Signs and symptoms of geographic tongue may include:
- Smooth, red, irregularly shaped patches (lesions) on the top or side of your tongue
- Frequent changes in the location, size and shape of lesions
- Discomfort, pain or burning sensation in some cases, most often related to eating hot, spicy, salty or acidic foods
Many people with geographic tongue have no symptoms.
Geographic tongue can persist for months or years. The problem often resolves on its own but may appear again at a later time.
When to see a doctor
Geographic tongue is a minor — although sometimes uncomfortable — condition. However, lesions on the tongue may indicate other more serious conditions of the tongue or diseases affecting the body in general. If you have lesions on the tongue that don't resolve within seven to 10 days, see your doctor or dentist.
Jul. 25, 2013
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- Reamy BV, et al. Common tongue conditions in primary care. American Family Physician. 2010;81:627.
- AskMayoExpert. Geographic tongue. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2013.
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- Sheridan PJ (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. May 15, 2013.
- Salinas TJ (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. June 11, 2013.
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