Glossitis: Symptoms, Causes And Treatment

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) describes 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 texture of the tongue's surface. Symptoms can be temporary or permanent, mild or serious.

Symptoms of Glossitis

Glossitis can appear out of nowhere, whether or not a person has experienced it before. It can be distinguished by certain symptoms, including tongue swelling, redness, tenderness, and changes in colour. This condition may lead to problems if the tongue becomes enlarged or makes chewing, speaking or swallowing difficult.

A swollen tongue could also block the airway. If you have difficulty breathing, 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 to spicy foods
  • Acid reflux
  • Dry mouth

In some cases, 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 colour, size, texture or sensation regarding your tongue. Treatment methods for glossitis vary depending on the cause.

If glossitis stems from a bacterial, fungal or yeast disorder, your medical or dental professional may prescribe a medication to alleviate the symptoms and heal the disorder. For viral or genetic conditions, a doctor may recommend a routine to treat the symptoms at home. This routine would involve keeping your tongue and whole mouth healthy by brushing twice daily and flossing. In addition, swishing with mouthwash helps cleanse and promote healing of minor mouth irritations; in combination with a daily brushing and flossing routing, it will help keep your whole mouth clean.

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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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 germs can get underneath them and can cause decay deep in the tooth.

Keep your teeth clean with an oral health routine.

Establishing an oral health routine is important for a healthy mouth. Try one of our oral health products to help you establish a schedule.