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Geographic Tongue

What is Geographic tongue?

Geographic tongue is an inflammatory condition in which a map-like patch appears on the surface of your tongue. There are smooth red patches that have raised margins that could be yellow, white, or grey color. The reason that this condition is called geographic tongue is that the pattern resembles a mountain ridge. It is a benign condition that has many other names like migratory glossitis, benign inflammatory glossitis, and erythema migrans among others. Approximately three percent of the world population suffers from this medical condition, but the percentage could be higher because many people do not realize that they have geographic tongue. It can affect people of all ages, gender, and race but is seen more in women than men and is more active in adults than children.

Symptoms of Geographic Tongue

There are no unusual symptoms that associate with geographic tongue and you need not have a bad taste in your mouth or feel itchy. Your tongue may become sensitive to certain foods like hot spices and then you will have a stinging feeling. The patchy appearance of your tongue is the most common symptom. While you have this condition, your tongue will continue to change in appearance continually but on the edges and top surface of your tongue are affected. The most visible sign or symptoms of geographic tongue are the cracks on your tongue, the pinkish or white bumps which cause to have a bumpy surface, and the discoloration.

Causes

What exactly causes geographic tongue is not known, but research says that many times heredity plays a big part in developing this oral condition. There are also triggers that can set off the geographic tongue that includes:

  • Hypersensitivity or allergic reaction to specific factors like tobacco, food, or drinks
  • Appearing during stressful times, hormonal changes, or illnesses
  • It could run in the family
  • Suffering from asthma or eczema
  • Vitamin B deficiencies
  • Using products such as mouthwash, toothpaste, and chewing gum with a strong flavor

Treatment

There are no specific home remedies, cures, or treatments for a person suffering from geographic tongue because most of the time it will fade away without any treatment at all. You also cannot completely cure geographic tongue. There are times that a person is not even aware of this medical condition, so they do not seek any medical treatment. If you know that your tongue is becoming sensitive to certain foods you want to make sure that you avoid any foods that cause this sensitivity. If you notice it when you are stressed out you need to find a way to cope with your stress such as doing yoga or meditation. If you are suffering from tender tongue symptoms, your physician may prescribe a steroid ointment for you. Antihistamines are generally prescribed for any burning sensations that you might be experiencing with geographic tongue.

If you are subject to having episodes of geographical tongue you could start to journal your condition to see when the outbreaks happen and how long they last along with what could be potential triggers. It helps you to know what you can do to help prevent them from happening so often such as avoiding spicy foods, acidic beverages, and watch your stress level.

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Geographic Tongue
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