7 059

Geographic tongue of the child: causes and treatment

a geographic tongue in the child how to treat

Geographic tongue is a disease that affects the mucous membrane of a tongue. In medical practice, the disease has a different name – desquamative glossitis. It has an inflammatory and a degenerative nature.

Glossitis is an inflammation, and the adjective “desquamative”, derived from the word “desquamation”, which means peeling, flaking. That is an inflammation with areas of loose tissues.

This is a fairly common disease, it is most common for children, although adults are also prone to it. Its appearance does not depend on a gender.

The content of the article:

  1. What is it?
  2. Symptoms
  3. Causes Of Occurrence
  4. Treatment

What is it?

A more common name of desquamative glossitis – “geographic tongue” – has appeared and come into use because of its most characteristic manifestations – it is the emergence of foci of inflammation on the tongue that are bordered white peelable epithelium.

Because of this, a tongue begins to resemble a volume map volume by its appearance. Areas of exfoliation and inflammation can occur in a totally random order, on the back of the tongue, as well as at its lateral surfaces.

Course of the disease

The process of shedding epithelium (it is a top layer of an epithelium of body surfaces as well as mucosal and organs) can last different periods of time – from a few days up to several months. Sometimes even longer.

Usually, a little patient does not feel strong discomfort. However, those areas that are not substantially protected because of the fact that the upper layer is exfoliated are heavily exposed to all kinds of infections. If an infection occurs, the baby’s tongue may be coated with cracks, which leads to rather painful sensations.


Most often, neither children nor parents notice neither beginning of the disease or its course until a certain time. Identification occurs in most cases, quite by accident – when visiting a dentist or during an oral examination by the doctor-therapist.

Sometimes children of an older age category may notice the problem themselves, for example, during the daily procedures of oral hygiene or a careful examination of the tongue in the mirror.

The main symptoms

  • the appearance of areas of white-gray haze on the tongue;
  • swelling, and then peeling affected areas of an epithelium;
  • the appearance of bright red or pink spots, which vary in size and shape;

In those areas where the desquamation takes place, there are very visible mushroom like papillae. They appear as bright red spots. Pretty rare desquamation areas appear in a single form. Most often it is the many sources in different parts of the tongue.

desquamative glossitis this is geographic tongue

Photo: Geographic tongue (desquamative glossitis)

Possible symptoms

  • increasing the sensitivity of the tongue;
  • burning sensation;
  • itching;
  • numbness;
  • tingling;
  • the change of sensitivity;
  • changing in perceptions of taste sensations;
  • an increase in size due to the multiple foci of inflammation and desquamation;
  • discomfort during a speech;
  • difficulties when swallowing and chewing food;
  • headache;
  • an increase of adjacent lymph nodes;
  • general deterioration of health.

Children often have a strong concern about the appearance of a tongue. This leads to stress, and stress can lead to a significant worsening of the disease. If there is a process of worsening, the desquamation power and speed also increase.

Almost in half of the cases, this leads to the fact that there appears such a manifestation as fissured tongue – the overall shape changes, there are wrinkles on the surface due to multiple foci of desquamation.

Causes Of Occurrence

The list of causes and factors that lead to this disease is still not fully known. Many experts say that a geographic tongue in a child is most often associated with certain groups of common diseases of the body.

The serious failures in the nutrition of cellular tissue are the basis for the emergence of desquamative glossitis, that is a violation of the trophic (i.e. nutritious) mucosal function.

Exudative diathesis. Some children have a tendency to various inflammatory diseases that affect the skin and mucous membranes. This is the most common and probable cause of the disease in children.

Diseases that are caused by a lack or disorder of metabolic processes of vitamins of group B:

  • B1 – disorders in the normal functioning of the body’s major systems – the digestive, nervous and cardiovascular (beriberi disease);
  • B2 – all sorts of changes and lesions of mucosal remembrance, tongue, lips and mouth with inflammatory character (bleeding, glossitis, cracks, burning);
  • B6 – a variety of skin lesions (wounds, cracks, and scratches, unhealed for a long time, dryness);
  • B12 – megaloblastic anemia (impaired blood-forming processes in the bone marrow).

Diseases that affect the gastrointestinal tract:

  • various types of hepatitis;
  • malabsorption syndrome (changes in the normal operation of the intestine – a violation of transportation, absorption of food in the large intestine, as well as its digestion);
  • diseases of the stomach and 12- duodenum (various gastritis);
  • gastroduodenitis, gastric and / or duodenal ulcers.

Diseases affecting the pancreas:

  • diabetes;
  • pancreatitis (chronic, acute and recurrent forms);
  • tumor growths.

Some diseases that are associated with the endocrine system of the body and its organs – the thyroid, pancreas, and adrenal glands.

Autoimmune disease (the immune system is too strong so that it works against its own body:

  • Lupus Erythematosus – is a systemic disease in which damage to connective and blood tissues begin to appear;
  • Rheumatoid arthritis – it damages the small joints of the tissues that form the basic material for an organ creation.

Complex forms of various viral infections:

  • SARS with complications;
  • infectious mononucleosis – the change of the composition of blood, lymph nodes, and liver.

examination of the child tongue by the doctorSome diseases of the oral cavity, for example, congenital scrotal tongue.

In addition to the general disease, there are some factors that can also cause the appearance of desquamative glossitis.

  • The intake of high doses, as well as the uncontrolled use of antibiotics to treat other diseases.
  • Hereditary factor.
  • Too strong reaction in the body of the child to different vaccinations.
  • The eruption of primary teeth. This is a very likely factor for certain age groups of children mainly from six months to 4 years. Typically, after the eruption the disease symptoms disappear. If not, the cause is in other diseases that require a special treatment.
  • For children, the appearance of desquamative glossitis due to helminthic infestation (worms) is common, from which you cannot get rid for a long time.
  • Mechanical damages of the surface of the mucous membrane of a tongue of various complexity.


It is impossible to describe one treatment option, as the treatment measures in this or that case, are individual. This is due to the huge number of possible causes.

If the disease was caused by a common disease, then, first of all, this disease should be dealt with. Because without removing the cause, the treatment of geographic tongue is useless.

However, there is a number of remedial measures to be carried out in any case, no matter what was the cause of desquamative glossitis.

  • Remediation of the oral cavity – identification and treatment of caries (it is as important for milk teeth as it is for permanent), the removal of plaque, and all kinds of leftovers, conduct regular brushing of a whole mouth using professional methods, as well as a thorough self-hygiene.
  • To maintain internal balance and enhance the protective properties of the body it is recommended to take a multivitamin complex.
  • After the first symptoms, alkaline rinses are desirable.
  • When itching, pain, burning or other unpleasant symptoms analgesic (pain relievers) application of various drugs can be used to the affected mucosal surface.
  • The antiseptic rinsing.
  • The therapy, which reduces the body’s allergic activity and its manifestations.

Do not neglect the visit to the doctor and treatment of geographic tongue, even if the disease does not have any other manifestations except external visible symptoms.

Examination conducted by an expert is extremely important because the disease can be an indicator of other, more serious, and dangerous diseases, which require the compulsory medical examination and treatment.

Home Treatments

Traditional medicine also has some methods and recipes which can be used in desquamative glossitis. Almost all of them are aimed at alleviating the discomfort and getting rid of the external symptoms.

  • Rinsing. how to treat geographic tongueAdd 2-3 drops of iodine, half a small spoon of soda in a glass of warm water – this solution should be used to rinse your mouth twice a day, after brushing your teeth.

    Sterilized in a water bath (the length should be at least half an hour) pure vegetable oil after cooling can also be used for rinsing. The duration of this procedure should be less than 2 minutes. Rinsing with decoctions of herbs that have an antiseptic effect – chamomile, St. John’s worth, sage and others.

  • Lotions of gauze wipes, pre-moistened with oil (Vaseline or peach), cod-liver oil. Apply gauze for 3-5 minutes.
  • Special oral tabs. To do this, you need to take sunflower (or other vegetable oil) boiled for 20 minutes in a water bath and cool it. After full cooling, a small amount (1.5-2 tablespoons) needs to be put in the mouth for 5-10 minutes and then spit out.
There are no comments

Add a comment