Fissured tongue is a nonthreatening condition, but it can still be very uncomfortable. The word “fissure” means crack, gap or split, so a fissured tongue is a tongue with visible cracks, splits or grooves on the surface. Most times, the main fissure occurs right down the middle of the tongue. Fissures can be of different shapes and could be deep or shallow. Other names for fissured tongues are scrotal tongue, lingua plicata, and cracked tongue.
What Causes Fissured Tongue?
There is no known cause of fissured tongue. It could develop during childhood, but it is more prominent as people grow. It is the most common among the elderly. Anyone can have fissured tongue later in life, but men are more estimated to have fissured tongue than women. It is important to remember that a fissured tongue should not be confused with another condition, known as the geographical tongue. Geographical tongue is a condition where the tiny bumps on the tongue are inflamed, forming an unusual pattern on the tongue resembling continents on a map. While they are not the same, they do often show up together.
Should a Fissured Tongue Bother Me?
Seeing cracks or grooves on your tongue should not be a cause for alarm. Sometimes, patients do not even notice it until we discover it during a routine checkup. It really has no symptoms and, therefore, it is not contagious. Note that the deep cracks can actually harbor bacteria and food particles, though, so we would advise that patients with cracks to sufficiently clean their tongue regularly, while also paying more attention to the fissures. Paying special attention to cleaning your tongue would also help avoid irritation and eliminate bad breath that could arise from food stuck in the grooves. No treatment is also needed for a fissured tongue, as it has no pathological symptoms. Patients only need to improve their oral hygiene to avoid complications arising from it. If you feel some pain on your tongue or see wounds around the grooves, please do not hesitate to call us today to discuss these changes.