11/17/2009 - Articles

Fissured tongue: Why is my tongue fissured?

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Fissured tongue: Why is my tongue fissured?

Fissured tongue (or cracked tongue) is a condition frequently seen in the general population. It's also known as ‘scrotal tongue’ or ‘lingua plicata’ and is characterized by one or more fissures or grooves on the tongue. Why is your tongue fissured? What are the causes of fissured tongue? Can a fissured tongue heal?
There are other questions you might want to ask if you're suffering from a fissured tongue. We will try to answer some of them.

In this article:
What Causes Fissured Tongue
Are Fissured Tongue and Diabetes linked?
A Treatment for Fissured Tongue?

Question

I have had fissures in my tongue (Fissured tongue) for as long as I can remember. For the most part it didn't bother me. Now, for the past year, I've had lots of pain - it comes and goes. Sometimes I get a painful pimple or blister on the tip of my tongue. Also there are times when it feels like pins and needles in my tongue. My doctor tells me my tongue is swollen. Why is my tongue fissured? Do you know a cure for my fissured tongue?

Answer

What Causes Fissured Tongue...
There is no known reason for fissured tongue but by virtue of its anatomical position, the tongue is subject to irritants from multiple different sources. Anything coming into the mouth, such as hot or spicy foods, can burn or irritate the tongue, and thus become the source of recurring pain or swelling. The tongue can rub against uneven or broken teeth causing a recurrent, painful problem resulting in a fissured tongue.

During times of anxiety or tension, even during sleep, people can chew on their tongue leading to damage (fissures in tongue amongst other things). Additionally, allergic reactions to foods can cause the symptoms you describe. A problem called 'acid reflux' brings acid from the stomach into the throat and mouth, usually at night, with a resultant burning of the tongue. Tobacco in any form as well as alcohol are significant tongue irritants.
Problems may also develop in the tongue without an apparent outside cause.

The cracks you describe can be due to a 'fissured' or 'scrotal' tongue, which is a benign problem. A 'geographic' tongue is when the tongue sheds part of its top layer; this leaves red, tender areas on the tongue that look like a map. After healing, the tongue is back to normal, but the problem is often recurrent.

More seriously, cancers or pre-cancer growths can develop in or on the tongue causing pain and swelling. Therefore, if you have noticed cracks or fissures in your tongue and if you have not already done so, I highly recommend that you have your problem evaluated by an ear, nose and throat physician (an otorhinologist).

Are Fissured Tongue and Diabetes linked?
A fissured tongue may be an indication of a yeast infection, and diabetics are more prone to infections than the general population. Other medical conditions, such as anemia and vitamin or mineral deficiencies, or local irritants, such as cigarette smoking, alcohol, and strong mouthwashes, may also cause fissured tongue. If you are concerned about a sore, fissured tongue or burning tongue, talk to your doctor.

A Treatment for Fissured Tongue?
Fissured tongue is a benign problem that does not require any specific treatment or cure. You can brush the top surface of your tongue to remove any remainder that may cause irritation.

Fissured tongue is a frequent condition that can cause mouth pain. You can learn more about what is causing a painful mouth?

If you are concerned about Fissured Tongue, you might want to read these articles:

 

Created on: 10/06/2009
Reviewed on: 11/17/2009

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Anonymous wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

My tongue is intermittently deeply and painfully fissured. It is bright red...looks a bit like lean raw steak. It develops a patch of white that looks like yeast, but is not. I can't say how many times it has been cultured...always negative. This flares when I have flares of psoriatic arthritis. My point is that it is not always a benign condition.