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Doctor insights on: Geographic Tongue

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Geographic Tongue (Overview)

Geographic tongue is a relatively benign abnormality of the dorsal surface of the tongue, in which the tongue is fissured and thus appears like a geographic map--hence the name. The exact cause(s) is unknown, and treatments are symptom based as no known cure exists.


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What causes geographic tongue?

What causes geographic tongue?

Unknown: Geographic tongue is a benign condition where parts of the tongue swell and other parts become smooth, leading to a MAP like appearance. The cause is unknown. ...Read more

Geographic Tongue (Overview)

Geographic tongue is a relatively benign abnormality of the dorsal surface of the tongue, in which the tongue is fissured and thus appears like a geographic map--hence the name. The exact cause(s) is unknown, and treatments are symptom based as no known cure exists.


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If you are healthy but get a geographic tongue, does that mean you will get sick?

Not necessarily: Geographic tongue is when the tongue appears like a MAP with darker and lighter area, areas where the papillae or crypts (mountain and valleys) vary. Most of the time, it is normal, get a general checkup including baseline blood testing, particularly, a cbc. ...Read more

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What is geographic tongue and what causes it?

What is geographic tongue and what causes it?

Lesions on tongue: Geographic tongue is a marvelous, descriptive name for one of the most common medical conditions of the tongue. It looks like several large, red, slightly depressed, unusually smooth patches on the surface of the tongue. Often the red areas are bordered with distinct white bands. The sharp borders of these irregularly shaped lesions give the surface of the tongue the appearance of a map. ...Read more

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How do I cure geographic tongue?

Geographic tongue: Geographic tongue is benign and harmless and requires no treatment. Personally I have not had one patient in over 35 years of practice complain about it. Most are even unaware they have it. A few just want reassurance there is no concern. There are some treatments but their efficacy is uncertain. If necessary discuss this with a local Oral Surgeon or Oral Pathologist. ...Read more

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How to cure geographic tongue?

How to cure geographic tongue?

Can't: There is no cure for geographic tongue. Most cases of geographic tongue (aka erythema migrans, and benign migratory glossitis) do not have any symptoms so it's not treated at all. Occasionally you will see a patient who has a burning sensation in which case the dentist can prescribe topical anti-inflammatory agents. ...Read more

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How do you get rid of geographic tongue?

Steroid can help: Steroid paste can bring down some of the swelling in geographic tongue. No treatment is needed though since this is a benign condition. ...Read more

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Just started getting geographic tongue, is this permanent or can it go away for periods and manifest during triggers

Just started getting geographic tongue, is this permanent or can it go away for periods and manifest during triggers

Geographic tongue: Lesions of geographic tongue fluctuate, getting better or worse, disappearing, moving locations. It is considered essentially to be psoriasis of the tongue. There are topical treatments that help improve the condition. However the condition is unpredictable so it's hard to say whether it will eventually disappear completely. Hot drinks, stress and spicy foods tend to flare geographic tongue. ...Read more

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How can I prevent having a geographic tongue?

How can I prevent having a  geographic tongue?

Steroid can help: Steroid paste can bring down some of the swelling in geographic tongue. No treatment is needed though since this is a benign condition. ...Read more

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What are the risks of having geographic tongue? Are there any health risks involved by having geographic tongue? Should i be worried? .

What are the risks of having geographic tongue? Are there any health risks involved by having geographic tongue?  Should i be worried?

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No worries: The condition is usually chronic & often occurs after eating hot/spicy foods, or during times of stress, illness, or hormonal surges (ie. In women just before menstruating). The new england journal of medicine reports a connection between celiac disease. There is no known cure or treatment for geographic tongue, avoiding foods that bring it on can help. ...Read more

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What's a geographic tongue?

Anatomy: It is an anatomic variation in the surface pattern and texture of the tongue. It is considere benign and is not treated. ...Read more

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How to cure geographic tongue?

Can't: There is no cure for geographic tongue. Most cases of geographic tongue (aka erythema migrans, and benign migratory glossitis) do not have any symptoms so it's not treated at all. Occasionally you will see a patient who has a burning sensation in which case the dentist can prescribe topical anti-inflammatory agents. ...Read more

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What causes geographic tongue?

Unknown: Geographic tongue is a benign condition where parts of the tongue swell and other parts become smooth, leading to a MAP like appearance. The cause is unknown. ...Read more

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How to cure geographic tongue?

No cure: There is no cure. Only treatment of symptoms. This is a benign lesion and quite common. Some people need to avoid certain foods that are too spicy or salty. Others may benefit from a medicated mouthwash, but in the majority of cases, no treatment at all is neccessary. ...Read more

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How do I cure geographic tongue?

Geographic tongue: Geographic tongue is benign and harmless and requires no treatment. Personally I have not had one patient in over 35 years of practice complain about it. Most are even unaware they have it. A few just want reassurance there is no concern. There are some treatments but their efficacy is uncertain. If necessary discuss this with a local Oral Surgeon or Oral Pathologist. ...Read more

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What can cause geographic tongue?

Normal: It's also called migratory glossitis. It has a slight female predilection. There are two types of structures on the tongue. Filliform and fungiform papillae. The former tend to wear away faster than the later. There is no worry about 1-2% of the population have it. Not a contagious condition and no treatment is necessary. That's the quick answer. Don't worry about it as there is no treatment. ...Read more

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Can geographic tongue come and go?

Yes: That is why it is referred to a geographic tongue it takes on a different ' geographic ' appearance routinely as the papillae of the tongue change. ...Read more

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Does geographic tongue stay forever?

Does geographic tongue stay forever?

It can : Geographic tongue is a harmless condition that does not need any treatment, so do not worry about it. It can come and go over time. ...Read more

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How long does geographic tongue last?

Unknown: The good thing about geographic tongue is that it is completely harmless. Unfortunately there is no treatment for it. It will resolve spontaneously, but this may take months to years. Avoid irritating foods such as pineapple or citrus fruits. ...Read more

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Does geographic tongue last for life?

Does geographic tongue last for life?

Depends on the cause: Geographic tongue is also known as benign migratory glossitis. It is associated with things as diverse as candidiasis, psoriasis, reiter syndrome, lichen planus, leukoplakia, systemic lupus erythematosus, herpes simplex virus, and drug reaction. Some of these conditions are temporary, others lifelong. "migratory" also means that it comes and goes, even if the cause is persistent. ...Read more

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Do children outgrow geographic tongue?

Do children outgrow geographic tongue?

Geographic Tongue: As you know, it is a benign condition, no treatment needed.
There is some association with atopy, exacerbation by stress or by hot or spicy food, anemia, saborrheic dermatitis, diabetes mellitus or pustular psoriasis.

It may disappear over time but it is impossible to predict if or when this may happen. ...Read more

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How can you know if geographic tongue?

Not necessarily: Geographic tongue is when the tongue appears like a MAP with darker and lighter area, areas where the papillae or crypts (mountain and valleys) vary. Most of the time, it is normal, get a general checkup including baseline blood testing, particularly, a cbc. ...Read more

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Does geographic tongue usually go away?

Varies instead: Most patients with geographic tongue have it most of their lives, although the extent and location may vary from time to time. It is benign and nothing to be concerned about. If you have what you believe to be geographic tongue, make sure your own dentist confirms that diagnosis as there may be other similar looking lesions that require treatment or at least observation over time. ...Read more

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Will my geographic tongue ever go away?

No: Geographic tongue is a benign condition. It miight move over your tongue and can look different for time to time, but is doesn't really go away.
But don't worry about. It is not a problem and does not need any treatment. ...Read more

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Does geographic tongue persist for life?

Does geographic tongue persist for life?

Geographic tongue: Geographic tongue is a benign condition and nobody knows it's cause for sure. However, because geographic tongue tends to run in families, genetics may be a common link. The size and location of the bald patches usually varies over time and may come and go. The vast majority of patients have this chronic condition last long term and often a lifetime. ...Read more

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Does geographic tongue persist for life?

Does geographic tongue persist for life?

Yes: The physical signs of geographic tongue tend to come & go over time. However, the condition never goes away completely. There can be extended periods when you don't really see or notice anything, but that doesn't mean it's gone. For the vast majority of people, there really aren't any serious symptoms--the tongue just looks a bit weird. Alcohol, heat, and spicy foods might burn, but it's harmless. ...Read more

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Can geographic tongue eventually go away?

Yes and No: Geographic tongue seems to appear, disappear and reappear at randon intervals.
You may be stuck with it for a long time. ...Read more

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Will geographic tongue eventually go away?

Not completely: I have noticed that in my older patients, symptoms decrease in duration and severity. ...Read more

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Does geographic tongue go away on its own?

Sometimes: Geograpphic tongue can come and go over time. Don't worry about this. It is a benign condition and doe snot need treatment. ...Read more

Mouth (Definition)

Mouth (mouth) " n. Pl. Mouths 1. A. The body opening through which an animal takes in food. B. The cavity lying at the upper end of the alimentary canal, bounded on the outside by the lips and inside by the oropharynx and containing in higher vertebrates the tongue, gums, and teeth. C. This cavity regarded as the source of sounds and speech. D. The opening to any cavity or canal ...Read more