Green hairy tongue: a rare occurrence caused by antibiotics

Doctors at Wright-Patterson Medical Center have discovered a rare condition in a man from the United States – a green hairy tongue. This unusual case was published in the prestigious The New England Journal of Medicine, attracting the attention of the medical community and the general public.

A 64-year-old man sought help at a clinic after noticing changes on his tongue a few weeks earlier. Upon examination, doctors found elongated thread-like papillae on his tongue that were colored green. This condition, known as green hairy tongue, is caused by a buildup of dead skin cells on the tongue, causing the papillae covering its surface to elongate. Food particles, bacteria and yeast can settle on these papillae, causing them to change their color to black, brown, yellow or green.

One possible cause of a green hairy tongue is taking antibiotics. Studies have shown that these medications can disrupt the normal microflora of the oral cavity, which in turn leads to the multiplication of bacteria and yeast, causing a change in the color and condition of the tongue. In addition, poor oral hygiene, smoking and eating soft foods that fail to remove dead skin from the tongue can also be contributing factors to this rare condition.

In the case of the US man, the green hairy tongue was most likely caused by taking antibiotics. Doctors advised him to brush his tongue gently with a toothbrush and quit smoking. Although the patient continued to smoke, his tongue returned to normal.

This case of green hairy tongue is rare but interesting to the medical community. Researchers continue to study this topic to better understand the causes and mechanisms of this condition. Perhaps in the future, new methods of treating and preventing green hairy tongue will be developed.

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