He tastes hirsute and salty.
An Ohio man’s tongue turned green and hairy following an alleged reaction to smoking cigarettes while simultaneously taking antibiotics.
A study detailing the patient’s tufty emerald taste organ was published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine.
According to the research publication, the unidentified 64-year-old smoker had reported to the doctor several weeks after his lollipop licker had changed color and sprouted fur like a lingual werewolf transformation.
Doctors diagnosed him with a hairy tongue, “an abnormal coating” of skin cells that forms on the tongue when the filiform papillae — tiny conical protrusions containing taste buds — become enlarged and discolored due to a buildup of debris and bacteria.
This lends them the appearance of hairs, which can grow to nearly an inch long if the tongue is not regularly scraped.
These can, in turn, trap other substances like bacteria, food and yeast similar to an oral gill net, per the Daily Mail.
“Hairy tongue may appear brown, white, green, or pink, depending upon the specific cause and other factors, such as mouthwashes or even candy,” the American Academy of Oral Medicine writes.
Accompanying photos show the man’s tongue, which is mangy and green as if he licked a Sasquatch on Saint Patrick’s Day.
Generally caused by poor oral hygiene, the condition — which generally affects adults over 40 (and is more common in men) — can be exacerbated by smoking, which causes bacteria and plaque to accumulate on the tongue.
The doctors did not reveal how long the Ohioan had been toking the tobacco, however.
This particular patient’s hairy tongue could’ve had another cause: The docs later learned that the man had also just finished taking a regimen of the antibiotic clindamycin for a gum infection.
According to WebMD, taking antibiotics can upset the mouth’s microbial equilibrium by altering the number and types of bacteria and causing them to amass on the envelope sealer.
Doctors didn’t specify if the victim’s ailment was fomented by smoking, antibiotic use or a combination of the two.
Thankfully, this generally temporary condition is harmless, with its worst symptom amounting to a burning sensation on the tongue.
Fortunately, patients can shave this oral patina by scouring it off with a toothbrush or tongue scraper — as was the case with the Ohio man, who was told to gently scrub his tongue with a toothbrush four times a day.
They also advised him to quit the cancer sticks.
After half a year, his oral hairline had completely receded, although he never stopped smoking.
To keep one’s tongue from sprouting a goatee, doctors advise practicing good hygiene.
“Brushing the top of the tongue with a toothbrush should be part of regular daily oral hygiene activities,” AAOM writes. “Many individuals are sensitive and have a tendency to ‘gag’ when accomplishing this procedure.”
They added, “Using a small brush and gradually going backward tends to lessen this problem.”
This is particularly important given that hairy tongue, while alien, is a surprisingly common affliction with 13% of adults experiencing it at least once in their lifetime.
In a more bizarre case in 2022, an Indian man’s tongue became carpeted in black hair, the most common variety, after he suffered a stroke.
Physicians suspected that his lingual fur-festation was caused by the patient’s diet of soft foods and liquids — a regimen he was placed on due to his condition — which do not abrade the tongue’s surface like their hard counterparts.
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