Have you ever experienced the appearance of spots that look like a collection of islands on a map on the tongue? If so, the sign that your tongue is experiencing inflammation of the tongue is called the geographical tongue.
What is geographical tongue?
Geographical tongue is an inflammatory condition of the tongue which causes the lesion to form like an island on a map. Lesions can appear on the surface or side of the tongue. It usually looks irregular and sometimes has a white border on the edges that clarifies the shape. Sometimes the surface of the tongue looks smooth without papilla on it and still looks like it forms something.
Lesions often heal in one area, but then move to different parts of the tongue. In some cases, this condition can appear in other areas of the mouth. This condition can also appear in all age ranges and sexes. However, it is usually more common in women than men.
Causes of geographical tongue
It is not yet known exactly why a person has inflammation of the tongue with this condition. Some researchers attribute it to other conditions such as psoriasis.
However, more research is needed to ensure that these two things are related. Some scientists detect two potential factors that can cause this inflammation of the tongue. The first is a fissured tongue, or a condition in which the tongue has a groove along its surface. The second is genetic factors because this condition can be reduced from one generation to the next.
Geographical tongue signs and symptoms
This disease does not always cause symptoms. Some people are not even aware of the changes that occur on their tongue. The symptoms that occur usually include:
- Red lesions on the surface of the tongue that feel smooth form like an irregular island.
- There is a white or bright border slightly raised around the edge of the lesion.
- Lesions consisting of various sizes and shapes.
- Lesions can move from one area of the tongue to another in a matter of days or weeks.
- Tongues that are sensitive to certain substances such as toothpaste, mouthwash, sugar, hot, spicy or very sour foods that can cause discomfort or a burning sensation on the tongue or mouth.
These symptoms can last for one year without being detected. Some people also experience symptoms such as cracks on the surface of the tongue. This curve often feels painful and even irritates.
How do doctors diagnose geographical tongue?
Several ways are usually done to diagnose this condition, namely:
- Check the condition of the tongue, mouth and throat with the help of light from a flashlight or a special lamp.
- Check the condition of the entire tongue by asking you to move the tongue into various positions.
- Touch the tongue by touching it to check the texture or consistency of the tongue.
- Check for signs of infection such as fever or swollen lymph nodes in the neck.
How to treat geographical tongue?
Usually, the geographical tongue will heal by itself without certain treatment. However, if the symptoms worsen and do not disappear within a few weeks, then the treatment is usually done like:
- Painkillers and discomforts such as ibuprofen and naproxen sodium.
- Drugs prescribed by doctors to reduce inflammation such as corticosteroids that are applied directly to the tongue or antihistamine mouthwash.
- Avoiding irritating foods becomes more severe such as foods that are too hot, spicy, and sour.
- Take B vitamins and Zinc supplements.
Although geographical tongues may look alarming, but the condition of inflammation of the tongue does not bode certain health problems and is also not associated with certain infections or cancers. However, it is better to keep your tongue healthy by not forgetting to clean it with a special tongue cleanser to help prevent various problems with the tongue.
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