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.
Geographic Tongue. Geographic tongue is a harmless condition affecting the surface of your tongue. The tongue is normally covered with tiny, pinkish-white bumps (papillae). With geographic tongue, patches on the surface of the tongue are missing papillae and appear as smooth, red "islands, " often with slightly raised borders. This condition can run in famines and is thus genetic.

Related Questions

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...
Geographic Tongue. It could be genetic, it can also be a sign of trauma, possibly associated with sleep apnea ( a whole 'nother keetle of fish), or other conditions. If it is not causing you discomfort i would not worry but have your dentist evaluate and ask some questions about the possibility of sleep apnea, or others. Also keep the grooves clean by brushing your tongue well. It will avoid infection and odor. Read more...

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...

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

Yes. It is a mild fungus condition that is benign migratory glossitis -nothing to worry about -really a variation of normal and not true pathology no treatment indicated. Read more...
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...

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? .

Several questions... Some people have geographic tongue. We don't know exactly what causes it, but it may be related to vitamins or diet. Like a birthmark you shouldn't worry about it, your significant other won't catch it, and good hygiene won't make it go away. Unless it hurts, no treatment is needed: chock it up as character. Yes, you should brush your tongue gently; get a tongue brush & talk 2 your hygienist. Read more...
Don't worry. Geographic tongue is an innate characteristic of some people. It has no impact on your oral health. You may notice the patches changing shape form time to time, again no worries. Brushing your tongue is a good idea, particularly for halitosis reasons. Read more...
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...
Harmless. Geographic tongue is a harmless condition affecting the surface of your tongue. The tongue is normally covered with tiny, pinkish-white bumps (papillae). With geographic tongue, patches on the surface of the tongue are missing papillae and appear as smooth, red areas. The cause is unknown & nothing to do with what you did or didn't do. Using a tongue scraper daily is a good idea anyway. Read more...
Congenital. Geographic tongue is something you are born with. It is a benign condition , not serious.It comes and goes and varies is severity. Eating some food may cause a burning sensation, especially vinegar based salad dressings. The incidence and severity seem to decrease with age. It is worse looking than problematic. If you brush your tongue, make sure the brush is super soft! Read more...
See below. Geographic tongue is usually seen with digestive problems..It is not a big deal but since you mention your oral health is not the best i suspect you should also go over your diet and maybe make some changes such as eating more fruits and vegies and take supplements. Read more...
Genetics. Somewhere back in your genealogy one of your ancestors also had geographic tongue. You most likely will pass it onto someone else. Brushing your tongue is a good idea to help prevent the buildup of bacterial colonies that cause bad breath--but it won't cause your geographic tongue to go away. Read more...

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...