Geographic tongue

Geographic tongue


Geographic tongue is a condition in which the top and the sides of the tongue develop irregular, smooth, red areas, which look like a map. These areas tend to migrate or change positions.


The mechanism behind geographic tongue is irregular resurfacing of the superficial layers of the tongue mucosa. Why this happens is not known. The more red areas indicate thicker surface layer loss and are more susceptible to oral thrush (candidiasis). It affects both genders and all ages. Spicy or acidic food can make it uncomfortable or sore.


Your OMFS surgeon will diagnose the condition by looking at it. You generally don’t need a biopsy.


There is no treatment for the condition. If there is candidiasis, then this is treated with the appropriate anti fungal medications.

F8: Oral candidiasis
Oral candidiasis

Avoiding spicy food and irritants can alleviate the symptoms. Geographic tongue doesn’t turn into cancer.