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300px-Landkartenzunge_004It seems that each day as a dentist in Grove City, Ohio and it does not matter the age or sex it seems that I often hear people asking me this question: “Why Does My Tongue Looks Funny?!

Ok, Here’s What You Need to Know.

Our tongues are an essential part of our oral apparatus.  The tongue enables us to enjoy our food, being the site of little bumps also known as papillae, which contain our taste buds.  In addition, the tongue is what enables us to speak and swallow, and helps with keeping the mouth lubricated. So obviously it is a vital part of the mouth.

I’m sure we’ve all seen movies or have been to the doctor and they tell you to sopen your mouth and stick out your tongue – Right?

That is because the tongue can also be an important indicator of a person’s general health and we pay close attention to it here at our office.  There are some conditions of the tongue that are harmful, however there are a few that can make it look “funny” and cause people to needlessly worry.  We see these conditions in our office from time to time and want you to know about them.

Geographic Tongue

Some people have patterns on their tongues.  They have smooth, shiny patches intermixed with bumpy red sections. Even more surprising, these patches can move!  Sometimes they are in one part of the tongue, other times in another part.  The technical name for this condition is Benign Migratory Glossitis. Try holding your tongue and saying that one 10 times! Lol!

The common term is Geographic Tongue. Geographic Tongue is a harmless (benign) condition that causes the atrophy or reduction in size of the filiform papillae, the little bumps on the tongue that contain the taste buds. It is not related to any type of infection or cancer.  The condition is usually painless, but sometimes can cause discomfort or increased sensitivity to certain substances or foods.  For example, some people report a soreness or burning sensation that can worsen with spicy or acidic foods. It is not known why the tongue loses papillae on some parts of the tongue, but the condition does tend to run in families, so heredity is likely involved.  Geographic tongue can occur in persons of all ages, and has been reported to only affect about 2% of the population. However, recent research supports a much larger, up to 25%, rate.

Women also appear to be affected more than men.  Usually geographic tongue goes through stages of appearance and then remission without any treatment. If a person is experiencing some pain, over-the-counter remedies such as ibuprophen, and perhaps a topical anesthetic mouthrinse can help. If you notice that your tongue is sore after eating certain foods, or using a certain toothpaste, simply avoid these.  The good news is Geographic Tongue may look funny, but it is not harmful.

So if you look at your tongue and see something looking funny back at you then it is not always cause for concern, but it is always better to be safe than sorry and have it checked out. There are some conditions that are evidenced by symptoms evidenced on your tongue and I will be covering some of those conditions when I do my next blog entry.

By the way, if you have not maximized your insurance benefits as well as your flex plan then now is probably the best time to call Grove City Dental because we are running a super savings discount program right now that only happens once every blue moon! So give us a call at 614-808-1708 and let’s get you the smile of your dreams and get top savings too!

By the way the savings are great even if your tongue does not look funny! 🙂

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