Glossitis

Glossitis

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.

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.

Causes
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). Glossitis occurs when there is acute or chronic inflammation of the tongue. Causes include:
• Bacterial or viral infections (including oral herpes simplex)
• Mechanical irritation or injury from burns, rough edges of teeth or dental appliances, or other trauma
• Exposure to irritants such as tobacco, alcohol, hot foods, or spices
• Allergic reaction to toothpaste, mouthwash, breath fresheners, dyes in candy, plastic in dentures or retainers, or certain blood pressure medications (ACE inhibitors)
• Disorders such as iron deficiency anemia, pernicious anemia and other B-vitamin deficiencies, oral lichen planus, erythema multiform, aphthous ulcers, pemphigus vulgaris, syphilis, and others
• Yeast infection
• Dry mouth associated with connective tissue disorders, such as Sjogren syndrome
• Occasionally, glossitis can be inherited.

Symptoms
• Tongue swelling
• Smooth appearance to the tongue
• Tongue color usually dark “beefy” red
• Pale, if caused by pernicious anemia
• Fiery red, if caused by deficiency of B vitamins
• Sore and tender tongue
• Difficulty with chewing, swallowing, or speaking

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