What is Geographic tongue? Check out pictures, symptoms, treatment and causes to learn about this health condition. Geographic tongue is an oral health disorder that affects the tongue’s surface. The Tongue is normally coated with pinkish-white small bumps, called papillae. In people with geographic tongue symptoms, the areas of the tongue surface are missing papillae and instead appears dark, reddish, with sleek patches and in some case with borders that are slightly raised.
Geographic tongue is a harmless and benign condition, though it might be socially embarrassing. It is not a symptom of an infection. If you are wondering whether geographic tongue causes cancer or not? fortunately, there has not been any report regarding geographic tongue causing cancer. In most cases, a biopsy is not necessary to establish the diagnosis because of the identifiable clinical findings.
Geographic tongue is a rare condition. It can occur at any time in life, including childhood. It affects only 3% population with more women than men. It can occur at any age but is more often seen in older adults.
Geographic tongue is not contagious and cannot be passed to anyone else. Occasionally, a similar type of lesions occurs in other oral areas, such as the palate, cheeks, under the tongue, or on the gums. Such lesions are known as geographic stomatitis.
Relationship between geographic tongue and psoriasis (a skin disease) has been medically reported. The geographic tongue was found to be more frequent in patients with psoriasis. Some consider geographic tongue an oral form of psoriasis.
Geographic Tongue Pictures, Symptoms, Treatment, Causes
Let’s look at geographic tongue definition, pictures, symptoms, causes, and treatment with the help of some geographic tongue pictures:
What is Geographic Tongue?
Geographic tongue is medically called “benign migratory glossitis” or “erythema migrans”. It is an inflammatory disorder that usually appears on the top surface and sides of the tongue. It is characterized by irregularly shaped red, map-like smooth swollen patches on the tongue.
Geographic Tongue Symptoms
Some people may remain asymptomatic for years. Often there are no geographic tongue symptoms other than weird texture, burning or irritation. The condition may worsen in women during the pregnancy or periods. The lesions are usually confined to the tongue but they sometimes arise elsewhere in the mouth or on the lips. When you look at geographic tongue pictures following are the most common geographic tongue symptoms:
- Red irregular pattern in the form of sleek patches or lesions on the top surface of the tongue.
- The map-like pattern changes its location and shape with time e.g. daily, weekly, monthly.
- Pain, discomfort or sensation of burning, particularly after taking hot, spicy or salty foods.
Geographic Tongue Pictures
If you are still confused about geographic tongue symptoms check out these geographic tongue pictures to see how it exactly look like:
As you can see from the geographic tongue pictures below, it can occur in various shapes, sizes, and colors. The appearance gets its characterized shape due to the loss of the papillae which are finger-like and mushroom shaped projections.
Geographic Tongue Causes
This disorder develops in about 3% of the population and occurs in any age, sex or race. But, it is seen a lot more in females than males and most often in adults.
The exact causes of geographic tongue are not known but the following factors have been linked with the condition:
- Psoriasis is a skin disease that causes skin cells to grow rapidly, creating thick white, red or silvery patches in the skin. Geographic tongue occurs more commonly in patients with psoriasis, especially pustular psoriasis.
- Crohn’s Disease is a chronic inflammatory disease of the digestive tract. Causing abdominal pain and diarrhea, sometimes bloody and weight loss.
- Fibromyalgia is syndrome that affects muscles and soft tissue. Causing muscle pain, fatigue, sleep problems and pain in tender points.
- Toxins is poisonous substances produced within living cells or organisms.
- Stress is an organism’s response to an environmental condition. Consider a positive or negative condition that can have an impact on a person’s mental and physical health.
- Genetics is believed to play a role as the family history is associated with this disease.
This condition is sometimes associated with diabetes, anemia, atopy (asthma and/or eczema) and stress. Some foods can also trigger the condition, particularly cheese. As mentioned earlier, association with the variation of the menstrual cycle suggests that the disorder might have the hormonal trigger in women. Some researchers believe that a deficiency of water-soluble vitamin is also associated with the condition.
Geographic Tongue Treatment
Geographic tongue is harmless condition and can resolve by itself with treatment. However, it is known to reoccur. There is no direct cure, except the evaluation and treatment of associated underlying medical condition causing such appearance of the tongue.
For a symtomatic relife, discomfort may be treated with a mouth gargle containing antiseptic and anesthetic agents. Topical corticosteroids may also be helpful for occasional use.
It is alwayed advised to visit dentist or doctor is to rule out a more serious problem. The doctor can diagnose geographic tongue and the underlaying condition causing it by examining your mouth and tongue. He or she may also require medical tests to rule out other conditions. He may prescribe you:
- Over-the-counter pain relievers
- Mouth rinses with anesthetic
- Corticosteroids applied directly on the tongue
- Zinc supplements
- A Nutritional Plan
Home Remedies for Geographic Tongue Treatment
Please find below some of the best natural home remedies for geographic tongue treatment, which you can use for treating this condition and to improve the look of the tongue:
Zinc supplements are known to be effective in this condition. Most of the time people who encounter geographic tongue have the zinc deficiency. Taking supplements with zinc work to relieve the symptoms by boosting body immune system.
Herbal tea preparations are also useful for the natural treatment of geographic tongue. Natural herbs like slippery elm, aloe vera, goldenseal, licorice, chamomile, and peppermint are helpful to resolve this condition. To prepare the herbal tea, boil one teaspoon of the herb for every cup of water and have it twice daily. Twenty to thirty drops of Echinacea herbal tea can help in giving pain relief experienced in this condition.
Geographic tongue patients need to change their lifestyle, diet and avoid hot and spicy foods. They should also avoid fruits that cause irritation. Quite tobacco smoking or chewing . Avoid toothpastes with additives, strong flavors or whitening agents.