Menu Close

About 3% of the population has geographic tongue

A tongue that looks like a map

You asked your doctor what was wrong with your mapped tongue. When sticking out your mapped tongue, your doctor probably gave you a puzzled look. Most doctors even haven’t seen it and are as puzzled/grossed out as any other person. Often, even oral specialists have no clue what they are looking at. Some doctors -like dermatologists- however do know what geographic tongue is. At least, they know what it looks like and have a lot of names for the condition.

Fancy names for geographic tongue:

  • benign migratory glossitis
  • erythema migrans lingualis
  • glossitis areata exfoliativa
  • glossitis areata migrans
  • lingua geographica
  • psoriasiform mucositis
  • stomatitis areata migrans

Areas most often affected are the tip and the sides of the tongue, or the entire dorsal surface at any one time. When the tip is affected speaking can become slurry and even painful. The condition has periods of remission and relapse. Patches manifest and form a map-like appearance on the whole tongue.

Geographic tongue can be two things: weird looking (and embarrassing) in any case, and sometimes (very) painful. Let’s face it, geographic tongue is ruining peoples lives.

When consulting the medial literature on geographic tongue two aspects become very clear:

  1. The cause is -supposed to be- unknown.
  2. The treatment is -at best- symptomatic (meaning: trying to provide temporary relief with topical anesthetics but not really dealing with the root cause). Typically websites like WebMD will just provide you with information on how to treat the symptoms.

However, there is a cure and after about 6 years of hard suffering I am now 11 years GT-free. Please, read my story first.