washington medical journal is what put the disease in the spotlight.
He wrote of how his 55-year-old female patient had been taking antibiotics when her tongue started to turn black. She had a strange taste in her mouth as well.
Apparently, the woman initially thought the antibiotics are what triggered the taste and caused her tongue to start turning a shade of black.
As if that isn't bad enough, it also looked like black hair was growing on the woman's tongue.
Naturally, she panicked and decided to hurry to her doctor. He ruled the antibiotics out as the cause of the odd experience.
The woman had developed Lingua Villosa Nigra, commonly called "black hairy tongue".
It is a harmless condition that makes it appear as if there is black hair on the tongue.
What Is Black Hairy Tongue?
The tongue has tiny projections on it that are called papillae, and they are what helps us to taste.
If they start to grow longer than one millimeter long for some reason, tiny food particles and dead cells can get trapped.
As a result, the tongue's appearance changes.
The trapped particles can start to rot or get stained by tobacco if the person is a smoker.
While it looks disturbing, it is not harmful or painful. This condition can't lead to any other health problems or diseases if treated.
There are some medicines that may cause "black hairy tongue" to happen. Poor oral hygiene can also be a cause.
The condition's most obvious symptom is the black coloring of the tongue. However, it can be other colors as well, such as white, yellow or brown.
It can also look as if the tongue is covered in soft fur or hair. A metallic, sour or bitter taste usually accompanies this condition.
Bad breath may also occur due to trapped food particles.
The papillae may grow so long that it reaches the back of the mouth, which can lead to gagging.
Fortunately, it is only a temporary thing and can be reversed in a short period of time. It may appear very serious and gross, but with proper oral hygiene, this condition can be fixed.
If the patient is very uncomfortable or the condition lasts very long, it might be necessary to visit the doctor though.
Prevention is better than treatment so if you want to avoid ending up with a discolored tongue, make sure you brush it when you brush your teeth.
Good oral hygiene will help prevent getting 'hairy black tongue' and looking like a Halloween character.