Geographic tongue is a
condition many people have – including my very own granddaughter – but know little about.
It’s strange looking, but geographic tongue does not hurt, nor is it harmful. In fact, most people with this particular oral condition are healthy.
Also read: A Look Inside Your Mouth
So what is it?
Geographic tongue occurs when the papillae (the small bumps that cover the tongue) disappear from random areas of the tongue, leaving smooth, red patches of different sizes that create a map-like appearance. These patches may change in size and shape from day to day. The condition is not always painful, but some people report tongue discomfort and burning that may be worse when they eat hot or spicy foods.
As was the case with my granddaughter, geographic tongue can first appear during infancy. The reason for the condition is not known, although studies have shown that it is hereditary. Other possible causes include stress, allergies and hormone changes.
Also read: What is Black Tongue?
Symptoms of geographic tongue come and go – but generally the condition cycles through different stages on a monthly basis. If symptoms persist for more than 10 days, make an appointment to see me in order to rule out any potentially serious oral health problem.