Fissured Tongue: What You Need to Know

ADG-Man Cleaning His Tongue

The tongue is the strongest muscle in our body.

It’s also an essential part of the oral cavity, allowing us to communicate with others and taste our food. It’s only natural we take care of it just as we take care of our teeth and gums.

Do you think your tongue has deep grooves? You might have a fissured tongue; about five percent of Americans have this condition. Learn what a cracked tongue means to your oral health, its signs, and how to get rid of it with Advanced Dental Group.

What is a Fissured Tongue?

Knowing what a healthy tongue looks like will help us understand what a fissured tongue is. If you look at a tongue health chart, a healthy tongue is pink and covered with tiny bumps known as papillae. Most of these papillae are filiform papillae, filling the majority of the tongue’s surface. Other types of papillae include fungiform, foliate, and circumvallate. These papillae grow and change at different rates, often altering how the tongues’ surface looks.

On the other hand, a fissured tongue has cracks and crevices that vary in length and depth. Sometimes, they may also have a prominent crack in the middle. They may seem scary at first, but they are completely normal.

These cracks and creases tend to get deeper with age. It’s also common for older adults with dry mouths to have fissured tongues. Luckily, you won’t need to worry much about external factors that may cause them to worsen or deepen. It also won’t require you to drastically change your diet or avoid oral care products.

What Causes a Cracked Tongue?

Researchers are still trying to determine the exact cause of fissured tongues. It maybe a genetic condition since it’s often found in families in great numbers. Its signs may appear in childhood, becoming more prominent with age.

In rare cases, malnutrition may cause a cracked tongue. A study done in 2016 showed a correlation between vitamin B12 deficiency and cracked tongues. Another study in 2015 also suggests that the pain linked to a cracked tongue is caused by deficiencies in B vitamins, iron, and zinc. They also note that the pain might be associated with poor oral hygiene, esophageal regurgitation, and medication use.

A fissured tongue is more common in men than women. It’s also associated with other conditions like:

  • Melkersson-Rosenthal Syndrome – This condition is characterized by weak facial muscles, swollen lips and face, and a fissured tongue.
  • Down syndrome – A fissured tongue is common in most patients with chromosomal disorders.
  • Orofacial granulomatosis – A rare condition distinguished by swollen lips, mouth, and area surrounding the mouth.
  • Pustular psoriasis – A rare form of severe psoriasis characterized by skin inflammation and small, pus-filled blisters.
  • Geographic tongue – This condition happens when the papillae are missing, making already-present fissures more prominent.

Complications of a Fissured Tongue

Some patients may feel some discomfort on the surface of their tongues. They also don’t cause issues that are too severe; however, a fissured tongue causes:

Bad Breath

The tongue has different terrains, which can influence how bad your breath will smell. The likelihood of halitosis is higher for those with a rougher tongue, deep grooves, and fissures.

Fissured tongue causes bad breath since the crevices and grooves provide an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive.

Oral Health Issues

The bacteria living in the crevices and grooves of a fissured tongue can also cause tooth decay. In rare cases, Candida albicans can infect deep grooves that will need to be treated by a topical anti-fungal drug.

How to Get Rid of Fissured Tongue

There is no specific fissured tongue treatment. But, you can do some things to prevent oral health problems linked to them.

Watch what you consume.

Dietary changes may help with the discomfort felt from a fissured tongue. Avoid foods that are sour, salty, spicy, and hot. Some people report avoiding black tea and coffee also helps.

Drinking aloe vera juice can help relieve an itchy tongue. It also helps to eat foods rich in iron or biotin, especially if your cracked tongue is made worse by vitamin deficiencies.

Stay hydrated to help keep the fissures of your tongue free from debris and avoid tobacco and alcohol; they can irritate your tongue and make the fissures deeper over time. Chewing tobacco may also cause your tongue to look hairy, black, and cracked.

Clean your tongue.

Aside from keeping up with good oral care, you should also clean your tongue at least twice a day. Try adding a tongue scraper to your regimen; aside from reducing bad breath, it also helps keep your whole oral cavity healthy and clean. Use a tongue scraper before or after brushing your teeth, and be gentle in using it.

Here are a few tips to help you clean your tongue with a tongue scraper:

  • You can move the scraper over your tongue at various angles.
  • You can place the scraper at the back of your tongue before pulling it all the way towards the front.
  • Rinse your mouth with water to remove bits of food from your tongue.
  • Keep your tongue scraper clean by rinsing it after each use.

Use your toothbrush if you don’t have a tongue scraper. Use a bit of toothpaste to brush your tongue. Begin at the back, then work your way towards the front while moving your toothbrush back and forth with a gentle but firm pressure.

Cleaning your whole mouth, including the tongue, will keep it healthy and your breath fresh.

Visit your dentist.

People with fissured tongues don’t usually feel any symptoms. However, visiting a dentist at least twice a year is still part of routine oral care. Routine visits to your dentist can help them detect any issues or anomalies in your oral health. It will also help them notice any abnormalities with tongue papillae and other oral problems.

A fissured tongue may cause some alarm, but it’s not a sign of poor oral health. Keep up with oral hygiene and make sure you attend your dental appointments as you usually do.

Contact Advanced Dental Group

Taking care of your whole mouth should not be hard. Whether you’re seeking fissure tongue treatment or planning to have a dental procedure, we can connect you to Dentists Avon, CO, who can provide the best treatments that suit your needs and preferences. Don’t hesitate and give us a call today.