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Man's tongue turns green and hairy after reaction to cigarettes and antibiotics

Man's tongue turns green and hairy after reaction to cigarettes and antibiotics

A man's tongue has gone 'hairy' and green after completing a course of antibiotics while also being a smoker.

For many years, we have been warned about the damaging affects smoking can have on our body.

Whether that is damaging of lungs, making smokers more likely to be diagnosed with cancer, or the more visual elements like yellow fingernails.

However, this particular symptom is certainly a strange and slightly disturbing one, as a man from the US noticed a change to his tongue colour after taking antibiotics.

The unnamed 64-year-old man from Ohio went to the doctors around two weeks after he noticed his tongue had started to change colour.

But his visit to a primary care clinic came just three weeks after he had completed a course of the antibiotic clindamycin, which he had been taking for a gum infection.

The man's tongue turned green!
The New England Journal of Medicine

The man's rather peculiar symptoms have been reported in a case study from the New England Journal of Medicine, where it was disclosed the man is smoker.

However, some of the details in the study remain vague, with it unclear as to how long the man has been smoking and how often he does so.

The authors did also not indicate whether the change of colour was caused specially by smoking, the antibiotics, or a combination of the two.

Nonetheless, pictures published in the study show the man has a green, hairy tongue - something that has honestly put me off my lunch.

Doctors have since diagnosed the man with a hairy tongue, which is 'an abnormal coating' of skin cells that forms of top of the tongue, creating a buildup of debris and bacteria.

They build up on the part of the tongue where the taste buds sit, also known as papillae.

A lot of research has been done looking into the impact smoking has on your gum health.

If there is a lack of stimulation or abrasion to the top of the tongue, then a buildup of keratin can happen, which is the same protein that makes up the hair on our head.

The papillae then becomes longer than usual - giving the tongue a 'hairy' look and feel.

Things such as bacteria and yeast can become trapped as a result, leading to rather bizarre colours of the tongue like this man's.

Previous research has shown a correlation between smoking cigarettes and poor oral health.

That research has made people well aware that smoking can cause plaque and bacteria to buildup.

As for antibiotics, they can impact the mouth's microbiome, hence altering bacteria and allowing them to sit on the tongue.

Featured Image Credit: New England Journal of Medicine / Pexels/Cottonbro Studio

Topics: Health, Weird, US News