• Admin
  • 3 July, 2022

Geographic Tongue-All you have to know


Author-Dr Aparna Pandya (Mrs India Vivacious 2019)

People with geographic tongue have smooth, patches girdled by white borders on their tongue. It's a harmless, non-contagious condition.

Geographic tongue is a benign condition and doesn't beget any long- term health problems. It isn't contagious. People have mostly no symptoms, but some people feel a burning sensation on their tongue. Treatment for geographic tongue generally isn’t necessary.

Geographic tongue ( also called benign migrant glossitis) is slightly more common in young adults.

People who have psoriasis (a condition that causes scaled patches on the skin) and reactive arthritis (Reiter's pattern) are more likely than others.


The cause is not well established. Because it frequently runs in families, it may be inherited (passed down) from parents to their children.

People generally have other conditions along with geographic tongue. These conditions and conditions include -

  • Psoriasis- numerous people with geographic tongue also have psoriasis
  • Hormonal surges- Women who are taking oral contraceptives (birth control capsules) have developed geographic tongue
  • Vitamin deficiency- People who don’t have enough zinc, iron, folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12 are more likely to have geographic tongue.
  • Fissured tongue- there might be a inheritable link between geographic tongue and fissured tongue, a condition that causes deep grooves or wrinkles on the tongue.


While numerous people don’t notice any symptoms, the most recognizable sign of geographic tongue is the appearance of the pattern on the tongue. Symptoms can come and go, and may last a many weeks or times. They include

  • Red spots on the tongue. The red patches on the tongue appear in an irregular chart- such like pattern and are frequently girdled by white borders. They appear anywhere on the top, sides and tip of the lingo. The patches may come and go, and can change size, shape and position over time.
  • Absence of papillae- The inwards of the red patches are noticeably smoother because they don't have any papillae.
  • Burning sensation- Some people with geographic tongue feel a burning sensation on their tongue, especially when eating. Discomfort is generally mild and can come and go on with the red patches.


Because geographic tongue is a benign condition, treatment isn't necessary. However, avoid eating anything that can irritate your tongue.

  • Topical anaesthetics (pain relievers) can be prescribed to the patients if necessary.
  • Non steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs).


Oral Care
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Geographic Tongue Tongue patches
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