Geographic tongue is a condition in which a person’s tongue looks map-like because of red patches that form on it. In most cases, it doesn’t cause pain and isn't harmful, but it can make the tongue more sensitive and cause discomfort when a person eats certain foods. There is no medical need for geographic tongue treatment, which usually heals on its own, but a person may use a variety of treatments for relieving discomfort. The best treatments for geographic tongue may be pain relievers and medications that help to reduce inflammation. Sometimes corticosteroids, which are steroid hormones; zinc supplements; and preventative measures may prove helpful as well.
Typically, geographic tongue heals on its own, but it may come back again or move to another part of the affected person's tongue. While a person with this condition isn't sick or in any type of health-related danger, geographic tongue can be uncomfortable, especially when spicy foods or coffee are consumed. In such a case, a person may use over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and aspirin, as a geographic tongue treatment. An individual who is attempting to treat geographic tongue this way may need to take repeat doses of over-the-counter medication in order to maintain symptom relief. Patients are usually advised against exceeding the recommended daily dosage without a doctor’s approval, however.
If over-the-counter medications don’t help to relieve symptoms, a person may ask his doctor for help. Sometimes a doctor will prescribe corticosteroids as a geographic tongue treatment. Corticosteroids are steroid hormones that may be administered in a variety of forms. When applied topically, they may provide a measure of symptom relief.
Sometimes a person’s geographic tongue symptoms may be associated with a zinc deficiency. As such, taking a zinc supplement may help to boost the individual’s immune system and prevent or reduce a person’s symptoms. This geographic tongue treatment may not always work, however.
While scientist have yet to discover a way to prevent geographic tongue, there are some ways to prevent the discomfort that may arise from it. For example a person may avoid alcoholic beverages; spicy foods; cigarette and cigar smoke; and acidic foods and beverage to prevent pain or discomfort. He may also do well to avoid toothpastes that have ingredients added to them to whiten the teeth or control tartar. Toothpastes with a lot of flavoring may also make symptoms worse and may be best avoided as well.