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Mouth Diseases

Brown Spots on the Tongue



I have brown spots on my tongue and i want to know what it is and is it common? Will they go away? And is it something i should be afraid of?


Based upon what you have described, the "brown spots" on your tongue may be caused by a number of things. Since you are concerned, I would strongly suggest that you have this situation evaluated by your dentist.

Now the possibilities of brown spots occurring on the dorsum of the tongue could be related to melanin pigmentation.  In that case, normal discoloration can occur on the oral mucosal surface of the tongue and involve the papilla, buccal mucosa, and gingival tissues.

Another possibility is "black hairy tongue" in which the filiform papilla becomes overgrown and collects stain from both bacterial origins and from food stuffs (coffee, coke, tea stain).  Some antibiotics can be associated with it occurring as can the use of some antacids and or poor oral hygiene.

In the latter (poor oral hygiene), the problem can be eliminated by brushing the tongue with a tooth brush. This again is nothing to worry about; it just looks very bizarre and ominous.

Again, if you are concerned I would strongly recommend that you have it evaluated to alleviate your worries, as I can not make a diagnosis via the Internet.



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Response by:

Richard J Jurevic, DDS, PhD Richard J Jurevic, DDS, PhD
Formerly, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences
School of Dental Medicine
Case Western Reserve University