10 Geographic Tongue Symptoms

By annabel
Reviewed: dr. vanta
Article Sources Article Sources
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Medical Expert Medical Expert

Contrary to popular belief, geographic tongue is not a hamlet in England. It's a little-known but relatively common benign condition that causes map-like marks on the tongue. It's normal for the tongue to have papillae and ridges that make up the taste buds, but with geographic tongue, these areas can have smooth patches instead of the normal rough surface.

Although the tongue is designed to convey different tastes such as sweet, sour or salty to the brain, these nerve bundles are part of the taste buds. Geographic tongue doesn't change the ability to distinguish one taste from another.

Red Patches on the Tongue Surface

The tongue normally has small white papillary patches on the surface. These white patches are designed to convey the sense of taste to the brain. With a geographic tongue, the white patches become red and smooth. The red areas can heal in one spot and begin in another.1‘Geographic Tongue - Symptoms and Causes.’ Mayo Clinic, 6 Mar. 2018, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/geographic-tongue/symptoms-causes/syc-20354396

Certain flavors can cause sensitivity in geographic tongues. Spicy, salty and sweet flavors can bring discomfort on the tongue surface. The discomfort isn't permanent, and as the red areas heal, this sensation also subsides. Although the appearance of these red areas can be alarming, the condition is perfectly benign.1‘Geographic Tongue - Symptoms and Causes.’ Mayo Clinic, 6 Mar. 2018, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/geographic-tongue/symptoms-causes/syc-20354396

Geographic Tongue

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