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General Practice 2023

Língua geográfica: what é, symptoms, causes and treatment

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Língua geográfica: what é, symptoms, causes and treatment
Língua geográfica: what é, symptoms, causes and treatment

Geographical tongue is an alteration that causes the appearance of red, smooth and irregular spots on the tongue, forming an image that looks like a geographic map, and can cause symptoms such as pain or burning sensation in the tongue, especially after eat spicy or acidic foods.

This change in the tongue, which is also known as benign migratory glossitis or erythema migrans, is rare and does not have a well-defined cause. However, it is more common among people from the same family, which indicates that there may be some genetic factor associated with its appearance.

In most cases, geographic tongue does not require specific treatment. However, in some cases the general practitioner or dentist may recommend the use of pain relievers or mouthwashes to reduce pain or discomfort on the tongue.


Symptoms of geographic tongue

The main symptoms of geographic tongue are:

  • Red, smooth, irregular patches on the top or side of the tongue;
  • White or clear edges on tongue;
  • Absence of papillae in the affected region;
  • Pain, discomfort or burning sensation when eating spicy or acidic foods.

Furthermore, although it is rarer, the spots can appear in regions other than the tongue, such as the mucous membranes of the lips, palate or floor of the mouth, for example, being known as ectopic geographic tongue.

Generally, symptoms of geographic tongue can last for several days, weeks or even years, and disappear on their own, and patches of different size or shape can reappear in other places on the tongue.

How to confirm the diagnosis

The diagnosis of geographic tongue is made by the general practitioner or dentist, through the evaluation of the characteristics of the spots on the tongue, such as size, texture, location and color, in addition to the analysis of symptoms and the presence of swollen or swollen lymph nodes in the neck region, for example.

In some cases, culture may be requested to check for tongue infection or additional tests to diagnose diseases that can cause geographic tongue. In addition, a biopsy of the tongue may be done to evaluate the cells in the laboratory and rule out other diseases, such as tongue cancer. Know how to identify tongue cancer.

Possible causes of geographic tongue

The exact cause of geographic tongue is still not completely known, however, some conditions seem to increase the risk of geographic tongue development, such as:

  • Geographic language family history;
  • Tongue fissure or crack;
  • Asthma;
  • Eczema;
  • Allergic rhinitis;
  • Psoriasis;
  • Atopic dermatitis;
  • Diabetes;
  • Smoking;
  • Nutritional deficiencies such as vitamins D, B6, B12, folic acid, iron or zinc;
  • Use of oral contraceptives;
  • Use of angiogenesis-inhibiting drugs, such as bevacizumab, everolimus or pazopanib, for example.

Geographic tongue appears when the taste buds in some areas of the tongue begin to disappear, forming small, irregular red spots, similar to a map.

Is geographic language transmissible?

Geographic tongue is not transmissible as it is caused by he alth conditions that are not contagious.

How the treatment is done

Geographic tongue usually disappears on its own, without the need for specific treatment. However, in some cases, such as the presence of pain or discomfort in the tongue, the doctor may indicate the use of some remedies, which include:

  • Analgesics or anti-inflammatories, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, which help relieve pain during flare-ups that can arise after eating spicy foods;
  • Mouthwash or anesthetic ointments, such as Lidocaine, which quickly relieves pain and burning on the tongue;
  • Corticosteroid medications, such as prednisolone, which helps relieve inflammation and pain in the tongue, especially when pain relievers have not been effective in reducing symptoms.

In addition, specific remedies may be recommended by the doctor for the treatment of diseases that may be causing geographic tongue, or the use of vitamin supplements, according to the type of nutritional deficiency.

It is recommended that the person who has the geographic tongue avoid foods that can cause pain or discomfort in the tongue, such as very hot, spicy, very spicy or s alty foods, for example. In addition, you should also avoid smoking and not use toothpaste that contains added chemicals, such as whitening substances or with very intense flavors.

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