Dental Problems

Common Tongue Diseases

tnge-cancerThere are several common diseases of the tongue. Some of these tongue diseases affect the pallet, throat, mouth and lips along with the tongue. Symptoms of these common tongue diseases are usually mild. In this article, there is a brief discussion on the tongue diseases. Let us examine them.

Common tongue diseases

  • Geographic tongue:

    It is also referred to as benign migratory glossitis. This disease is characterized by red spots in a map-like pattern on the tongue. They are usually seen on the top of the tongue and on the sides of the tongue, but it might also spread to other areas of the mouth. This disease is harmless and it commonly exists without any symptoms except for basic discoloration.

    Patients with this condition may also develop soreness or tenderness, but with the topical medication, it can be alleviated. This disease is not contagious or infectious. Patients with this condition need to avoid eating acidic or spicy foods. Rinse with corticosteriods and swish out for 2 to 3 times in a day.

  • Black hairy tongue:

    This disease is caused due to excessive follicles growth on the tongue which is known as papillae. These papillae usually continue to grow on an individual’s tongue throughout his/her lifetime. They are worn down by daily activities such as brushing, eating, etc over time. If they are not worn down, then they may grow at a typical lengths, giving an environment for the bacteria to grow. This results in darkened or blackened appearance on the tongue. This disease is usually seen in individuals who have poor oral hygiene.

  • Burning mouth syndrome:

    This condition causes burning sensation, loss of taste, and swelling or the feeling of swelling of the tongue. This is a condition which is relatively harmless as it is not transferable or infectious. This condition commonly affects women before or after menopause, but it affects men about 10 to 20 percent. The main cause of BMS is not known, but it has been commonly associated with the other medical conditions like deficiency in nutritional supplements.

  • HSV-1:

    Herpes simplex virus 1 or HSV-1 is the viral infection which causes sores sometimes on the tongue. The sores are usually swollen and red and may have a greenish or white cap. The cure for HSV 1 is not known but the symptoms like tenderness and pain usually pass with antiviral medications or with time. This disease is an infectious disease, thus it is transferable even by kissing through the saliva. This is also a hereditary condition and commonly runs in families. Patients with this condition must avoid citrus, salty or acidic foods.

  • Oral candidiasis:

    This is a fungal infection caused by the fungus Candida albicans, the most common causative organism. The other causative organisms are Candida tropicalis and Candida glabrata. Patients with oral candidiasis may develop a thick cream or white colored deposits on the tongue or may have the tongue with a red or a bit raised appearance. It can cause discomfort and burning sensation. This condition can be treated with intravenous medicines or with anti-fungal drugs.

  • Hypogolassia:

    This is one of the rare tongue diseases. This condition is marked with incomplete tongue development. This may occur as a single disorder or can be associated with other conditions. One of the associated disorder is oromandibular limb hypogenesis syndrome. Genetic abnormality is the reason behind this hypoglossia tongue disease.

  • Glossitis:

    In this condition, patients develop inflammation of the tongue. Some of the characteristic symptoms of glossitis are discoloration, swelling and abnormal smoothing of the tongue. The causes of glossitis include bacterial infection, viral infection, mechanical irritation, poor hydration, allergic reaction to allergens, tongue piercing, genetic predisposition and malnutrition. Corticosteriods containing drugs can be used to reduce the glossitis symptoms such as discomfort, inflammation, swelling and redness.

The above listed are some of the common tongue diseases. The major cause can be poor oral hygiene which causes bacterial or viral growth leading to infections. Many of these diseases usually show very mild symptoms which include redness, discoloration, swelling, soreness, inflammation, tenderness, etc. Similarly, the treatment for these common tongue diseases is usually mild and may involve a change in diet or lifestyle.

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