I have had a geographic tongue for more than three years. What caused it, and how do I get rid of it? My tongue becomes inflamed once a month, but the lines and indentations are always present.
Genetics may play a lead or supporting role in geographic tongue—one that looks like a map with areas marked by raised lines or borders. Stress, hormones, or allergies can trigger the bothersome but largely harmless problem. While its underlying cause remains a mystery, doctors say the condition occurs when small bumps called papillae that usually cover the tongue’s surface go missing. As papillae heal, the affected patches may change size, color, or location. Salty, spicy, hot, or acidic foods (especially fresh pineapple), and toothpastes with heavy flavoring or whitening agents can cause a flare-up. Mouth rinses with a numbing ingredient, topical corticosteroids, and zinc supplements may help ease symptoms. Some report relief with extra vitamin B complex. Also called benign migratory glossitis, geographic tongue is not linked to cancer.