Geographic Tongue

It sounds strange, but what is it? Geographic tongue is a condition that’s characterized by patches or lesions that appear, often without warning, on the top surface of the tongue. It’s called “geographic tongue” because it looks geographical – it resembles islands that appear red and rimmed with white. They’re smooth, very much unlike the usual surface of the tongue. And they look pretty scary.

The good news is that geographic tongue isn’t all that painful, and it won’t really make you sick. If you have a bit of discomfort, you can usually treat it by avoiding alcohol, tobacco, and spicy foods. Any discomfort you have can usually be treated by using over-the-counter medications.

The condition is easily diagnosed simply by examining the tongue. It’s not usually harmful, but if you’re worried, simply come in and see your dental provider. Chances are that geographic tongue will resolve on its own, but it’s always better to be safe if you think there’s something problematic about the appearance of your tongue.

Text Copyright © 2015 Louis K. Cheung DDS PS – All rights reserved. Images used under license from Dear Doctor, Inc.