• Alternative Names

    Tongue inflammation; Tongue infection; Smooth tongue; Glossodynia; Burning tongue syndrome


    The goal of treatment is to reduce inflammation. Most people do not need to go to the hospital for treatment unless tongue swelling is severe.

    • Good oral hygiene is important. Brush your teeth thoroughly at least twice a day and floss at least once a day.
    • Antibiotics, antifungal medications, or other antimicrobials may be prescribed if the glossitis is due to an infection.
    • Dietary changes and supplements are used to treat anemia and nutritional deficiencies.
    • Avoid irritants (such as hot or spicy foods, alcohol, and tobacco) to reduce any tongue discomfort.

    Support Groups

    Expectations (prognosis)

    Glossitis usually responds well to treatment if the cause of inflammation is removed or treated. This disorder may be painless, or it may cause tongue and mouth discomfort. In some cases, glossitis may result in severe tongue swelling that blocks the airway.

    • Airway blockage
    • Difficulties with speaking, chewing, or swallowing
    • Discomfort

    Calling your health care provider

    Call your health care provider if:

    • Symptoms of glossitis last longer than 10 days
    • Tongue swelling is severe
    • Breathing, speaking, chewing, or swallowing is difficult

    Blockage of the airway is an emergency situation that needs immediate medical attention.