In the first part of the discussion of harmless conditions of the tongue and mouth, we looked at Aphthous Ulcer Mouth. We continue the health education by giving geographic tongue info.
But before we go in-depth into the discussion on geographic tongue, we reiterate that treatment of these mouth conditions is supportive and conservative. With geographic tongue, it may be difficult to exclude the glossitis caused by deficiency of B Vitamins. Therefore supplementation with B Vitamins may be warranted.
Links to no-prescription (over-the-counter) medications are therefore provided next.
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The technical name for this condition is “Benign Migratory Glossitis”. Glossitis is inflammation of the tongue. Migratory describes the behaviour of the lesions. Lastly, benign signifies the harmless nature of the condition.
Geographic tongue is a condition where the tongue develops red, smooth patches that appear like map drawings. These patches can be on the top surface, the sides, or undersurface of the tongue. They are, unlike aphthous ulcers, pretty painless. There may be a slight discomfort only.
Geographic tongue also lasts days to weeks. Then patches disappear, only to reappear a few weeks later. The cycle can repeat itself for months, years, to a lifetime.
A Medical Diagnosis is necessary, following which the patient can be reassured. An important condition to be excluded is glossitis due to deficiencies of B vitamins, whose lesions do not migrate.
Treatment is supportive, aimed at relieving discomfort or pain. Anaesthetic gels (link above) and pastes are used locally. Painkillers by mouth may be used if needed (which is rare).
PICTURE OF GEOGRAPHIC TONGUE
Geographic tongue (and oral aphthous ulcers) can be managed without resorting to expensive and invasive investigations. (There would be no harm in determining the Blood Sugar Level if that has not been done recently.)
I feel that stress has a strong association with both of these conditions. And so, worrying about them only causes a vicious cycle of stress, lesions, more stress, more or recurrent lesions!
It is important that once a diagnosis of geographic tongue has been made by a professional and reassurance offered, the patient should try to forget about the condition. And they better stop looking at it in the mirror! Life must continue normally, and usually this causes the lesions to disappear in a sustained manner or permanently.
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