Geographic Tongue - Definition, Causes

Geographic Tongue (Benign Migratory Glossitis)

Geographic tongue or Benign Migratory Glossitis which manifests itself in the form of a lump on the tongue, with stains or patches of various sizes, is generally a painless condition, geographic tongue is seen in 2-3 percent of the population. Geographic tongue is more common in women. Although it can be seen from childhood, it is more noticeable in the population over the age of 40. Stress, vitamin deficiency, diabetes, allergies and hormonal changes are also thought to cause geographic tongue.

Geographic Tongue - Definition, Causes
With the disappearance of taste buds in some parts of the tongue, bright red, yellowish whitish different lines and shapes can form on the surface of the tongue, and since this situation resembles geographical shapes such as the archipelago, the tongue takes the name geographic tongue. These lines and shapes are mostly seen on the back and lateral surfaces of the tongue. These shapes may change over time, sometimes a few weeks and sometimes months. Small deep hollow areas can be seen on the tongue surface.

Synonyms of Geographic Tongue

  • benign migratory glossitis
  • BMG
  • erythema areata migrans
  • erythema migrans
  • geographic stomatitis
  • wandering rash of the tongue

Geographic Tongue Risk Factors

Stress, vitamin deficiency, diabetes, allergies and hormonal changes are also considered to be the causes, but none of these factors are strictly related to geographic tongue. There are publications indicating that there is a relationship between geographic tongue and psoriasis. It has been found that geographic tongue is more common in psoriasis patients. Some sources view geographic tongue as an oral form of psoriasis. Geographic tongue formation; Smoking, eating spicy or acidic foods, eating hot food, chewing toothpaste, mouthwash and tobacco, consumption of genetically modified and greenhouse fruits and vegetables can be triggers.

People with a family history and a fissured tongue have a higher risk of seeing a geographic tongue.

Smoking and tobacco use can aggravate the symptoms!

The geographic tongue is usually noticed during routine oral examination. It can often be confused with malignant lesions by patients. During the diagnosis, it should be distinguished from other diseases that give symptoms in the mouth such as leukoplakia, lichen planus, erythematous candida.

Geographic Tongue Is Not A Life Threatening Situation!

It is not a dangerous lesion, it is not contagious, it mostly heals without any pain or discomfort and requires no treatment. However, sometimes sensitivity to spicy / spicy, acidic, hot foods and beverages, especially a burning sensation may occur. The use of cigarettes and other tobacco products can also aggravate the picture.

Geographic Tongue Symptoms

The geographic tongue symptoms can be listed as follows:
Patches in more than one area, patches of various shapes and sizes, a raised border seen in white color, patches that develop, heal and go away on different parts of the tongue over a period of time, and patches that change in length over a period of time can be seen. Apart from these, it generally happens during contact with consumed foods or other substances.

Treatment of Geographic Tongue

Geographic tongue treatment is symptomatic. Oral pain relievers can be given in the form of mouthwash in certain cases, vitamin B and zinc supplements are recommended. Smoking should be stopped, spicy or acidic foods, salty foods, very hot foods and drinks should not be consumed. Instead of a toothpaste with intense aroma, pastes produced for more sensitive gums should be preferred.

Geographic tongue may disappear over time, but it is impossible to predict if or when this will happen. It may disappear completely in a period of life and then reappear. Care must be taken against triggering factors.

If left untreated, most geographic tongues cleanse on their own without medical intervention. Many patients are not even aware that they have a geographic tongue.

Even after treatment, the symptoms of geographic tongue may return after a while. Treatments for geographic tongue ​​include; mouthwash, pain relievers, mouthwash, vitamin B and zinc supplements. In general, food, alcohol and smoking that may cause irritation in the tongue,

Geographic Tongue Is Not A Sign Of Any Cancer Or Serious Illness!

There are no major complications associated with the geographic tongue. As stated above, there are no known diseases or cancers caused by geographic tongue. Due to its appearance, geographic tongue can cause some people to experience anxiety or other psychological complications. In the presence of geographic tongue, never try to apply a home treatment without consulting your doctor.

Murat Enoz, MD, Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgeon - ENT Doctor in Istanbul

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