This is also known as benign migratory glossitis. This is usually not painful but this may lead to sensitivity problems and discomfort.Geographic tongue is a harmless condition which affects only the tongue surface.
In normal tongue there are small, pink bump like structures which are called papillae. With geographic tongue these papillae lost and that area looks smooth and reddish in colour. Also these areas are appeared to be like small islands which surround slight raised borders. Sometimes these raised borders may be in white. This can persist for more than a month. These lesions may move around the tongue. This movement is very rapid. The lesion heals and moves to another area of the tongue causing the same appearance. Due to this movement of these lesions it is known as geographic tongue.
The exact cause for geographic tongue is unknown. Vitamin B deficiency may be involved. This condition may occur due to irritations from hot and spicy foods or from alcohols. But in very rare cases that smoking patients are present with geographic tongue. Also following factors may link with geographic tongue, such as psoriasis, pustular psoriasis, fissured tongue. Also can be associated with anemia, oral contraceptive use, diabetes, stress and other skin disorders. In some cases certain foods such as cheese may trigger this condition. Also this may be a genetically inherited condition and with women it can be associated with menstrual cycle. It is now found that this may result from the activity of some of the white blood cells, but still the condition is not understood. Geographic tongue usually occurs around 2% of the population. This condition is more common in adults. Geographic tongue appears more often in females than in males.
Symptoms include smooth, red, irregular shaped lesions on the top or /and slides of the tongue. Rapid changes occur in the location, shape and also in the size of the lesions. Soreness and burning pain. These symptoms may increase during the women’s menstruation cycle and during her pregnancy period. These lesions may sometimes moves to the other parts of the mouth or in the lips.
If the lesion does not cure within a week or 10 days, consult a dentist or a doctor. Diagnosis of geographic tongue is usually done by examining the tongue using a lighted instrument. And effective diagnosis is carried out by moving the patient’s tongue around in various positions. Gentle touch will identify the firmness or tenderness in the texture of those lesions. Also checking for swollen lymph nodes or checking for fever.
In severe conditions breathing troubles may occur, and tongue may severely swell. This may lead to speaking, chewing or swallowing problems. If so it is important to consult a dentist or a doctor immediately.
Since this condition is harmless but irritable, to cure or control the irritation or the pain the doctor will give medications such as, pain relievers, antihistamine mouth rinses, corticosteroid ointments or rinses and mouth rinses which contains anesthetic. Also this can be reduced or most probably recover by avoiding eating hot, spicy, acidic or salty foods. Avoiding alcoholic drinks, tobacco products and toothpastes which containing high flavoring agents, whitening agents and tartar control additives will also prevents geographic tongue