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Geographic Tongue

AMBULATORY CARE:

Geographic tongue (GT)

is a condition that causes lesions to form on your tongue. This makes your tongue look like a map. The lesions stay on your tongue from several days to weeks. The lesions come and go in different areas of the tongue. GT goes away by itself. GT may cause, or happen along with, fissured tongue. Your healthcare provider can give you information about fissured tongue.

Contact your healthcare or dental provider if:

  • You cannot eat because of your pain.
  • Your pain gets worse.
  • You have lesions that last for more than 10 days.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Treatment

may not be needed. If your symptoms are painful, you may need any of the following:

  • Anesthetic mouth rinses
  • Steroids that are applied directly on your tongue
  • Zinc supplements
  • Acetaminophen or NSAIDs to reduce pain

Self care:

  • Do not eat hot, spicy, or salty foods.
  • Do not have acidic drinks, such as orange juice.
  • Do not use toothpastes with additives or whitening agents.
  • Do not smoke. Smoke from cigarettes and cigars can cause increased mouth pain. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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