Encyclopedia Home / G / Geographic tongue

Geographic tongue

  • Definition

    Geographic tongue is a map-like appearance of your tongue due to irregular patches on its surface.


    Alternative Names

    Patches on the tongue; Tongue - patchy; Benign migratory glossitis; Glossitis - benign migratory


    Causes, incidence, and risk factors

    The specific cause of geographic tongue is unknown, although vitamin B deficiency may be involved. Other causes may include irritation from hot or spicy foods, or alcohol. The condition appears to be less common in smokers.

    The pattern on the surface of the tongue may change very rapidly. This pattern change occurs when there is a loss of the tiny, finger-like projections, called papillae, on the tongue's surface. This makes areas of the tongue flat. These areas are said to be "denuded." Denuded areas may persist for more than a month.


Images

Tongue