Fissured tongue is also called "scrotal tongue", "lingua plicata", "Plicated tongue", and "furrowed tongue". It is characterized by the presence of one or more fissures, or deep grooves, on the dorsum of the tongue. It is a benign condition that is usually seen in patients with Down syndrome and Melkersson-Rosenthal syndrome. It is also associated with a condition called geographic tongue.
There are no known causes, but it is thought to be a genetic condition. It may also be caused by hot and spicy foods that burn and irritate the tongue, as well as cause pain and swelling in the oral cavity. Other reasons include uneven or broken teeth on which the tongue gets rubbed continuously, leading to recurrent pain, and an uneven tongue surface.
Sometimes, while sleeping, or under conditions of anxiety and stress, an individual may chew his/her tongue accidentally leading to permanent injury and fissures. Food allergy, or 'acid reflux', wherein the stomach acids may come up into the mouth causing the tongue to burn.
In case of the geographic tongue, the top layer of the tongue is shed off, leaving the tongue red and tender. This gives an appearance of a geographic map. Other problems include food allergy, habitual tobacco consumption, as well as pre-cancerous or cancerous growth in or around the tongue.
Signs and symptoms
- Cracks, grooves, or clefts are present on the top or side of the tongue.
- The depth of the fissures may vary, and can be as deep as 6 millimeters.
- The grooves may be connected to other grooves. This gives an appearance of small lobes or sections separating the tongue.
In most cases, there is no specific treatment required. However, the doctor may advise you to brush your tongue, and remove the debris that accumulates in the fissures. When food particles get stuck in the fissures and grooves, the individual is at risk for oral infections, and may also experience irritation. If one is not suffering from any other condition like the Melkersson-Rosenthal syndrome, no specific treatment may be advised. Pain is very rare, and if you experience constant pain, speak to your doctor.
Disclaimer: This Buzzle article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice.