Dr Oz Tongue Health: Hairy Tongue, Oral Cancer & Thrush

When was the last time you touched your tongue and really examined it in the mirror?  Doctor Oz said that whether your tongue is smooth, bumpy, dark or light could be telling you something.  Do you know how your tongue can teach you about your health?  Dr Oz’s Assistant of the Day stuck out her tongue and Dr Oz examined it by looking for signs of Oral cancer on the sides of the tongue and on the bottom.  The tongue should look fairly smooth but just with tiny little bumps.  Did you know that your tongue is the strongest muscle in your body, because your tongue is actually made up of 8 different muscles.  Also, did you know that not only do you have tastebuds towards the front of your tongue, but you also have some tastebuds way back down near your throat. Dr Oz's Hairy Tongue Cure

Thrush & Anemia

Dr Oz said that if you have a white or pale colored tongue, you could have Anemia, an iron deficiency or vitamin b / b12 deficiency, because if you are missing red blood cells, your tissue in your tongue will look pale.  If you just have a white coating on part of your tongue, it could be something called Thrush as well.

Oral Cancer

Dr Oz said that if you have a little blister on your tongue that hurts when you touch it, it is most commonly an allergic reaction to something.  However, if the ulcer does not go away after about 3 days, you should get checked for Oral Cancer.  Dr Oz did say that usually Oral Cancer is on the sides or back and not on the top of the tongue.

Hairy Tongue

Dr Oz said that if you have an odd texture on your tongue that looks like a Hairy Tongue, then it could be caused by poor oral hygiene, not brushing enough and the dark color of the hairs can be caused by drinking coffee.  The photo that Dr Oz showed of the hairy tongue literally looked like a tongue with dark hair growing in a patch.  Dr Oz said that if you have a Hairy Tongue, you should try to use a Tongue Scraper to help with this.


  1. Joe Moses says

    I have had a white tongue for approximate six months. My dentist did not see a problem. My doctor prescribed nystatin but, the medication does not help. What should I do next.

  2. says

    Joe, we are not doctors, we are just Dr Oz’s biggest fan site. So I am really not sure what to tell you. If your doctor cannot figure out the problem though, I’d certainly go for a second opinion… and even a third opinion… until a doctor can figure out what is going on. Best of luck Joe!

  3. Gina says

    . I got slightly offended when I saw the program and Dr. Oz’s remarks that black tongue is caused by “poor oral hygiene”. I had a black tongue several times when I was pregnant and was taking anti heart burn medication. I took Pepto Bismol last night, and presto, my tongue turned black. I researched the net, and apparently, this is a little known and uncommon side effect of Pepto Bismol. I also found out that toothpaste and mouthwash that contains sulfates (and most do) can also cause black tongue (and bad breath) in those who are sensitive, and I am allergic to sulfa. I am now looking into finding a toothpaste without the sulfa. Mistery solved….and let those who are now afraid to admit their black tongue because of Dr. Oz’s comment, relax.

  4. says

    Joe, I would suggest you get a second opinion, probably from an oral surgeon, to help ease your mind. Many people have a “white” coating on their tongue. A lot of times it is due to the normal flora in the mouth, dry mouth, or inefficient oral hygiene (make sure you remember to scrape your tongue). The cause of “Black hairy tongue” is oftentimes uncertain, but seems to affect mostly heavy smokers. Hairy tongue is also associated with poor oral hygiene, vitamin deficiency, gastrointestinal disturbances, general debilitation and radiation.

  5. Paula says

    Hello, I am not a smoker, am not taking antacids, and have good oral hygiene, so my black tongue was not caused by those things. However, I do have dry mouth due to other meds. I will look into the sulfate thing because I am also allergic to Sulfa drugs, and the ingredients in my mouthwash and toothpaste. The ENT I saw (of course my tongue STOPPED being black the day I had the appointment, but it was white and fuzzy) and said it looked like a fungus and prescribed a lozenge to suck on three times a day. It kind of seems to be working, at least my tongue isn’t black. A side of effect of the black tongue is that everything tastes terrible.

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