Geographical tongue is also known as benign migratory glossitis or oral erythema migrans. It is a common condition caused by a viral or bacterial infection of the mouth. Geographical tongue is the name of a condition that gets its name from its map-like appearance on the upper surface and sides of the tongue. It may occur in other areas of your mouth, as well.
You’ll be relieved to know that geographic tongue is a harmless, benign condition that isn’t linked to any infection or cancer.
Affecting about 1% to 3% of people, geographic tongue can show up at any age. However, it tends to affect middle-aged or older adults more often. And it appears to be more common in women than in men.
Nodules on the surface of the tongue become inflamed as you fight off the infection, and you develop irregular red patches surrounded by white lines that give the tongue a map-like appearance.
This can sometimes cause a burning sensation in the mouth and over-sensitivity. Eating acidic, spicy or hot foods can be particularly painful.
Geographical tongue will eventually get better on its own after a few weeks or months. In the meantime, you may be able to manage the pain by avoiding anything that makes it worse, such as certain foods or mouthwash.
The telltale signs of geographic tongue are irregular, smooth, red patches on parts of the tongue. These patches may:
- Have a white or light-colored border
- Vary in size, shape, and color
- Appear one area, and then move to another area
- Come and go or change very quickly in days, weeks, or months
- Last up to a year
You may be unaware that you have geographic tongue until your dentist or other health care provider diagnoses it during an oral exam.
About one in 10 people with geographic tongue may have mild discomfort or a burning or painful sensation. This is often from sensitivity to substances such as:
- Hot, spicy, or acidic foods
- Cigarette smoke
Geographic tongue occurs when parts of the tongue are missing layers of small bumps called papillae. They normally cover the entire upper layer of your tongue. Why do you lose these papillae with geographic tongue? Nobody knows for sure. However, because geographic tongue tends to run in families, genetics may be a common link.
Geographic tongue has also been seen more frequently in people with psoriasis and in those with fissured tongue. In fissured tongue, cracks and grooves appear on the tops and sides of the tongue.
Seeing a dentist or doctor is the best way to rule out a more serious problem. In most cases, he or she can diagnose geographic tongue from a description of your symptoms and from examining your mouth and tongue. You may need tests to rule out other medical conditions.
In most cases, any pain or discomfort will get better without treatment. But if you have severe, on-going pain, medication can help. A zinc supplement may be recommended.
There can be other reasons for a sore or painful tongue. Usually it is caused by something obvious and visible, although there are a few less obvious causes you should be aware of that may need treating.
If the pain is persistent and you haven’t accidentally bitten or burnt your tongue, see your GP or dentist. There may be an underlying infection or deficiency that needs treating, and your GP or dentist may be able to advise on pain relief while you wait for it to get better.
If you have a mouth ulcer that fails to heal within a few weeks, or if you have a red patch on your tongue with a white border that changes shape within weeks, see your licensed health practitioner or dentist. You may need to be referred to a specialist.
Oral thrush: Oral thrush is a yeast infection in the mouth caused by a fungus. It can cause a burning sensation on the tongue, as well as sore white plaques that can be scraped off.
You are more likely to develop oral thrush if you:
- have recently taken antibiotics
- have a weakened immune system
- have diabetes
You should see your practitioner if you think you have oral thrush. If it is left untreated, the symptoms will persist and your mouth will continue to be uncomfortable. If you wear dentures, your chances of getting oral thrush are lowered if you clean your dentures as often as you would clean your regular teeth (at least every morning and night).
Anaemia: Anaemia is a condition where the amount of haemoglobin in the blood is below the normal level, or there are fewer red blood cells than normal. It can sometimes cause a sore tongue, as well as an altered sense of taste.
There are several different types of anaemia and each one has a different cause, although iron deficiency anaemia is the most common type. Treatment for iron deficiency anaemia involves taking iron supplements to boost low levels of iron in the body, which in turn cures the tongue pain. See your practitioner if you think you have anaemia.
Aphthous mouth ulcers: Aphthous mouth ulcers are painful sores that can occur anywhere within the mouth and tend to keep coming back. You may be able to manage the pain avoiding anything that worsens it, such as spicy foods or mouthwash. The ulcers tend to recur less often as you get older, and usually eventually go away for good.
Less commonly, tongue pain may be caused by:
- a viral infection such as hand, foot and mouth disease or cold sores
- median rhomboid glossitis, where a smooth red inflamed patch develops on the middle or back of the tongue, thought to result from a yeast infection
- glossodynia or ‘burning mouth syndrome’, a burning pain on the tip of the tongue that is often seen in people with depression
- glossopharyngeal neuralgia, where repeated episodes of severe tongue pain are believed to be caused by nerve irritation
- lichen planus, a long-term skin condition that causes an itchy rash that can also affect the mouth, causing a white lacy pattern and painful patches on the tongue
- Behçet’s disease, a rare condition that causes inflammation of the blood vessels and can also lead to mouth ulcers
- pemphigus vulgaris, a rare and serious condition that causes painful blisters to develop on the skin, as well as inside the mouth, nose, throat, anus and genitals
- drugs such as reserpine or aspirin sucked for toothache, and certain mouthwashes
- Moeller’s glossitis, a form of inflammation of the tongue
- cancer of the tongue, although this is rare
If you have sores in obscure places as well as on the tongue, you may have a skin disease such as pemphigus vulgaris or lichen planus.
It is important to not add further toxicity to your system so try to adhere to the following:
- Do not consume any artificial sweeteners, such as Splenda, NutraSweet or Aspartame
- Do not consume high fructose corn syrup or mono-sodium glutamate.
- Do not drink any carbonated beverages.
- Avoid all fast food restaurants.
- Avoid all canned food.
- Eliminate conventional dairy products. The best dairy products are raw, unpasteurised and homogenised dairy from grass fed cows. If this is unavailable, then buy organic dairy.
- Avoid conventional beef. The best beef is organic grass fed beef.
www.grasslandbeef.com The second best is organic meat; this includes beef, veal, lamb, chicken and turkey.
- Take Vitamin D3 50,000-100,000 International Units a day for periods of 4 weeks at a time.
- Zinc – a lack of zinc can cause geographical tongue
- A deficiency in Vitamin B12 can cause cracks on the tongue. Moreover, people suffering from geographic tongue report that taking Vitamin B supplements helps their red tongue patches go away.
- Wholefood supplements are the best way of ensuring your nutritional needs are met. The best we know on the market is Kevin Trudeau’s “KT Daily” product. You can find more details here.
- Take an Omega 3 supplement:
Prescription and non-prescription medication:
What non-prescription and prescription drugs are you taking? Your non-prescription and prescription are partially the reason that you have this illness or disease – you need to get off these medications but do so only under the guidance of a licensed health care practitioner.
We know that when the body is out of balance, energy doesn’t flow, leading blockages and eventually disease. Here are some things you can do to combat stress and restore balance:
- Go to a Dr Morter BEST (Bio-Energetic Synchronisation Technique) Practitioner.
- Sign up for Energetic Re-Balancing: 2 practitioners to consider are:
Stephen Lewis, founder of the Aim Program. Find out more by clicking here.
. Find out more by clicking here.
- Consider using Mary Millers Iching System Products – ichingsystemsinstruments.com
- Reiki healing is very powerful in releasing stress and emotional baggage. Find a practitioner here.
- Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) has had remarkable results in dissolving stress. Find a local practitioner here or go towww.thetappingsolution.com or www.tftrx.com
- Try Hypnotherapy to relax the mind. Find a practitioner here.
The best way to cleansing and purification of the body www.naturalcures.com/healthblog/54_the_best_way_to_cleansing_and_purification_of_the_body_110512.php
Mother Nature’s Natural Germ Fighters naturalhealthdossier.com/2012/03/mother-natures-natural-germ-fighters
Immune health NC_Newsletter_07-11.pdf
Squeaky Clean (Colonic Irrigation) www.naturalcures.com/healthblog/squeaky_clean.php
Heal Your Body and Raise Your Consciousness – Qigong NC_Newsletter_12-08.pdf
Health Care that Won’t Cost You a Single Penny – EFT NC_Newsletter_12-06.pdf
Become Master of Your Mind – taking charge of your reaction to stress NC_Newsletter_12-10.pdf
Jump for Joy – Rebounding is a great stress busting workout NC_Newsletter_12-10.pdf
Hypnotherapy for stress management – why it is so effective www.naturalcures.com/healthblog/hypnotherapy_for_stress.php
EFT for treating disease http://www.garythink.com/eft/physicial.html
Further Information (links and books)
Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Fifth Edition: A Practical A-to-Z Reference to Drug-Free Remedies Using Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs & Food … A-To-Z Reference to Drug-Free Remedies) by Phyllis Balch
Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art by Kathi Keville and Mindi Green
Detox and revitalize by Susana L. Belen
The Secret Language of Your Body by Inna Segal
The Healing Herbs: The Ultimate Guide to the Curative Power of Nature’s Medicines by Michael Castleman and Prevention Magazine
Whole food supplement, Pure Synergy
www.thesynergycompany.com (800) 723-0277
E3 Live, Green Superfoods
Omega-3s, Cod Liver oil
www.drrons.com (877) 472-8701
St. John’s Wort
Sunlight Therapy, Solar Healing
EMF Chaos Elimination, Q-Link
www.toolsforwellness.com (800) 456-9887
Living Freedom, Emotional Release Work
www.totalintegrationinstitute.com (520) 615-9811
Callahan Technique, Thought Field Therapy
www.tftrx.com (760) 564-1008
Dianetics, Dianetics Technology
www.dianetics.com (800) 367-8788
Neuro Emotional Technique
www.netmindbody.com (800) 888-4638
Bowen, Find Practitioner
Rebounder, Evolution Health
www.evolutionhealth.com (888) 896-7790
Andrea Butje | Aromahead [email protected] – aromatherapy
Carrie Vitt [email protected] – organic food recipes.
David Spector-NSR/USA [email protected] – meditation, stress
Judith Hoad [email protected] – herbalist.
Kath May [email protected] – reiki, tai chi.
Lillian Bridges [email protected] – Chinese medicine, living naturally.
Monika [email protected] – aromatherapy.
Rakesh [email protected] – Ayurvedic Practitioner.