Geographic Tongue

Geographic Tongue
Geographic Tongue

Overview Of Geographic Tongue

Geographic Tongue is characterized by irregular patches on the surface of the tongue. This gives it a map-like appearance.

Commonly Associated With

Patches on the tongue; Tongue – patchy; Benign migratory glossitis; Glossitis – benign migratory

Causes Of Geographic Tongue

The exact cause of this condition is unknown. It may be caused by a lack of vitamin B. It also may be due to irritation from hot or spicy foods, or alcohol. The condition appears to be less common in smokers.

The change in pattern on the surface of the tongue occurs when there is a loss of the tiny, finger-like projections, called papillae, on the tongue. These areas look flat as a result. The appearance of the tongue may change very quickly. The flat-looking areas may remain for more than a month.

Symptoms Of Geographic Tongue

Symptoms include:

  • Map-like appearance to the surface of the tongue
  • Patches that move from day to day
  • Smooth, red patches and sores (lesions) on the tongue
  • Soreness and burning pain (in some cases)

Exams & Tests

Your health care provider will diagnose this condition by looking at your tongue. Most of the time, tests are not needed.

Treatment Of Geographic Tongue

No treatment is needed. Antihistamine gel or steroid mouth rinses may help ease discomfort.