Geographic tongue is characterized by a condition that affects the surface of the tongue. Normally, your tongue is covered with pinkish-white tiny bumps (papillae). With this condition, patches on the tongue’s surface are missing bumps and appear as red smooth “islands,” typically with somewhat raised borders.

Because of these lesions or patches, the tongue appears to be map-like or geographic. The patches usually heal in a single area and then migrate to a different area of the tongue.

Although geographic tongue is harmless, it can sometimes lead to tongue discomfort as well as increased sensitivity to some substances.

Symptoms of geographic tongue

Symptoms of this condition include:

  • Red, smooth irregularly shaped lesions (patches) on the side or top of the tongue
  • Changes in the size, shape and location of patches — daily or hourly
  • Pain, burning sensation or discomfort in some cases, usually connected with eating hot, salty, spicy or acidic foods

If the symptoms of geographic tongue persist for over 10 days, consult with an experienced dentist at Brighton Implant Clinic to identify any oral health condition. This condition gets better with time but might appear again at some point in life.

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