Geographic tongue

Geographic tongue is also known as benign migratory glossitis. The surface epithelium of the tongue has transient atrophy of the papillae and this causes these shiny patches. Sometimes it is caused by stress or spicy foods. Occasionally patients notice tongue irritation but many patients have no symptoms and just notice the unusual appearance.

Physicians will ask questions about dermatitis, diabetes, anemia and other conditions but once those have been ruled out, no therapy other than reassurance is necessary

(photo credit to consultant live)


Anonymous said…
Does this condition eventually go away on it's own?
Toni Brayer MD said…
Anon: Yes. It comes and goes and that is why it is called "migratory".
Anonymous said…
Please, please, please can someone help. I have had geographic tongue since i was a child (I'm nearly 40) and while all the medics, experts and websites say it isn't painful - that's not true. My tongue is never entirely clear, and is usually somewhere between uncomfortable and sheer agony. I have tried Vitamin B & Zinc. No effect. I've tried scrubbing my tongue twice a day - no joy. I've tried various mouthwashes - no joy. I never eat crisps as they kick it off within an hour. It is currently so painful that I'm sat at home with my tongue hanging out (the cool air helps, but i look and feel ridiculous!). It's agony if I wake up in the night and my tongue has stuck to the roof of my mouth. Everything i eat burns like crazy, and I am just so sick of it. Any ideas out there?
Anonymous said…
I have had geographic tongue since i was a teenager. The pain was unbearable. It burned when i ate citric fruits but also even milder foods like bananas, steak, potatoes etc. When i was in my early 30's i started to take a prenatal vitamin everyday plus fish oil (liquid form). After a few months my symptoms improved. I could eat apples and bananas and mild oranges. It has now been about 6 years that i have been taking these vitamins and fish oil and i am almost symptom free. i can now eat grapefruit, oranges, lemons...anything/everything. It has completely helped me. But if i go off of my fish oil and vitamins or just one of the two my symptoms reappear within 2 weeks. Then once i go back on my oil and vitamins they disappear quite quickly again. So as long as i stick to these vitamins and oil i seem to have no burning tongue (or very rare) and no marks either. Just wanted to share in hopes i can help someone else out there living with such pain. It takes a while to build these nutrients in your system but once you do you will see so much improvement.

Darren said…
Very interesting post about Geographic tongue, in these days tongue pain is more common and people have to try to be careful with their health, for example I unfortunately spend much money in buying generic viagra only because I need it and well Im close to be a senior citizen.
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