Many people think that brushing their teeth is only useful to make their breath pleasant and prevent cavities, but oral hygiene goes much further. A 50-year-old man was admitted to the Medical Trust Hospital, in India, with an advanced stage of hairy tongue. The case published by the scientific journal Jama Dermatology drew attention due to the seriousness of the Indian’s condition.
According to the medical report, the patient had a thick layer of black fur, a colony of bacteria, with yellowish parts in the center and back of the tongue, thin, elongated, black fibers that look like hair. For the brave, the link with the image of the patient will be at the end of the article.
According to the American Academy of Oral Medicine, our tongue is full of cone-shaped structures, about 1 millimeter long, called filiform papillae. These structures are pink in color from food stimulation and abrasion or tongue cleaning, they grow and fall, all the time. If the papillae do not fall off due to lack of abrasion, they continue to grow. And lack of oral hygiene promotes the accumulation of bacteria and keratin, the main building protein of nails and hair.
Human tongue under the microscope. (Photo: Playback/Pinterest)
In the long term, in an environment favorable to these two combinations, a colony of bacteria is created with the remains of food, giving the impression that there are hairs on the tongue. As rare as it may seem, the disease is not that rare. About 13% of the world’s population suffers from this condition.
The hairy tongue can be white, yellow, brown, pink and even green depending on the habits of the individual like smoking, excessive consumption of sweets, teas and coffee. In addition to the hairy appearance, the condition generates bad breath and a metallic taste in the mouth, but it is not painful.
The Indian patient had suffered a stroke 3 months before the medical appointment. According to reports, he was given liquids and mash, which do not cause abrasions on the tongue, as well as various medications prescribed by the doctor. Today, the Indian is accompanied by his caregivers and has been instructed to perform oral hygiene properly. The issue was resolved 20 days later.
Brushing your teeth and tongue after every meal is the main way to prevent the problem. Follow the link to post on Twitter with the image of the Indian patient’s tongue.
Feature photo: Oral hygiene goes beyond preventing cavities. Reproduction/Getty Images