Geographic tongue is a benign condition that gets its name from irregular shaped patches on the dorsum of the tongue that may resemble a map with different states or countries.


Synonym: benign migratory glossitis, glossitis areata migrans


Clinical features:

(1) The patient has multiple patches on the dorsum of the tongue that may range from white to red in color.

(2) The papillae may be hypertrophied (whitish patches) or atrophic (erythematous patches).

(3) The patches migrate and change appearance on a daily basis.

(4) The patient may experience tongue discomfort when eating certain foods or drinking certain liquids, especially if the patient also has fissured tongue.

(5) The condition tends to resolve on its own after several months or years.


Risk factors:

(1) atopy

(2) pustular psoriasis

(3) family history of geographic tongue


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