If the tongue appears to be pale or sore and sometimes inflamed, then it may be an indication of an underlying health condition. Sometimes the tongue tends to become swollen and enlarged due to the presence of an infection or any health related disorder. This condition is known as scalloped tongue.
According to the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), a scalloped or fissured tongue occurs when there is a deficiency of yang or qi (pronounced as 'chi') in the body.
What May Cause Scalloped Tongue?
# A crenated or rough tongue can be caused due to a deficiency in the secretion of the thyroid hormone, which can lead to an under active thyroid, also called hypothyroidism.
The thyroid gland which is the master gland controls many of the functions of the body, including metabolism. The decrease in the functioning of the thyroid gland can cause enlargement to the glands. Some glands also change their shape or shrink in size, and this may result in a swollen tongue.
# A swollen or fissured tongue can result from water retention in the body. Excess of dampness or water accumulation can be an indication of qi deficiency (or spleen deficiency), which may lead to the failure of proper transformation of food and liquid into energy. This will result in crenated tongue which is seen as swollen and marked with teeth.
# Another little known causative factor for fissures on the tongue is sleep apnea, which is a sleep related disorder. This condition can cause disturbances in the breathing pattern during sleep.
This condition is caused because the tongue falls back into the oral cavity while sleeping. The teeth tend to put pressure on the tongue which may leave groove like impressions or fissures on the tongue.
# Temporomandibular joint, also known as TMJ syndrome is also one of the reasons for noticing a swelling on the tongue. In the TMJ syndrome, the lower jaw is unstable and in order to support the jaw, the teeth need to be always clenched. This clenching of teeth leads to the formation of grooves on the tongue, which makes it look similar to a swollen tongue.
Scalloped or crenated tongue can result from the deficiency of thyroid hormones. There are symptomatic treatments available for the symptoms related to spleen deficiency.
There are many over the counter hormone medications available in the market in order to boost the thyroid hormones. In case this tongue problem is caused due to TMJ syndrome, then it is advisable to consult a TMJ dentist, who may diagnose the condition and give the appropriate treatment.
Though there are no known cures or treatments for scalloped tongue, this condition is completely harmless. The swelling may come down with time, after taking supplements for bringing back the level of hormones to normal which can aid the proper functioning of the spleen and the digestive system.