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Doctor insights on: What Is Geographic Tongue And What Causes It

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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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Geographic Tongue (Definition)

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 ...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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What causes geographic tongue? Is it permanent?

What causes geographic tongue? Is it permanent?

Not really known...: There are several theories that have been proposed for the cause of benign migratory glossitis, aka geographic tongue. Because the condition looks microscopically similar to the pattern observed in psoriasis, some oral pathologists believe that there may be a common autoimmune cause. ...Read more

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Are there any theories or speculations as to what causes geographic tongue?

Are there any theories or speculations as to what causes geographic tongue?

Geographic Tongue: Geographic tongue occurs when parts of the tongue are missing layers of small bumps called papillae. They normally cover the entire upper layer of your tongue. Why do you lose these papillae with geographic tongue? Nobody knows for sure. However, because geographic tongue tends to run in families, genetics may be a common link. ...Read more

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Are there any speculations as to what causes geographic tongue? Any modern studies?

Are there any speculations as to what causes geographic tongue? Any modern studies?

Cause unknown: While the cause is unknown some have speculated that there is a link to some other skin conditions like psoriasis. Some speculate that it is a low level allergy reaction. ...Read more

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What causes geographic tongue? My dentist told me I have geographic tongue, but said it was not a big deal. Is this caused by me not taking care of my oral health? Should i be brushing my tongue? .

What causes geographic tongue? My dentist told me I have geographic tongue, but said it was not a big deal. Is this caused by me not taking care of my oral health? Should i be brushing my tongue?


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It's harmless: Geographic tongue affects about 2% of the us population. It is a harmless alteration of the cells on the surface of the tongue. It's cause is unknown, but it can run in families so it probably has a genetic component. Geographic tongue is not a result of poor oral hygiene. Brushing the tongue is an important part of oral hygiene especially to prevent halitosis. ...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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Are there any possible causes of geographic tongue?

Are there any possible causes of geographic tongue?

Come and go, but...: Tongue is known to have many variations with pigmenting, size, appearance, & not always due to disease.Other causes of tongue that looks patchy include: lichen planus (responds to steroids), white sponge nevus (familial, benign, permanent), smoker's leukoplakia (2% risk of cancer, needs biopsy), hairy leukoplakia (due to epsteinbarr virus), warts (due to papillomavirus), "thrush" (rx antifungals). ...Read more

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Does anyone know anything about geographic tongue causes?

Does anyone know anything about geographic tongue causes?

Usually painless: True geographic tongue is painless and requires no treatment. If your tongue is irritated then something is irritating it. This could be a medication, cigarette smoke, a certain toothpaste. If irritated talk to your doctor or dentist, or if persistent, an ent. ...Read more