Our dental teachers used to remind us again and again that history taking and listening to the patient is extremely important. I wish to underline with the help of a very small example the importance of a careful history taking and listening to him/her with our ears and eyes open.
This boy whose dental photograph you are viewing is a 15-year old boy had come to me for oral prophylaxis. As i looked at his tongue, i got worried as to why at this age he is having black hairy tongue. I have hardly come across any case of black hairy tongue at this age.
Black hairy tongue is a clinical entity in oral health sciences and you can get more information about it by clicking on this link.
What i remember about my oral medicine lessons – on that basis i can say that mainly the higher antibiotics taken for long and prolonged periods can cause black hairy tongue. Otherwise, it has hardly any clinical significance –but definitely it is a tell tale sign that all may not be well! You see just a hint!
So, I rushed to asked this boy whether he has taken some medicines for long periods. He immediately replied ..No, not at all! Obviously my next question to this boy was as to since how long he is noticing the black patch on his tongue. He was surprised. Then suddenly he spoke —I have just taken Cola candy!
Yes, that cola candy had caused temporary discoloration of his tongue which would go away in a few minutes on its own or tongue cleaning would remove it. So, it was about a case of Black hairy tongue in which tongue proved to be neither black nor hairy.
We need to remember that our mouth is barometer of our whole body — remember when we were kids our doctor used to look at our tongue as part of our examination. They can make out a lot of things by just having a look at our tongue — along with face-reading!
Just have a look at Black hairy tongue by clicking on this link (Courtesy: Google images)