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Geographic Tongue

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Geographic Tongue

The geographic tongue is a harmless inflammatory condition that occurs on the surface of your tongue. When it happens, the tongue willhave tiny white pinkish bumps with short hair-like projections. This condition can make it challenging to eat hot or extremely cold, or spicy foods.

There are patches on the tongue’s surface called missing papillae with geographic tongue, and they appear as smooth red island swith slightly raised borders.

These patches or lesions usually make the tongue have a map like or geographic look. When the lesions heal in one area, they will migrate to another part. This is why the geographic tongue is also called benign migratory glossitis.

Though it might be quite alarming to have a geographic tongue, it doesn’t cause other health conditions and has no linkwith cancer or an infection. However, having a geographic tongue maybe uncomfortable and increase your sensitivity to substances like spices, sweets, and salt.

Symptoms

The following are the symptoms of geographic tongue;

  • Irregularly shaped red and smooth patches on the top or sideof your tongue
  • Regular changes in the size, shape, colour and location of lesions
  • Pain or burning sensations on the tongue when eating acidic or spicy foods

Most people with geographic tongues do not have symptoms. This conditionmay be present for days, months, or even years. However, it can resolve on its own but will appear again after a while.

Geographic Tongue Symptoms

When to complain to a doctor

Though the geographic tongue is quite uncomfortable, it is a minor condition.

However, having lesions on your tongue may indicate other severe conditions other than geographic tongue. You should meet your doctor or dentist if the lesions on your tongue don’t disappear within ten days.

Causes of Geographic tongue

The cause of the geographic tongue is not known.This makes it difficult to prevent the condition.

Nevertheless, it is believed that the geographic tongue is linked to psoriasis and lichen plan us. However, more research should be done fora better understanding of these connections.

Risk factors

The studies of factors that increase people’s risk of the geographic tongue did not show corresponding results. However, it is believed that the following factors can increase a person’s risk of the condition:

  • Family history: If you have or had someone with a geographic tongue in your family, your risk may increase because of inherited genetic factors
  • Fissured tongue: It has been noted that people with geographic tongues usually have a fissured tongue disorder. This disorder causes the tongue to appear as deep grooves (fissures).

Complications

The geographic tongue does not pose any threat to your health, neither does it have long-term complications. Geographic tongue is called a benign condition and doesn’t increase your risk for any severe health problem.

However, people become anxious about the condition because it looks embarrassing to have a mapped out tongue, which depends on the lesions’ visibility. Also, it may be difficult to believe that there is nothing seriously wrong.

If you notice any of the symptoms of geographic tongue, do ensure you reach out to our dental professionals at Smile Clinic London. We will be sure to make your time worth it.

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