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Geographic Tongue

Geographic Tongue

Published on: - By: Carlos Brian Hernandez

After a long week at work, the weekend is finally here; this week has been more stressful than previous weeks. At the end everything went well, the contract was accepted and negotiations have been closed. You are looking forward to a restaurant invitation; your friends have recommended you this restaurant for months and they were not lying to you; the food at Bar Isabel is great!

To begin you and your friends order “Grilled Asparagus, Chorizo Verde, Tomatillo, Marcona Almonds & Mahon Sauce”, this is something exquisite a new dish for your palate. One of your friend’s orders: “Smoked Sweetbreads, Raw Tuna, Spicy Pickled Green Tomato & Brown Butter”, another one orders: “Cumbrae's Ribeye & Chimichurri”, in your case you order: “Gooseneck Barnacles, Artichokes, Lemon-Garlic Butter”. As dinner progresses your friends notice something wrong, something is wrong with your tongue. You excuse yourself from the table and head to the restaurant, indeed there is something wrong with your tongue. The next day you visit the doctor and she provides you the following diagnosis: Geographic Tongue.

What is a Geographic Tongue?

Geographic Tongue is a condition in which the tongue has a “map-like” appearance on the upper surface and on the sides. In some cases the condition is not only located in the tongue, but also the in areas of the mouth. This disease, even though it looks painful or the fact it has been associated with cancer; the disease itself is actually harmless.

In many cases you may be unaware you have geographic tongue. As mention, this disease is painless; in most cases only 10% of patients with the disease actually feel discomfort, pain, or a burning sensation. In recent studies, surveys demostrate that this pathology affects about 3% of the population; today, some might even have this disease and not even know it. 

At the moment, scientists are still researching this disease, the causes and the symptoms. So far, scientists have associated the following diseases to geographic tongue:

  • Crohn’s Disease – a chronic inflammatory disease of the digestive tract. Causing abdominal pain and diarrhea, sometimes bloody and weight loss.
  • Fibromyalgia – syndrome that affects muscles and soft tissue. Causing muscle pain, fatigue, sleep problems and pain in tender points.
  • Toxins – 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 – Family history is associated with this disease.
  • Psoriasis – Skin disease – that causes skin cells to grow rapidly, creating thick white, red or silvery patches in the skin.

Medical Treatments for Geographic Tongue

No diagnostic is better, than the one a professional can give you. Your dentist or doctor can explain to you whether you have geographic tongue or another disease. Seeing your dentist or doctor is the best way to obtain a proper diagnostic, in most cases your doctor or dentist can determine if you have geographic tongue by your description of the symptoms and from examining your mouth and tongue. In most cases test will be applied to rule out other illness.

Usually pain or discomfort is not be felt with this disease and in the cases that pain is felt, it usually goes away by itself without the need of medications or treatment. However if pain persist, medication can help. Your dentist or doctor may prescribe:

  • Over the counter pain relievers

  • Mouth rinses with anesthetics

  • A Nutritional Plan

  • Corticosteroids (applied on your tongue)

  • Anti-Inflammatories

Please keep in mind that investigations are still being made. For a correct diagnostic and treatment option visit your doctor or dentist. The dentist in Sani Dental Group are train professional and can provide a proper diagnostic to any oral disease you may have. They can also explain to you if you need any special treatment, as sometimes you vitamin shoots or a specific nutritional plan may be required.

In your case after a visit to the dentist and in cooperation with you doctor, the cause for your geographic tongue was stress and an allergic reaction to sea food. Our doctors can provided you treatment options and after a few days your tongue was back to normal.

If you feel oral discomfort and need a professional call Sani Dental Group, we have years of experience and can provide you diagnostic and assistance; call toll Free 1-855-SANI-DDS or (928) 257-1307 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Carlos Brian Hernandez

Marketing Associate
Cal State San Bernardino Alumni

Disclaimer: All content shown in this blog and in any linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. Any recommendations are based on personal, not professional, opinion only. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern about their dental care and treatments, please contact us directly. For more information please read our Disclaimers and FAQ pages.

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