What is glossitis?
Glossitis is a condition characterized by a swollen, smooth-looking tongue that has changed color, commonly to an unusually dark red color. Glossitis is also called smooth tongue and burning tongue syndrome.
Tongue/Mouth Problems Spotlight
Your tongue is made up of muscles and helps you to talk, swallow, taste and chew. The upper surface of your tongue is lined with papillae, which are little bumps that help grip food as you chew and contain your taste buds. Glossitis involves acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term) inflammation of the tongue that results in destruction of the papillae. Glossitis may cause discomfort and interfere with important everyday activities involving the tongue and mouth, such as speaking, chewing and swallowing. In some cases, glossitis can cause blockage of the airway and interfere with breathing.
Glossitis can occur alone, or it can be caused by diseases, disorders and conditions that may lead to serious complications in some cases. Glossitis can result from infection, inflammation, allergy, trauma, and certain disorders, such as anemia. For example, you can develop glossitis from a yeast infection in the mouth, ill-fitting dentures, burns or other tongue injuries, or you may have a genetic susceptibility to the condition.
Treatment of glossitis involves treating the inflammation of the tongue, as well as any underlying cause of the glossitis. Depending on the cause, treatments may include medications, changes in diet, attention to oral hygiene, and other therapies.
In some cases, glossitis can be due to serious and even life-threatening diseases and conditions, such as bacterial or viral infections, syphilis, or certain forms of anemia. Seek prompt medical care if you have discomfort or changes in the appearance of your tongue, or other mouth or tongue symptoms. Early diagnosis and treatment can reduce the risk of serious complications, such as severe tongue swelling that blocks the airway and interferes with breathing.
Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have a swollen tongue, change in consciousness, or any difficulty breathing.
What are the symptoms of glossitis?
The symptoms of glossitis include:... Read more about glossitis symptoms
What causes glossitis?
Glossitis may occur by itself, or it may be caused by a variety of diseases, disorders and conditions. Some causes of glossitis are potentially serious and even life threatening, such as pernicious anemia or pemphigus vulgaris (an autoimmune disorder). Other causes may be relatively mild, such as a small cut when you have bitten your tongue.... Read more about glossitis causes