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What Causes a Tongue with Dark Spots?

Why do I have dark spots on the tongue? Discover the causes including under, side, tip, on baby tongue and treatment.


The tongue of a person is used to define various health condition and therefore, the occurrence of the spotted tongue may create a lot of concern or it may be alarming to the affected person. Causes of these dark spots or marks include:

1. Hairy tongue

It is also known as Lingua villosa nigra. It is the major cause of this problem. It is worsened by excessive alcohol consumption, a soft diet, poor oral hygiene, fungal infection, dry mouth or excessive use of tobacco, by either chewing or smoking.

2. Recurrent injuries

When it is repetitively bitten may lead to development due to healing scars. Application of dental appliances that can injure it also can trigger the appearance of these dark spots.

3. Pregnancy period

Some of the women during pregnancy period experience this darkening. Also, some women who are fond of using contraceptive may experience these since both pregnancy and contraceptives cause hormonal imbalance that may trigger dark spotted tongue.

4. Reaction to Medications

In some cases, they may occur due to allergies and reactions to some type of certain drugs. Those drugs that cause them contain bismuth salicylate, an asthma drug, anti-depressant, and some kinds of antibiotics.

5. Tongue Piercing

If you are fond of piercing as a way of fashion, expect to experience this pigmentation around the pierced site due to pigmentation because of the healing process of the scars.

6. Oral Fibroma

This is a conical tongue tissue that appears as dark bumps on top of the tongue and most cases are not associated with cancer of the mouth since is caused by trauma.

7. Tongue Cancer

This is a type of mouth cancer that usually attack cells of the tongue. It is majorly triggered by repeated trauma, for example, if it is often bitten, Consuming old betel and Chewing tobacco.

8. Hyperpigmentation

This is a condition whereby it is excessively pigmented. This hyperpigmentation is caused by anemia, bad habits excessive coffee consumption, stress and fatigue, lack of nutrition and how to maintain oral hygiene is wrong.

9. Fungal infection

Candida albicans oral or oral fungal infections are infections of the tongue caused by fungal growth. This is due to the appearance may be triggered by things such as irregular toothbrushes, drinking alcohol, smoking and other bad habits.

10. Excessive exposure to harsh chemicals

When it is exposed to bismuth, it can react with acids naturally found on the tongue and cause the tissue temporarily to turn dark. The main source of these chemicals includes chewable Pepto-Bismol tablets.

When under 

What is the meaning of dark spots under my tongue? Besides having the top side, it is possible again to have them beneath. Are you disturbed by these them? It is advisable to treat them if only you can identify the cause but it is recommended to seek medication from a specialist.

Some of their causes include:

Dark spots under tongue
black patches 
  • Reaction to Medications
  • piercing
  • Oral Cancer
  • Oral Fibroma
  • Hyper-Pigmentation
  •  Lingua villosa nigra

Note: melanoma is the major cause. Melanoma is a type of cancer that results from pigment cells that give your skin the color. It can occur on any part of your body including under the tongue or sides of the mouth.

When on side

Dark spots on side of tongue
On side

In some occasion, these dark marks or spot may develop on the side of the tongue. They might appear on both sides or on either side whether large or small in size. Dental appliances are the most common cause.

Other causes include:

  • Adrenocortical insufficiency,
  • Malignant melanoma
  • Smoking,
  • Drinking,
  • Tobacco chewing, etc.

When on tip

Dark spots on tongue tip
On tip

The appearance of spots on tip of the tongue could be caused by various factors such as smoking, injuries due to tasting the hot food, drinking alcohol, tobacco chewing etc.

However, they are sometimes not painful and harmless. In some cases, especially when related to some diseases and conditions, they could hurt.

This problem can be noticed on both toddler and adults.

Can babies have this problem?

Dark spots on a baby’s tongue would most likely be due to some increased pigmentation. This can be considered normal and is usually found more commonly in darker-skinned individuals. It also can be considered hereditary. However, it is advisable to visit a reputable pediatrician near you.

Small Spots

Black spots on tongue
Black spots 

According to researchers, there is no particular cause of these tiny spots on the tongue but studies show that they are also caused by poor oral hygiene, hyperpigmentation, oral cancer, injuries or trauma, allergic reactions, medical conditions, excessive alcohol consumption and smoking among other causes.

How to treat, cure them

To treat tongue with dark spots, you must know the underlying cause and deal with it. Some of the general ways to deal with this problem include:

  • It can be done by changing your oral hygiene routine through brushing it gently.
  • If it still continues and the spots do not disappear, you should consult with a physician.
  • Avoid smoking and excessive intake of alcohol
  • Use of Neem leaves to remove dark stains 
  • Gargle with cinnamon and clove water since it helps in fighting various bacterial infections in your mouth that stains your tongue.
  • Gargle garlic and coconut oil solution that assists in fights the fungal infections in your mouth and also helps in detoxing and pulling off the stains.

Prevention tips

  • Maintain proper Oral hygiene since there are dark spots that are caused by some foods.
  • Change or improve personal lifestyle free from smoking and chewing tobacco.
  • Take sufficient and quality roughages
  • Follow doctors’ instructions.
  1. http://medicaltreasure.com/black-spots-on-tongue/
  2. http://www.tandurust.com/oral-care/black-spots-on-tongue.html
  3. http://www.healthline.com/health/dental-and-oral-health/spots-on-tongue#Overview1
  4. http://www.md-health.com/Black-Spots-On-Tongue.html
  5. http://www.wowremedies.com/black-spots-on-tongue-causes-and-treatment/
  6. Zocdoc: https://www.zocdoc.com/answers/6424/what-are-the-dark-spots-on-my-tongue

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