Geographic Tongue Geographic Tongue
Geographic Tongue

What is a Geographic Tongue?

Geographic tongue is a common dental condition — it usually appears on the sides and top of the tongue and sometimes, under the surface of the tongue. In this condition, the tongue will develop red, irregular, and smooth areas which may look like an outline of the map. They are usually red patches next to the wavy white lines.

You might notice that the position of these white wavy lines and red patches changes after a few weeks or months.

Why does it happen?

It occurs because of the way the old surface of the tongue separates itself. The top layer of the skin of your tongue does not come off evenly, in some areas of the tongue, the skin comes away too early and leaves the area looking red and sore like a scratch.

In some other areas, the skin stays on too long and looks like white strips. Sometimes, the red areas can become infected with thrush (candida) because they are thin, and this can lead to soreness.

Thrush commonly occurs in the mouth.

Who does it affect?

Geographic tongue affects all age groups and you can notice it as a child. It is not contagious (meaning you can’t pass it to other people) and it is not an infection.

It can run in families.

What makes it worse?

Acidic foods and drinks and spicy foods, especially chillies worsen the symptoms because the areas of red patches are thin and raw. These foods do not make the condition worse, they just worsen the symptoms and with time, you will know the particular foods that make the condition worse or sore.

Do I need any special tests?

No, this dental problem is easily diagnosed just by looking at your tongue.

How is it treated?

For now, there are no treatments for this condition, and in cases where thrush develops, thrush treatment are given to the patients to ease the symptoms of thrush.

The drugs given include miconazole gel, which you can get at a pharmacy.

Geographic tongue can never lead to cancer, but you will have to learn how to live with it. You have to know the foods that worsen it and avoid them.

What should I do if it gets worse in any way?

In rare cases, it gets worse, and if it happens, you should meet with your dentist and tell him to refer you to a doctor or hospital.

For more information on geographic tongue, you can schedule an appointment with our doctors by calling 020 71834091. We will be glad to help.

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