Geographic Tongue is an annoying condition where the tongue develops “Bald” patches often surrounded with a thin white line. It is not considered serious or life threatening by doctors. These patches are called “denuded” meaning that the “papillae” or little bumps on the tongue have actually fallen off. Fortunately the papillae tend to replace themselves in 7 to 10 days.
If you have Geographic Tongue and watch it carefully, as I have, you will notice that the replacement process is what gives the tongue the appearance of the patches moving around on the tongue. This by the way is where the technical name (“Migratory Glossitis”) for geographic tongue comes from. It appears to me that as the older papillae fall off they aren’t replaced quickly enough so the bald patches develop. After a few days new “baby papillae” start to appear within the bald patch but by then another spot is losing its bumps.
By now you may have heard that there isn’t much you can do about Geographic Tongue… most doctors (but not all) don’t have a clue how to treat it. So they tell you, you’ll just have to learn to live with it.
A few medical studies have been done. Unfortunately, those studies are mostly statistical in nature. They have found that roughly 3% of the world’s population has geographic tongue. They also found that more women than men seem to get Geographic Tongue and also that women on birth control pills seem to experience the worst symptoms on day 17. From this they surmise that the problem may be related to hormones. Also people with already weakened systems people or those who are extra sensitive to the environment, like those with asthma, allergies, eczema and immune deficiencies seem to get it more often than more “healthy” people.
Several studies have found that geographic tongue tends to run in families. But they haven’t found any definite pattern of inheritance like you find with eye color or tongue rolling. It is possible that the reason for this tendency is that the nutritional intake within the family is also very similar resulting in the same condition.
Unfortunately, most researchers have not looked into the nutritional aspects of geographic tongue although some research has been done in Europe and Asia. Findings have shown that there are several nutrients that will cause geographic tongue like symptoms. As a matter of fact deficiencies in several vitamins including the B- Vitamins have been classified as the direct cause of tongue problems. It is therefore likely that the other factors like hormones and tendency to occur with in people with weak immune systems and other problems may be a result of vitamin deficiencies related to those problems rather than genetics or other reasons for correlation.
About the Author: Timothy McMahon of Healthy Tongue Secrets has published a book compiling the various nutritional and other methods of treatment that have found success among sufferers of Geographic Tongue. He has created a new updated version called, Treating and Beating Geographic Tongue and Other Tongue Problems for more information about this book and how to get your copy Click Here