Glossitis is a condition in which the tongue is swollen and changes color. Finger-like projections on the surface of the tongue (called papillae) are lost, causing the tongue to appear smooth.
Changes in the appearance of the
tongue may be a primary condition (not due to another disease or event), or
it may be a symptom of other disorders (a secondary condition).
Occasionally, glossitis can be inherited.
1. Tongue swelling
Exams and Tests
An examination by a dentist or
health care provider shows a swollen tongue (or patches of swelling).
The goal of treatment is to reduce
inflammation. Treatment usually does not require hospitalization unless
tongue swelling is severe.
Glossitis usually responds well to treatment if the cause of inflammation is removed or treated. This disorder may be painless, or it may cause tongue and mouth discomfort. In some cases, glossitis may result in severe tongue swelling that blocks the airway.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call for an appointment with your
health care provider if symptoms of glossitis persist for longer than 10
Good oral hygiene (thorough tooth brushing and flossing and regular professional cleaning and examination) may help prevent glossitis.
Tongue inflammation; Tongue infection; Smooth tongue; Glossodynia; Burning tongue syndrome
Burning mouth syndrome, burning tonuge (glossodynia). In: Buttaravoli P, ed. Minor Emergencies. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2007:chap 44.