Your tongue is just as much a part of your mouth as your teeth are. So if what you are after is good oral health, then you cannot miss out on taking care of the other structures inside your mouth and that includes your tongue. One of the conditions that could affect this powerful muscle is one which is called geographic tongue, named after the map-like appearance that develops on the surface of your tongue. If not treated promptly, this problem could infect the nearby structures within your mouth.
Around 1 to 3 percent of individuals are affected with this condition in a yearly basis and geographic tongue could show up in patients regardless of their age. Most of the time, this affects middle-aged adults than those of the older population and is more common in women than in men.
Some of the symptoms of geographic tongue include red patches on the surface of your tongue which appears patchy and irregular. These patches often have a light or white border, and come in different sizes and shapes. They start developing in one area and then they jump into another part of your tongue or mouth and can resolve itself within a couple of days only to come back shortly after and may also change in appearance. It is common for the symptoms of a geographic tongue can last for an entire year.
While geographic tongue is a benign condition, it can apparently induce pain among some of its sufferers. This pain is triggered whenever one eats acidic, hot and spicy foods, smoke and use toothpaste. The pain can range from disturbing to burning.
A geographic tongue is caused by the removal of the layers of the tongue which show bump-like figures which are called papillae. The papillae normally cover the entire upper layer of your tongue but can be lost for reasons which are still unknown. Experts are alleging that genetics has something to do with the disappearance of the papillae which lead to the development of a geographic tongue.
If you want to be certain that what you have is just a geographic tongue and not something malignant, having your mouth screened by a trusted dentist is the best way to do so. The condition should resolve on its own, but if the pain is too much to bear, your dentist may prescribe you with OTC pain relievers, mouth rinses which contain anesthetics and corticosteroids that are to be applied directly on the surface of your tongue to dull the pain.
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