Perhaps you’ve looked in the mirror while brushing your teeth one morning and noticed little red blotches on your tongue. You take a closer look and, sure enough, little red islands of various sizes have appeared on your tongue.

What’s Going On?

The condition is medically called benign migratory glossitis, but is commonly known as “geographic tongue” – because the island-like formations make your tongue look like a map. Normally your tongue is covered in little pinkish-white bumps called papillae. But sometimes clusters of papillae disappear, leaving behind an irregular surface. The islands might appear to change shape and position over time, as different areas heal and others become affected. Eventually, your tongue returns to its original look, but the condition could come back later.

What Should Be Done About Geographic Tongue?

Thankfully, geographic tongue is not linked to any cancers, infections or other health issues, and usually heals on its own. However, the exact origin of this condition is still being researched. Many dental specialists believe it is related to a vitamin B deficiency, or genetic factors. Others think that a diet with spicy, salty or acidic foods might be a significant factor, which goes along with burning sensations reported by some individuals. Your dentist at the Marconi Dental Group may suggest a change in diet, over-the-counter pain medication, or specific mouthrinses to relieve any discomfort.

If you believe you have geographic tongue, please call and consult your dentist at Marconi Dental Group. We are happy to answer your questions, examine the options, and discuss available treatments with you.