Avatar universal

Still have hairy tongue from Flagyl :(

I posted a while back looking for help with Hairy Tongue. Several more months have passed and I still have hairy tongue.

It started almost a year ago when I took a 1 week course of Metronodizole (Flagyl).

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.


This discussion is related to Problem with "Hairy Tongue.".

This discussion is related to Problem with "Hairy Tongue.".
13 Responses
Avatar universal
I got the same problem after taking flagyl for only two weeks! Nilstat made it worse. I'm trying sodium bicarbonate and mapel syrup drink and immune system supplements, loads of good bacteria and alpha lipoic acid. I will try and update if any success. Please let me know how you go if you discover a cure!
Avatar universal
Hey it's kevdood83,

Unfortunately I still have hairy tongue well over a year later. After taking flagyl.

I tried numerous things, including oral probiotic lozenges and probiotic pills, yogurt, kefir.

I tried the nystatin the DRs gave me, didn't help.

Tongue scrubber the Dentist gave me, didn't help.

The only thing that helps is using non alcohol mouthwash, and warm salt gargles after brushing. But this just cleans things out so my breath us OK.

The hairy elongated papillae have never gone away. For 27 years my tongue was smooth, then it turned hairy the week I took the antibiotic, and it's been like ever since.  I wish I had better news :/

I try not to let it bother me. But the medical professionals I've shown it to either say it looks OK, or to see someone else.

I'm hoping it just goes away.
Have you found a solution to get rid of hairy tongue? Same thing happened to me from taking flagyl :(
Avatar universal
I'm having the same problem as you. I obtained hairy tongue about 6-8 months ago. I've tried EVERYTHING and it doesn't go away. No doctor and dentist have been able to help me. My worse thing is bad breath, i had bad breath ALL the time which ***** cause i feel embarrassed sometimes just to open my mouth. I recently came across something called TCA peel, which is a chemical peel and this guy in one of the websites tried it and he said his hairy tongue was reduced by 60% and same with his bad breath. I tried it and it didn't work on me. The hairy tongue comes back. I saw ur picture and u should be glad about yours cuase mine is worse. my papillae are elongated more then yours. Have you tried any other products that have helped u?
Avatar universal
Hey makeavish,

As I said above the only thing that seems to help is to brush my tongue gently with a tongue scraper after my regular brushing, and the doing a warm salt water gargle for 15-20 seconds and spot it out.

This cleans out debris from the elongated papillae. As I said above I tried antibiotics, probiotics lozenges, yogurt, Nystatin mouthwash, etc etc.... NOTHING seems to get my papillae return to their normal length like it was before I took Flagyl (metronidazole) for a week.

While I took that Flagyl stuff it was like someone flipped a switch and my papillae elongated to give my to give the hairy look... And has NEVER returned to normal.

If I could go back in time I would never take that awful stuff.

I wish I had better news. I have showed this to 2 dentists and my regular DR and my dermatologist. They all say its normal or that they see the elongation but it should return to normal someday.

It's very brave that you tried the TCA peel, I would be too scared to try an acid peel on my tongue. One dentist said he has done a procedure to "suture" the elongated papillae but he told me the hairs would just grow back. (Which sounds like what happened with you) He said the tongue is just like skin on other parts of your body and is constantly regenerating. Infact skin regenerates roughly every 30 days... And the tongue is no different, so I suspect that is why your hairy to he grew back.

Again, I wish I had better news, but I feel like I'm stuck with hairy tongue forever. :/
Avatar universal
Ya i still have it with no difference. However, they have gotten a LITTLE better than before. Before it was so bad that when I have water in my mouth, I can see the hair move, now I don't. At this point, i'm willing to try anything and everything. I'm even calling local cosmetic surgeons as a lot of the websites suggest that you can surgically have it removed with either CO2 laser treatment or electrodessication where they actually get rid of the papillae, As long as my taste buds are still there, at this point I don't care about my filiform papillae. I'm just consistently brushing my teeth and tongue and using tongue scraper. Some websites suggest that if you're body is too acidic, that can cause it or prevent it from getting rid of it so I'm changing my diet to make my body more alkaline and i even bought pH drops where i add them to my water which makes my body more alkaline. I take multi vitamins daily. The thing that scares me the most is when i do research and come across forums, I have yet to see a success story where someone has explained that they were fully cured by this condition. People are always talking about how they still have it and wanting to get rid of it. I'm thinking of trying antibiotics because this also depends on the actual cause of the problem. I admit i didn't have the best oral hygiene and i used to be a smoker is why i think i got it so maybe antibiotics might help since that wasn't the root of the problem like yours.
784382 tn?1376931040
if you were in my chair at my dental office i wouldnt even consider that a "hairy tongue", atleast not from the picture....
You should see mine then...
Avatar universal
Also got hairy tongue but got rid of it quickly.  I cleaned the tongue with a good tongue cleaner several times a day then rinsed my mouth with 4 drops grapefruit seed oil several times a day.  Also put a bit of baking soda on my tongue especially before going to bed.  I saw an improvement in about 2 days then a week past and my tongue was practically clear.
Good luck.  I hope it works for you.  PS.  Also heard that eating/sucking on pineapple helps ... don't know but might be helpful.
Avatar universal
Heartbreaking. I've been in the same boat forever now, and nothing works. It's painful, tiresome, & the quality of food , beverages , and the things you enjoy go away…Tried brushes, scrubs, natural, roots, barks, liquids, meds, rinses. etc. I maintain with brushing, water rinses, the yogurts just coat too much now & I can rarely though coffee which was the love of my life.LOL. I stay away from sugars, or high starchy/carbs, yeasts, & glutens. I can't even hardly battle the salad dressing or spices I love so much , my whole life changed. The struggle is real.
Is your hairy tongue still here ? Have you get rid of it yet ? Im struggling right now
Avatar universal
I had thrush from a recent round of antibiotics and read about garlic as a cure, so I took 2 Garlinase brand tablets daily (1 a.m., 1 p.m.) for 3 days:  not only did my thrush clear up, but my "hairs" I've had from years of Flagyl went away as well!  I keep sticking my tongue out and staring in the mirror because I can't believe it.  I've been taking daily garlic for months and stopped for a couple of weeks prior to having a surgery (it can cause bleeding).  I think the key was the higher dose of 2 pills instead of one.
Avatar universal
Did you ever find a solution for your problem or the right diagnosis?

I have exactly the same problem and I really need help. I'm losing my life because of it!!!
Hey ! have you found any solution to it ?
Avatar universal
me too !! i have the same thing
Avatar universal
I found a very good solution. At Walgreens (probably any good drug store), purchase Peroxide Mouth Rinse (hydrogen peroxide / oral debriding agent) and do this: Scrape your tongue well and brush your teeth, then rinse with this mouth rinse at night. Don't worry when it fizzes and a white foam is on your tongue. It's just fine. The next morning you will see a great improvement. Then--as I am doing now--rinse several times a day and also scrape your tongue as far back as you can before you rinse. My tongue was actually pink again in one night. I still have enlarge papillae, but it takes 2-3 weeks for your tongue surface to rebuild itself. I was on Flagyl for a root canal-gone-awry for three weeks and this terrible tongue issue cropped up. Try this mouth rinse!
Is your issue completely gone? I'll do anything to rid his I've already tried so much. I got same thing from flagyl :(
Avatar universal
Did anyone here successfully get rid of hairy tongue ? I tried all I could learned from the internet and nothing seems work ! And im fricking tired of it rn ..Afraid of breathing and talking when someones is too near even my parents kind of notice my weird action ..Please anyone here ><
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