What happens on the tongue spots appear in the form of a map of the world?

Geographic language is an inflammatory alteration of the tongue that generates irregular, smooth, red spots with a white contour, according to the National Health Service (NHS). It is popularly known as “geographical language“, because the set of drawings that form the spots on the tongue looks like a mundi map. The scientific name is benign migratory glossitis, because it is a type of glossitis in which spots can vary in size and move. It is a condition that is not contagious or dangerous and does not affect the sense of taste, but if the symptoms persist for more than 10 days, it is advisable to visit the doctor or dentist.


The cause of this is unknown. According to the study “Geographical language and atopic dermatitis: a frequent association”, this affectation can be influenced by infectious, emotional (stress and anxiety), irritants (hot or spicy foods), nutritional deficiencies, alcohol, tobacco, asthma, rhinitis or skin allergies such as atopic dermatitis [ii]. According to the researchers, these factors lead to the loss of filiform taste buds that cause the formation of maculas in certain areas of the tongue with the appearance of spots. Despite the loss of taste buds, as it usually happens superficially along with the regenerative capacity of the papillae, it does not affect the sense of taste.

Susceptible population:

It has a greater presence in patients who are in first and second childhood or puberty and in patients of the female sex. [ii]


There is no known treatment, but the Bascones-Martínez study points out 4 ways to lighten the effects:

  1. Eliminate irritating and inflammatory factors: alcohol, tobacco and hot, spicy or excessively seasoned foods.
  2. Good oral hygiene: take special care in lingual cleaning.
  3. Use of mouthwashes with local anesthetics or antihistamines in solution, topical application of corticosteroids, (always under prescription and medical supervision).
  4. Topical antifungals in case of fungal over-infection (Candida Albicans), (always under prescription and medical supervision).

Related Posts