Geographic Tongue




Geographic Tongue (GT), it looks worse than it is, but it can be annoying.  It affects about 10% of the population.  Not all the time, but sometimes it can be painful. Every time I went to the dentist I got to hear about how I have a geographic tongue, and how there is nothing I can do about it.....    However my last several dentist trips not one word about geographic tongue?

Not my tongue but an example of what GT can look like, which mine frequently did.
This is mine now (years after I wrote this post).  I have rarely had any issues with GT.


When I get home I can't help but look at my tongue and guess what? 

No spots.

No wonder they didn't mention it because my tongue looked normal.  It didn't look normal for over two decades.  What could I be doing different or why might it better or maybe even gone?  Below is the short list of things I think have helped my tongue.

1. Stress

I have been staying at home with my daughter for 5 years now.  There are many challenges to staying at home, but my stress levels are way down and I have other physical benefits of reduced stress.  Mainly my cholesterol levels are much better (3.6 ratio when it was 5.1).  I know not everyone can stay home (and even if they did they might not be stress free!).  But there are many ways to reduce stress: walking, exercise, deep breathing, yoga, prayer and meditation - just to name a few.

2. Sugar

Really the only sugar I get is my daily dark chocolate fix.  Other than that no sugar.  I have noticed in the past hard candies and even cookies can aggravate my geographic tongue.  Even pineapple can make it worse.  When I was working full time it was not uncommon for me to eat cookies and brownies everyday.  I craved sugar and couldn't get enough of it!

3. Dental Care

This just might be the main cause of my geographic tongue disappearing.  I have started to make homemade toothpaste, for the recipe go here.  This and I have started oil pulling with coconut oil.  These are helping my mouth heal and are not harmful.  After doing some reading I found that tartar control toothpaste can aggravate (or maybe even cause) geographic tongue.  Wow, I was shocked.  Who would have guessed that my toothpaste might have caused my tongue to hurt. 

My tongue is not completely healed, and hormones could also be related (it can be worse during my monthly).  It is however much better than it has been.  Right now I just have one very small patch.  Do you have a geographic tongue?  What helps yours?

Other resources:
Getting Rid of Geographic Tongue
7 Things you Must Do to Cure It
Oil Pulling


Update:  I wrote this original post 3 years ago and I have to say that it's really gone.  If I eat pineapple or a lot of sugar I might get a flare up, but for the most part I don't have it any more...that is awesome!

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12 comments

  1. Oh my, I "suffer" from geographical tongue as well! I see an endocrinologist for my hashimoto's and he has helped me find my triggers to keep it at a minimum. And you're on the same track as me! My biggest are citrus, sugar, milk chocolate, and my cycle. And I need to use an all-natural toothpaste (I use Trader Joe's with flouride) and Act sensitive mouthwash which has no alcohol and the one ingredient (I forget the name) that my doctor says makes it burn. I've been pain free for about 18 months with this!!

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    1. Nikki, so glad you have been pain free. It is amazing what helps and what makes it worse.

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  2. I have suffered with very painful geographic tongue for years. It's the pain I hate more than anything as it just feels like someone dropped acid on my tongue and stings like crazy. It has always seemed to come along at the same time each month also, so there must be some like of hormonal factor involved. There are several things that have helped my tongue improve, but only one so far that seems to have really kept it at bay for 6 weeks now. I have been oil pulling with sunflower oil for about 5 months now, ever since my tongue didn't get as bad or painful and if I did get it, it cleared up faster and stayed smaller. But as I say it's been gone for 6 weeks now, no burns at all. I have felt the tingly feeling I get just before it usually arrives but if I make sure to oil pull and not forget that feeling goes. Also when I've sometimes missed the oil pulling over the weekend say when family get annoyed by it, my tongue has flared up again. The other things that improved my tongue but never cured are mainly using a toothpaste without any sodium lauryl sulphate which is very harsh, Vitamin B supplements, not drinking acidic fruit juices or coke, although I can have them now and again now I have it more under control. Oil pulling is kind of annoying at first but I would recommend giving it a go, it's also helped my spots, it is a natural remedy though and you need to stick with it for a while to see if it helps, you can't just do it for a day or two and expect miracles. I hope you all find a way to help the pain and annoyance of geographic tongue. By the way my grandma always gets the name wrong and tells everyone I have map tongue ;-)

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    1. I agree oil pulling can be,weird but I think it really helps.

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  3. I was diagnosed with geographic tongue by a rheumatologist. The first and only doctor that had any idea about what the heck could be going on. I've got one ugly tongue, as I've got a fissured (cracked) tongue to go along with it. Picture cracks all over your tongue, with white rimmed lesions moving about day to day. Talk about ugly. What I've noticed? Sugar makes it worse, and I'm addicted. I've had a cold for a few days now, and cough drops have made an absolute mes of my tongue. I'm considering trying the oil pulling, although it doesn't sound all too yummy. I've tried vitamin B supplememts, without success, any one know of other supplements that may work? I've been sufferring along with this for nearly two years now, and it's really gotten annoying!

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  4. I am the anonymous poster from above, my name is Lisa and I am 41. I highly recommend oil pulling as it's the only thing that has helped get completely rid of it. In between posting this and now I had a few days away on holiday, I didn't oil pull and my tongue came back within 2 days including a small fissure. Although it has not been sore as it usually is as I started oil pulling the day it came back and now it's well on it's way to going again. It really is not too bad, just don't swallow the oil, it's actually quite a nice natural cleanser for your mouth and it feels soothing, use something nice like sunflower oil or coconut oil, I tried olive oil and it felt too harsh, it's also really good for your teeth and other ailments, sometimes things get a little worse before they get better with oil pulling though, so I would say to please give it a go for a few months, you just need 20 mins spare a day where nobody is going to bother you. I go glug some and then make the beds and feed my cat, empty the dishwasher and it's almost done :-) Sometimes I get a tingly feeling that always meant my tongue would be about to burn, but when I get that feeling now, the oil makes it go away :-)

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    1. I tried olive oil too, it was not good! My favorite is coconut oil and I usually do it during or after a shower and I haven't pulled for more than 10 minutes. With a toddler under foot I don't usually get 20 minutes. Even if the pulling doesn't cure it, it really does make it feel better!

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    2. During the shower is a great idea, why didn't I think of that? My main problem is when my hubby and son are home, they always want to ask me things, I end up trying to mumble the answers, so on days like that I don't tend to pull for long either, I can go for almost an hour if I am on my own. By the way, my son is almost 23, so they don't hassle you any less with age ;-)

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  5. Oh and I only use about 2 teaspoons, I find a tablespoon too much for me :-)

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  6. Hi, looks like I suffer from this annoying condition too! Just curious, is the oil pulling still working at keeping it away?

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  7. Hi, I've had geographic tongue for at least 5 years (40 yo) and I was advised by my dentist to change my toothpaste to pronamel by sensodyne (previously used colgate). It went away, within one week. I am shocked, as I really didn't believe it would make a difference. I don't know if something in pronamel is soothing or not, but when I first used it, my tongue actually felt better right away. The few fissures I had are improving as well. Hopefully it will last...

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  8. I'm Seriously Suffering From My Gt. What Is Oil Pulling? Ent Told Me There Was NOTHING i Could Do. Im Addicted To Altoids... Think Im Gonna Stop Those!! Very Interesting.

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