Also Known As:

Geographic Tongue, Benign Migratory Glossitis

What is Glossitis?

Glossitis is minor inflammatory condition affecting the tongue. The condition causes the tongue to swell in size, change in colour, and develop a different appearance on the surface.

Glossitis may cause the small bumps on the surface of the tongue (papillae) to disappear. The papillae contain thousands of tiny sensors called taste buds and play a role in how you eat. Severe tongue inflammation that results in swelling and redness can cause pain and may change the way you eat or speak.


Glossitis tongue has also been seen more frequently in people with psoriasis and in those with fissured tongue. Other factors that can lead to Glossitis include:
•   Diseases such as Herpes Simplex
•   Allergic reactions
•   Low iron levels
•   Low Vitamin B levels
•   Mouth trauma such as an injury or surgery
•   Excessive consumption of spicy foods


The symptoms of Glossitis may vary depending on the cause and severity of the inflammation. Many people with Glossitis have minimal symptoms. Common symptoms may include:
•   Swelling of the tongue
•   Change in the colour of your tongue
•   An inability to speak, eat, or swallow
•   Loss of papillae on the surface of your tongue causing smooth, red, irregularly shaped patches (lesions)
•   Discomfort, pain or burning sensation in some cases, most often related to eating spicy or acidic foods

Diagnosis & Treatment

A Dentist or Doctor can diagnose Glossitis from a description of your symptoms and from examining your mouth and tongue.

Glossitis can continue for days, months or years. The problem often resolves on its own but may appear again at a later time. If you have lesions on the tongue that don’t resolve within 10 days, see your doctor or dentist in order to rule out the possibility of more serious conditions of the tongue or diseases affecting the body in general.

In most cases, any pain or discomfort will get better without treatment. But if you have severe, ongoing pain, medication can help. Your Doctor or Dentist may prescribe:
•   Over-the-counter pain relievers
•   Anti-Inflammatory medication
•   Mouth rinses with anaesthetic
•   Corticosteroids applied directly on the tongue
•   Zinc supplements

Additional Information

The main types of Glossitis include;
•   Acute Glossitis
•   Chronic Glossitis
•   Atrophic Glossitis

Also see:

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Published Date:

11th December 2018


Mediv8 Admin