Geographic Tongue – Pictures, Treatment, Causes

You may wonder why it is called geographic tongue. Many questions will linger in your mind as you first encounter these words. Honestly, I too was surprise when I first heard this. Many thoughts will enter your mind and you may feel confused about it. You may think of places in the map or search it on Google map. The amazing twist for this is- this is one kind of a disease.

What is Geographic Tongue?

Benign Migratory Glossitis is commonly known as geographic tongue or wandering rashes of the tongue. It is an inflammatory disorder on the dorsal surface of the tongue characterized by numerous and continually changing areas of loss and regrowth of the filiform papillae. Its appearance is like a map and with a similarity of an archipelago because of the irregular patches present. It widely affects our population about 2-3%. The good thing is it doesn’t represent oral cancer (sigh relief!). The person affected may feel burning sensation in his tongue and there is a little belief that there is no cure for this inflammation. Studies are still on going for this.

This is a harmless condition and the lesions usually heal one at a time and moves to other parts of your tongue. It causes some discomforts sometimes. It is common in women with higher rates of manifestations of signs and symptoms. They become more sensitive to hot and spicy foods.

Geographic Tongue Causes

It has been reported that there is no known cause for this condition. Experts have been noted that it is connected with human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DR5, HLA-DRW6 and HLA-Cw6. Also a connection in polygenic mode of inheritance in families has been reported. The risk factors and causes include:

  • Lack of vitamin B has been considered
  • Family history
  • Excessive intake of hot and spicy foods
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Having a fissured or deep grooves in the tongue
  • Having a parafunctional habit of the tongue
  • Experiencing psychological stress
  • Loss of papillae in the tongue
  • There is also a little evidence with person experienced psoriasis in the past
  • Using some toothpaste that contains much mint
  • Being so stress out
  • Eating diet high in refined sugars
  • Genetic anomaly is also being studied

Geographic Tongue Symptoms

These are the usual signs and symptoms of that an affected person manifested.

  • An islet-appearance in the surface of the tongue
  • Red, smooth and sore lesion seen in the tongue
  • Burning pain felt in the tongue
  • Red patches move from different surface of the tongue
  • Discomforts felt during eating of hot and spicy foods
  • Tenderness in the tongue is noted
  • Having a blotchy appearance of the tongue
  • Cracks are also noted in the tongue

Diagnosis & Treatment

Diagnosing this condition depends on the manifestations of the patient since this is connected with other oral conditions. They will based it on the migratory patterns manifested by the person. Biopsy is also done to distinguished glossitis from any other conditions.

The treatment modalities of this condition include:

  • Prescribe medications like corticosteroids, antihistamine, anxiolytics and topical anaesthetics are used to relieve the symptoms
  • Steroid mouth gel is also used to rinse the tongue and relieved the discomforts
  • Pain relievers is also administered
  • Oral rinses is used to clean and treat the pain and sensitivity
  • Avoid any irritating foods so that sensitivity may not worsen

Seeking Immediate Medical Intervention

Immediate medical response is needed if these signs and symptoms may occur:

  • If you experienced the pain and sensitivity for more than 10-14 days
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • You face problems in eating, chewing, swallowing and speaking
  • The surface of your tongue is very swollen

Geographic Tongue Home Remedies

Having a home remedy plan is very essential when one of your family members is affected with this condition. This is also an alternative way to relieve all the discomforts that the person is feeling. As the primary caretaker, you should take note all of this:

  • Separate all the hot and spicy foods in your food storage area
  • Avoid all products that contains tobacco (If the person is a smoker)
  • Instruct all family members not to smoke inside the house premises
  • Do not let the affected person used toothpaste that contains tartar-control additives
  • Have the person eat healthy and nutritious foods so that there immunity can be boosted
  • Used over the counter pain relievers if the person experience sudden pain
  • Have a time management to save time and effort
  • Eat foods high in vitamin B to supplement the lacking
  • Avoid excessive alcohol consumption or eliminate it totally
  • Trace down the family history of your family to have an idea of what other conditions is being associated

Pictures of Geographic Tongue

Below are the images, photos of geographic tongue

geographic tongue burns

Image 1 – diabetesadvocacy

geographic tongue pic

geographic tongue pictures

geographic tongue images

Geographic Tongue Pictures 2

Image 5




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