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Avatar universal

Problem with "Hairy Tongue."

My problem started 6 months ago when I was on an antibiotic (metronidazole) for 1 week.

The antibiotic did its job but caused this condition called "hairy tongue" as a side effect that seems permanent. My tongue looks like it has a white coating of thousands of little elongate papillae. Almost like my once healthy pink tonge now has a 1970's shag-carpet growing on it. These little papillae act like a sponge to trap all sorts of bacteria and food particles. It is a huge pain to clean my tongue after every meal with a tongue scraper. It causes me bad breath, and is just plain un-sightly. Sometimes my tongue gets tender from the scraping.

At first my regular DR incorrectly diagnosed it as "thrush" and gave me Nystatin. On a follow up visit he said its not thrush and in-fact its "hairy tongue." A condition for which he had no cure so he referred me to a dentist.

The dentist did not have any treatment for me either. He just said "use a tongue scraper to slough-off the elongated papilae." (which I am already doing for 6 months.... to no avail.)

SO here I am. Stuck with a hairy tongue and no cure. I have tried;

-Tongue scraper daily
-Diluted 1/5 hydrogen peroxide/water mouthwash
-Various antimicrobial/antibacterial mouthwashes
-Taking oral-probiotic dissolving lozenges daily for 1 month.
-Eating probitic yogurt to establish oral bacteria.

NOTHING has worked. If anyone knows a cure will literally kiss your feet with my hairy tongue. This condition has me horribly depressed, and has ruined my quality of life. I hate how my tongue looks, and I hate cleaning it. I just wish it was like it used to be... pink and normal... not a hair-covered velcro pad for food.

Please help. Anyone please.


10 Responses
Avatar universal
Some quick additional info:

-Thrush/Candida tongue culture came back negative.
-Blood work all came back normal.
-I am in general good health. NO medication.
-I take a multivitamin every day.
Avatar universal
Hi kevdood83.  I took metronidazole and amoxicillin for a nasal infection in mid 2011 and started to develop a white coated tongue.  I did some research and came across Grapefruit seed extract.  GSE is an anti-virus/bacteria/fungi agent.  Put a couple drops in some water or juice and gargle.  Start with only a couple drops and work your way up to 4 drops.  If you use too many drops it will burn your mouth - you don't want that.  To me, it tastes like paint remover, but I tolerate it because it got rid of my white coated tongue.  I also reduced the amount of sugar that I consume as well.  I hope this works for you.
2084768 tn?1332386042
Do you smoke?

Hydrogen peroxide may actually exacerbate hairy tongue.
Avatar universal
Antibiotics or stress may destroy good microbes (good/useful bacteria) present in mouth & stomach. Once this layer is gone, other harmful microbes may grow in.
Pro-Biotics may be one answer,, though does & type is still not clear to me.

Avoid overly cleaning the tongue, rather no cleaning of tongue isrequired, only brush teeth once a day, lightly with soft brush.

If internal (mouth /Stomach) bacteria culture is maintained, not much cleaning is required.
Avatar universal
Hey everyone,

Thanks for the replies/info.

To Caliban:

No, I do not smoke. I am no longer trying Hydrogen Peroxide. However I still have hairy tongue :( It has not been 8 months with a hairy tongue.

To SunnDay07:

Thanks for the tip on trying to gargle with Grapefruit Seed Extract. They sell it in liquid form at the VitamineShoppe near my house, I guess I could give it a shot. Heck.. I'll try anything. I cant believe after this many months my hairy tongue is still there :(

If GSE does help I'll be sure to posts results here.

How many times a day did you gargle with GSE to get your hairy tongue to go away?
To vp2216,

I agree. I am certain it was caused by some bacterial inbalance that occured in my mouth due to the Metronidazole. Antibiotics are great at killing off bad bacteria, but they unfortunately kill healthy/beneficial bacteria as well. I think once the beneficial bacteria's in my mouth were thrown off balance my hairy tongue occured.

I mean for the first 27 years of my life my tongue was pink/healthy/glistening and looked normal. I take the antibiotic for a week and BOOM all of a sudden my tongue turns white and fuzzy :(

It's been that way ever since. I cant tell you how depressed this has me. And the DR's I've seen dont seem to be able to offer any help.
Avatar universal
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