Alternate Names : Tongue inflammation, Tongue infection, Smooth tongue, Glossodynia, Burning tongue syndrome
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.
See also: Geographic tongue
Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors
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.
- 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.
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Review Date : 7/20/2009
Reviewed By : A.D.A.M. Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Greg Juhn, MTPW, David R. Eltz. Previously reviewed by James L. Demetroulakos, MD, FACS, Department of Otolaryngology, North Shore Medical Center, Salem, MA. Clinical Instructor in Otology and Laryngology, Harvard Medical School. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network (3/3/2009).