Monday, November 11, 2013

What’s a Geographic or Fissured Tongue?

Most tongues are covered with tiny short, pinkish-white hair-like projections called papillae.  Some people are missing the projections on certain areas of the tongue, creating red spots with smooth raised borders and a map-like appearance.  This is called Geographic tongue.  Tongues can also have grooves of many shapes and sizes, a fissured tongue or scrotal tongue.  Let’s take a quick look at both.

The geographic tongue missing hair-like projections is not a cause for concern, as it is not cancer or infection.  The lesions can heal and reappear on different areas of the tongue in unlimited shapes and sizes.   It is also called benign migratory glossitis.  Although many have no symptoms, the lesions can cause discomfort or a burning sensation when eating spicy or acidic foods.  The cause of geographic tongue is unknown, however family history, genetics, aging and environmental factors are a consideration. 

People with geographic tongue many times also suffer another condition called fissured tongue or scrotal tongue.  The deep grooves in the surface of the tongue can cause discomfort, burning and soreness.  The grooves can differ in people considerable both in number, length, depth and orientation.  Fissures look can appear like maps of lakes and streams, sometimes branching from a large central furrow.

Always consult a dentist to eliminate more serious diseases of the tongue says Marietta dentist, Kirk Kimmerling DDS.