The name black hairy tongue may sound scary, but the condition is harmless. Black hairy tongue is caused by bacteria or fungi in the mouth, which make the tongue appear black and hairy. It's easily remedied by good old-fashioned oral hygiene.
Your child has trouble breathing at night or experiences noisy breathing or episodes of sleep apnea, in which the child stops breathing for brief periods while asleep; these symptoms may indicate enlarged adenoids or tonsils.
Your child has recurrent bouts of tonsillitis; surgery may be indicated.
Your child is not responding to antibiotics and has fever or pain, as well as white spots or a discharge on the tonsils; this may indicate mononucleosis or another infection.
Anyone with tonsillitis who is drooling, unable to drink or swallow or has any difficulty breathing should go to the emergency room for evaluation.