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The causes of cracks on the tongue

all causes of cracks on the tongue

A pure tongue, without cracks and plaque, indicates normal functioning of the human body. The appearance of any change suggests serious violations in the work of the internal organs.

The causes of these changes are different, ranging from congenital predisposition, ending with metabolic disorders and changes in the internal organs.

In medical terminology, cracks on the tongue that are difficult to treat are called glossalgia. The disease is characterized by the visible external infringements of a tongue cover – cracks of small and medium size.

Why do congenital cracks occur?

In some cases, tongue defects are present from the birth. Such changes in the mouth do not cause discomfort. The main cause of cracks in the infancy is the so-called syndrome of “folded tongue.”

“Folded” or “scrotal” tongue syndrome does not require treatment. Children and adults with a similar symptom have no complaints; cracks do not cause discomfort; they are arranged longitudinally and laterally symmetrical to each other.

Causes of occurrence in adulthood?

Changes in the oral cavity as an adult, talk about serious violations in the work of the internal organs. It is also external factors that can be the root cause of the occurrence of the disease.

Main reasons:

  • dental or local;
  • diseases of organs, organ systems or internal.


Often dental reasons are caused by a disease that is known as glossitis. The disease can be identified by the appearance of small cracks on the tongue around which light spots are formed (plaque). A person feels discomfort – tingling, burning, in this time the body is undergoing an active inflammatory process.

The disease occurs in the background of:

  • allergic reactions to dental medicine (toothpaste, mouth rinses, etc.);
  • repeated traumas in the oral cavity. This may be involuntary biting of tongue, caused by a nervous reaction, wearing incorrect dentures

It is easy to get rid of local reasons, it is only necessary to remove the source of their origin (irritant).

Types of glossitis

tongue disease

  • desquamative glossitis can be described with pain in the oral cavity, swelling and burning. In the first days of the disease, lesions can be small, inconspicuous. Over time, the affected area is increased.

    Without treatment, glossitis becomes of a neglected form. Desquamative glossitis more commonly occurs in pregnant women, children, adolescents;

  • rhomboid glossitis is characterized by lesions section of a diamond shape on the tongue (hence the name). Often it occurs in the chronic form, with some relief from time to time.

    Diamond (rhomboid) glossitis does not cause pain for a patient, can develop over the years. The main reasons for the occurrence of the disease are considered to be an acute form of gastritis and low acidity;

  • folded glossitis can be characterized by the appearance of horizontal and vertical cracks on the surface of the tongue. Painful sensations are pronounced, often acute and growing.

    Complications of the disease – ulcers and abscesses. Most of all, men suffer from folded glossitis. The forms of the disease: superficial and deep glossitis. The first is much easier, it is better to treat.


In order to correctly identify the cause of oral lesions, you need to take the age into account. In a young age it can be caused, at the first place by the following reasons:

  • deficiency disease – a lack of vitamins A, PP and C in the body. The disease develops on the background of malnutrition;
  • worm infestation – a parasitic infection of the child by various forms of helminths. There are more than ten kinds of parasitic worms, which cause a variety of negative effects in the human body;
  • heavy metal salts in the gastrointestinal tract of a person.

In adulthood, the main reason for the lesions of a tongue surface are diseases of internal organs. First of all, problems with the gastrointestinal tract, it may be gastritis, cholecystitis in acute and chronic forms, ulcerative lesions of the stomach.

Dependence of occurrence on localization

Cracks may be located in the middle of the tongue, at its tip or side surfaces.

The lateral parts

The root causes of cracks in these parts may be blood diseases, particularly anemia and malfunction of the gastrointestinal tract, thyroid gland.

Anemia – a blood disorder that is characterized by a decrease in hemoglobin concentrations in a human body. This effect leads to the fact that the body tissue loses oxygen

In severe forms, anemia causes cracks on the surface of the tongue, as well as on the nails.

Diseases of the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) are the second leading cause of oral lesions. First of all, such diseases include gastrointestinal gastritis, colitis, i.e. those illnesses that lead to disorders in absorption and assimilation of nutrients, changes in the intestinal microflora.

Cracks on the tongue are one of the first symptoms of disorders of the gastrointestinal tract.

The main reason for the appearance of cracks on the side of the tongue is considered to be a malfunction of the thyroid gland. You can recognize the disease by the following features: the appearance of swelling in the mouth, discomfort.

At the tip of the tongue

The main causes of violations of the integrity of tissues on the tongue are injuries, burns, stomatitis development, disorders in the nervous system.

On the background of a weakened immune system trauma and burns lead to cracks in the oral cavity. In the case of insufficient protection of the body, it is enough to bite a tongue for a damage to appear on it.

Fast rhythm of life, overexertion, stress, fatigue can lead to the appearance of disturbances in the central nervous system. Often, after fatigue, a person during a sleep can mechanically bite a tongue, which eventually leads to cracks.

Stomatitis – a disease characterized by inflammation in the oral cavity. It can develop on the background of long-term consumption of hot food, ingestion of infections, the use of inappropriate drugs. Progression of the disease is accompanied by the appearance of cracks in the mouth and on the tongue.

In the center

tongue is covered with cracksThere are two reasons for the appearance of cracks in the middle of the tongue, these include diamond(rhomboid) and folded glossitis. The disease develops on the background of a weakened immune system, there is a tongue drainage, as a consequence, its surface is covered with cracks.

The reasons for the occurrence of deep cracks?

Damages on the tongue may vary in size and depth. Especially painful are cracks with a depth of more than six millimeters. In such cases, the remains of food are collected in the recesses, causing decay, unpleasant pain.

The causes of deep cracks, in general, are the same as the causes for the occurrence of small ones. The course of the disease is often accompanied by fever, malaise, general weakness.

There are a number of diseases in the course of which there is a deep lesion of the oral cavity. One of these diseases is iron deficiency anemia, which is common for women.

This fact can be explained in the way that during childbirth the body weakens and during lactation, large amounts of iron are being lost. The disease affects the entire mouth, abscesses are being formed on the tongue, as well as on the mucous membranes of the mouth.

Deep cracks appear during the disease, which is called geographical tongue“. Most often the disease affects the female part of the population, as well as children. The body becomes susceptible to disease development:

Reliably the causes of the disease are unknown, researchers suggest that it may be allergic reactions, as well as irregularities in the digestive system.

Rare and exceptional cases

Rare and exceptional cases of cracks on the tongueThere is a number of reasons for the appearance of cracks on the tongue that occur in medical practice rarely. One of these reasons is Melkersson-Rosenthal syndrome, which leads not only to the occurrence of lesions in the oral cavity, but also to the paralysis of the facial nerve, swelling of the lips.

Children with Down syndrome may also suffer from cracks on the tongue. According to sociological studies, five out of ten children with chromosomal disorders have cracks in the mouth.

A healthy human tongue is as follows: the color of pale pink, the fold is flat, no bends, buds are well expressed. If any changes in the appearance of the tongue are noticed, it is necessary not to delay with the visit to the doctor, which will help to determine the exact cause of the disease.

Diagnosis is carried out on the basis of the initial examining, in which attention is drawn to the location of the damage, the depth of the form. Also, the color of the tongue, the presence of plaque and other features are taken into account.

Dentists cannot always help with the problem of cracks, plaques and pain of the tongue. It is possible that the patient will be recommended to refer to another specialist – a neurologist.


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