Last modified on March 2021
With inputs from Dr.Sabha Faryal, General Physician & Emergency Medicine Specialist
– Geographic tongue is a disorder that gets its name from red patches on tongue that resemble a map-like structure on the surface. It is also called benign migratory glossitis.
– The exact geographic tongue causes are unknown. However, experts believe that genetic factors, young age, and conditions like fissured tongue can put you at a higher risk of developing the disorder.
– A patchy tongue can cause discomfort/ pain on side of the tongue. It can also increase your sensitivity to certain substances, such as sweets, salt, spices, etc.
– While it is not a serious condition, it is still crucial to get any red rash on tongue/ pain on side of tongue diagnosed by a dentist.
Chapter 1: What is a ‘geographic tongue’?
Geographic tongue is a disorder that gets its name from red patches on tongue that resemble a map-like structure on the surface. It is also called benign migratory glossitis.
While a normal tongue has small hair-like bumps (papillae) on the tongue, a geographic tongue does not have papillae and appears to have smooth, red dots on tongue. These painful bumps on tongue can heal in one area, and migrate to another part of the tongue.
While it isn’t a significant cause for concern, a patchy tongue can cause discomfort/ pain on side of the tongue. It can also increase your sensitivity to certain substances, such as sweets, salt, spices, etc.
Geographic tongue symptoms:
Common geographic tongue symptoms include:
- Red patchy tongue with white borders and painful bumps on tongue (top or side of the tongue)
- Frequent changes in shape, location, and size of red rash on tongue
- Discomfort/ pain on the tongue due to contact with certain substances, such as sweets, salt, spices, etc.
If left untreated, geographic tongue symptoms can persist for several days or months. Most often, it can go away on its own, but it can reappear on the tongue. While a geographic tongue is not a serious condition, it is still crucial to get any red rash on tongue/ pain on side of tongue diagnosed by a dentist. It’s understandable to be alarmed when you notice small red bumps on tongue. Try not to worry as it can be managed with suitable geographic tongue treatment plans.
In some cases, lesions on the tongue may indicate a serious underlying condition that needs to be addressed immediately. If painful bumps on tongue do not go away in 10 days, consult a dentist right away to get an accurate diagnosis. In any case, it is crucial to seek out proper medical care for painful bumps on tongue. Consulting a dentist can help you identify your underlying geographic tongue causes. Besides, performing a full-body health checkup regularly can help gain better understanding of your well-being. You can have an online consultation with a specialized medical expert on MFine, or you can book a comprehensive health package or a specific condition-based health package based on your lifestyle, diet, and existing conditions.
Consult a dentist anytime, anywhere in just 1 step!
Chapter 2: Geographic tongue causes in Indians- What are they?
The exact geographic tongue causes are unknown. Experts suggest that geographic tongue may be connected to lichen planus or psoriasis. However, there is insufficient research to prove these possibilities.
Risk factors for geographic tongue in kids and adults:
Factors that may make you more prone to developing red blisters on tongue include:
- Genetic factors: In some cases, a familial history of the disorder may cause recurring red dots on tongue
- Fissured tongue: Geographic tongue may also be more common in patients diagnosed with fissured tongue, a condition marked by cracks/ grooves on the surface of the tongue.
- While it can affect people of any age, geographic tongue is more common in young adults.
Complications of geographic tongue symptoms:
As previously mentioned, a geographic tongue does not pose any life-threatening problems to your health. However, anxiety about the disorder is quite common. This could be due to the appearance of a red, patchy tongue and how visible the rashes are.
It is imperative to understand your geographic tongue causes/ risk factors to effectively treat it. However, if you experience persistent symptoms, this may indicate an underlying condition that needs to be addressed. It is advisable to consult a dentist to get an accurate diagnosis of red blisters on tongue to effectively relieve it.
Consult your city’s top dentists online to evaluate your risk factors for developing geographic tongue symptoms
Chapter 3: Geographic tongue differential diagnosis- How is it performed in India?
Firstly, the doctor will want to know when you started experiencing a red patchy tongue. Your doctor will also want to understand your symptoms better by asking questions. The doctor may perform the diagnosis with a physical examination.
During the physical examination, they will:
- Thoroughly check your tongue and mouth
- Check for other signs of infection, to rule out other possibilities
In rare cases, the doctor may recommend you to perform lab tests to rule out the possibility of other disorders. Discuss with your doctor on the tests required for an accurate diagnosis.
Consult top dentists online to receive an accurate diagnosis for geographic tongue from the comfort of your home!
Chapter 4: Geographic tongue treatment options in India
This condition does not require a specific geographic tongue medicine. While it is a harmless condition, a red patchy tongue can cause pain and discomfort. Your doctor may suggest the following geographic tongue treatment options to help relieve the symptoms:
- Using pain medications: This can be useful in reducing discomfort caused by the patches on the tongue. However, consume geographic tongue medicine for pain under medical supervision only.
- Using anesthetic mouth rinse: Using an anesthetic mouth wash that has safe ingredients can provide soothing to your tongue. Discuss with the doctor about the direction for use.
- Using ointments/ cream: Medications that have anti-inflammatory properties can be an effective geographic tongue cure. However, discuss it with a dentist before usage.
- Using vitamin B12 supplements: In some cases, geographic tongue treatment can include vitamin B12 supplements to reduce symptoms of a patchy tongue. It is recommended that you consult a doctor before starting any dosage.
It is also important to note that geographic tongue cure options have not been studied rigorously. Since the condition has an unpredictable course, it is quite difficult to understand if the treatments to relieve the symptoms are actually working.
In any case, a dentist can suggest a personalized treatment plan depending on the severity of your condition.
Chapter 5: Consulting a specialist for geographic tongue symptoms on MFine
Geographic tongue symptoms can be managed by performing an accurate diagnosis to receive a suitable geographic tongue treatment. Consult a dentist to diagnose a red patchy tongue. A dentist can suggest an appropriate plan based on severity of the condition, and also other factors, such as lifestyle and diet. We, at MFine, provide solutions to a healthier life through modern medical services. You can consult with our team of highly-qualified medical experts for any medical assistance. MFine aims to provide you with a comprehensive treatment program as per your requirements. For further information, check out our MFine app to get a curated list of ‘top dentists near me’, with whom you can have an instant consultation anytime, anywhere!
Chapter 6: Frequently Asked Questions on geographic Tongue Causes in Indians:
1. Is a geographic tongue bad?
Having a geographic tongue is not a significant cause for concern. A geographic tongue will not increase your risk of developing life-threatening conditions. However, a patchy tongue can cause discomfort/ pain on side of the tongue. Anxiety about the condition is quite common as well. This could be due to the appearance of a red, patchy tongue and how visible the rashes are.
2. Is geographic tongue permanent?
Most often, it can go away on its own without treatment, but it can re-appear on a different area of the tongue. While a geographic tongue is not a serious condition, it is still crucial to get a red rash on tongue/ pain on side of tongue diagnosed by a dentist.
3. What causes baby geographic tongue?
The exact cause for geographic tongue in kids is unknown. Since genetic factors do increase the risk of developing red rash on tongue, geographic tongue in kids may be inherited. In any case, it is still crucial to get it accurately diagnosed by a dentist.
4. How do I book an appointment with a dentist online?
With modern technology, it has become a hassle-free process to book an online consultation. All you need to do is install the MFine app, search for a dentist, and enter your personal details. Once that’s done, you can consult with top dentists online conveniently! You can discuss your concerns comfortably with the doctor as we make your privacy a top priority. Our safe platform will ensure that the conversations between you and the medical expert strictly remain confidential.