Geographic tongue typically doesn't require any medical treatment. Although geographic tongue can sometimes cause tongue discomfort, it's otherwise a harmless condition.
Your doctor may recommend medications to manage discomfort or sensitivity:
- Over-the-counter pain relievers
- Mouth rinses with an anesthetic
- Antihistamine mouth rinses
- Corticosteroid ointments or rinses
Because these treatments haven't been studied rigorously, their benefit is uncertain. Since the condition resolves on its own and has an unpredictable course, you may not be able to tell if the symptomatic treatments are actually working.
July 25, 2013
- Usatine RP, et al. The Color Atlas of Family Medicine. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2009. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=678. Accessed April 24, 2013.
- 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.
- Miloglu O, et al. The prevalence and risk factors associated with benign migratory glossitis lesions in 7619 Turkish dental outpatients. Oral surgery, oral medicine, oral pathology, oral radiology, and endodontics. 2009;107:e29.
- Honarmand M, et al. Geographic tongue and associated risk factors among Iranian dental patients. Iranian Journal of Public Health. 2013;42:215.
- Picciani B, et al. Geographic stomatitis: An oral manifestation of psoriasis? Journal of Dermatological Case Reports. 2012;6:113.
- Sheridan PJ (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. May 15, 2013.
- Salinas TJ (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. June 11, 2013.