Geographic tongue typically doesn't require any medical treatment. Although geographic tongue can sometimes cause tongue discomfort, it's otherwise a harmless condition.
To manage discomfort or sensitivity, your doctor may recommend medications such as:
- Over-the-counter pain relievers
- Mouth rinses with an anesthetic
- Antihistamine mouth rinses
- Corticosteroid ointments or rinses
- Vitamin B supplementation, in some cases
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.
May 12, 2017
- Usatine RP, et al. Geographic tongue. In: The Color Atlas of Family Medicine, 2nd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2013. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=678. Accessed Jan. 27, 2017.
- Mangold AR, et al. Diseases of the tongue. Clinics in Dermatology. 2016;34:458.
- AskMayoExpert. Geographic tongue. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2016.
- Goldstein BG, et al. Oral lesions. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 26, 2017.
- Geographic tongue. The American Academy of Oral Medicine. http://www.aaom.com/. Accessed Jan. 27, 2017.
- Picciani BL, et al. Geographic tongue and psoriasis: Clinical, histopathological, immunohistochemical and genetic correlation — A literature review. Anais Brasileiros de Dermatologia. 2016;4:410.
- Salinas TJ (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Feb. 28, 2017.