Median Rhomboid Glossitis: Occurrence, Symptoms and Treatment

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Do you stick out your tongue and notice that the color and the texture of it look a little off? If the discoloration and smooth patches are on the top part of your tongue, also known as the dorsum, ask your dentist about median rhomboid glossitis (MRG).

What Is Median Rhomboid Glossitis (MRG)?

MRG, also known as central papillary atrophy or glossal central papillary atrophy, is a smooth, dark pink to red, flat area on the top part of the middle to back of the tongue. This area is usually missing the filiform papillae, the finger-like projections covering this area of the tongue, and the condition can also affect parts of the hard and soft palate inside the mouth. With MRG, a small rhombus-shaped dot is present in the center of the tongue where the thicker and whiter papilla has been worn away.

Occurrence and Symptoms of Median Rhomboid Glossitis (MRG)

According to the American Academy of Oral Medicine, MRG occurs more often in men 30 to 50 years of age, and around 1 percent of the total population is affected. Median rhomboid glossitis is often asymptomatic, and is found by a dental professional during a routine care assessment. There is rarely soreness or pain associated with this oral condition, and it is believed to be caused by a chronic fungal infection related to the candida group of microorganisms. MRG is not contagious.

MRG occurs more often in the following types of patients, according to the National Health Service:

  • Diabetics, or those with another immuno-compromising disease
  • Smokers
  • Patients undergoing antibiotic, steroid or chemotherapy treatments
  • Denture wearers, especially if they don't take their dentures out before bedtime
  • People with dry mouth
  • Patients with low levels of iron, B12 or folate
  • Patients with a high-sugar diet

Treatment of Median Rhomboid Glossitis (MRG)

Often, there is no treatment recommended for MRG. A doctor may recommend a culture or lab biopsy to determine if medications are necessary. If additional aggressive fungal conditions accompany MRG, treatment may include the use of antifungal rinse such as nystatin or medication in tablet form to kill the bacteria and reduce symptoms.

Good oral hygiene at home may also reduce the risk of microorganism growth in the mouth. Brush twice daily, floss and consider adding a mouthwash to your oral hygiene routine. Colgate Total Daily Repair mouthwash helps repair daily damage to teeth, restores natural calcium and repairs weakened enamel.

If you suspect something is amiss in your mouth, schedule a visit with your dentist to rule out any serious condition and to get the treatment you need to keep your teeth, gums and tongue in tip-top shape.

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Common Conditions During ADULTHOOD

As we get older, dental care for adults is crucial. Here are a few of the conditions to be aware of:

Gum disease – if your home care routine of brushing and flossing has slipped and you have skipped your regular dental cleanings, bacterial plaque and tartar can build up on your teeth. The plaque and tartar, if left untreated, may eventually cause irreparable damage to your jawbone and support structures, and could lead to tooth loss.

Oral cancer – according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, men over the age of 40 have the greatest risk for oral cancer. About approximately 43,000 people will be diagnosed with cancer of the mouth, tongue or throat area, and the ACS estimates that about 7,000 people will die from these cancers. The use of tobacco products and alcohol increases the risk of oral cancer. Most oral cancers are first diagnosed by the dentist during a routine checkup.

Dental fillings break down – fillings have a life expectancy of eight to 10 years. However, they can last 20 years or longer. When the fillings in your mouth start to break down, food and bacteria can get underneath them and can cause decay deep in the tooth.