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Geographic tongue

Geographic tongue is quite common, and it mostly affects the sides and top of the tongue. In some cases, it affects the under and the tongue's surface. This condition causes the tongue to develop irregular, smooth red areas similar to the outline of a map. Wavy white lines may also be close to the red patches.

After a couple of weeks or months, the position of the red patches and lines may change.

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Why causes geographic tongue?

This condition occurs because of how the old surface of the tongue replaces itself. The upper layer of the tongue doesn't come off evenly, while in some parts, the skin comes off too early, leaving red, sore areas like a scratch on the skin. Sometimes, the skin remains in place for too long and looks white.

The red areas, which are usually thin, may become infected with candida (thrush) and feel sore.

Who can it affect?

Geographic tongue affects all age groups, and some people first notice it during childhood. It isn't a transmittable condition but can run in families. This condition isn't an infection.

What worsens a geographic tongue?

Since the red patches are raw and thin, they are usually painful when you eat acidic foods like citrus fruits or spicy foods like chillies. However, these foods do not make the condition worse. Certain foods may make the condition sore or uncomfortable.

Do I need special tests?

No, you do not. Your dental team or doctor can diagnose this condition by examining your tongue.

What is the treatment for geographic tongue?

No treatment is available for geographic tongue. In some cases, treatment for thrush can ease your discomfort, such as miconazole gel available at the pharmacy.

A geographic tongue doesn't become cancerous, but you have to learn to live with it. This may include checking for the foods that worsen it and avoiding them.

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What should I do if it becomes worse?

You should visit your dentist or doctor, who may refer you to a hospital.

If you notice red patches on your tongue or other signs of geographic tongue, visit McKennell Dental Practice for professional dental care. Call us today on 020 7834 8802 to make an appointment with our experienced dentist.