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Glossitis: Symptoms, Causes And Treatment

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) explains glossitis as a general term for inflammation of the tongue. As with inflammation in other parts of the body, people with this condition can experience symptoms like swelling, redness and changes in the tongue's surface texture. Certain symptoms can be temporary or permanent, mild or serious.

Symptoms of Glossitis

Glossitis can appear out of nowhere, even if a person has not experienced it before. It may be distinguished by certain symptoms, including tongue swelling, redness, tenderness and changes in color. This condition may cause problems if the tongue becomes enlarged or makes chewing, speaking or swallowing difficult. A swollen tongue could also block the airway. If breathing becomes difficult, contact a dental or medical professional immediately.

Causes of Glossitis

According to the NIH, symptoms may be due to:

  • Various nutritional deficiencies, such as a lack of iron, folate or one or more of the B vitamins
  • An allergic reaction to food or medication
  • Bacterial, yeast or viral conditions
  • Trauma, such as a burn or abrasion
  • Reaction from eating spicy foods
  • Acid reflux
  • Dry mouth
Sometimes glossitis can be genetic. It can also stem from a systemic condition like acid reflux.

Treatment for Glossitis

A visit to your dental professional is recommended if you notice any change in color, size, texture or sensation with your tongue. The methods of treating glossitis vary depending on the cause.

If glossitis stems from a bacterial, fungal or yeast infection, your medical or dental professional may prescribe a medication to alleviate the symptoms and heal the infection. For viral or genetic conditions, a doctor can recommend a routine plan to treat the symptoms at home. This plan involves keeping your tongue and whole mouth healthy by brushing twice daily and flossing. To round out care, swishing with Colgate Peroxyl Mouth Sore Rinse helps cleanse and promote healing of minor mouth irritations, and provides a whole mouth clean after a daily regiment of brushing and flossing.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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