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Dr. Navitsky
Dr. Navitsky , Board Certified Pediatrician
Category: Pediatrics
Satisfied Customers: 1037
Experience:  US Pediatrician licensed in California living abroad.
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Baby has black tongue toward middle and back of her mouth

Resolved Question:

I have noticed in the last few weeks my baby has a black colored tongue toward the middle and back of her mouth. What could cause this?

She is not taking any supplements or on any medications except sometimes takes gas drops.

Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Pediatrics
Expert:  Dr. Navitsky replied 4 years ago.

Jnavits12 :

Hi there. How old is your baby?

Customer :

9 months

Jnavits12 :

Does her mouth smell?

Customer :

No it smells normal

Jnavits12 :

Does the black colored film scrape or wipe off?

So tongue films are actually common and have more to do with the micro environment and anatomy of one's taste buds in one's mouth which is an individual thing. With blackish color I first think of magnesium type medicines like pepto bismal but this is not the case as she isn't taking medicines. Homeopathic physicians actually use the tongue film to make diagnosis when used in conjunction with other criteria (I never really understood this one)....

She may have long papillae or taste buds that don't slough off enough and then get somewhat oxidized at the tips and turn dark. Does the film scrape off?

Customer :

I tried but it doesn't seem to scrape off but maybe I was being too easy and it was difficult getting her to let me do

Jnavits12 :

She is otherwise healthy right?

Customer :

Yes

Jnavits12 :

Is she teething or having a cold lately?

Customer :

She just cut her first tooth and has had a couple of colds in the last few months

Jnavits12 :

So when you breathe a-lot through your mouth you can also develop a film on the tongue but you would notice it coincides with the cold symptoms, it could also have something to do with the change in her mouth's environment from teething. Truth be told if it doesn't bother her I would leave it totally alone. It is not worrisome. Tongue films are a personal thing and are not dangerous. If she had candida or thrush it would be obviously white and scrapable and this would be treated. Not much else will tend to infect the mouth in a baby her age. Just out of curiosity what did her Pedi say?

Customer :

She asked me if she was taking polyvisol vitamins because sometimes that can change the color but I told her she is not taking any. Should I just use a small bristle toothbrush and see if it scrapes off?

Jnavits12 :

Not really just leave it alone, brushing the tongue is part of her new tooth brushing routine but don't go overboard. The thought of polyvisol with iron drops is a good one as the iron residue could deposit on her tongue.

Customer :

Could the iron residue from her formula do that as well?

Jnavits12 :

Most people who have tongue films notice that they change so probably it won't last but it is not concerning. I doubt the iron from her formula could do it as she has had the formula for a while and the vitamin drops are extra concentrated and metallic looking/smelling.

The formula's iron is not as concentrated in such a small amount of liquid, the vitamin drops look like car rust....

Customer :

Ok that makes me feel better. Just want to make sure it is nothing serious

Jnavits12 :

Don't worry and I would not scrape her tongue or she'll forever hate you brushing it lightly as part of your routine. If you want to take pictures and compare in a few weeks just for kicks go ahead. If you notice weird rash outside her mouth or feel that the black area is extending beyond her tongue it would need to be looked at just in case.

Good Luck! Have a great rest of the day!

Customer :

You too. Thanks a lot

Jnavits12 :

You are welcome!

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