Glossitis is a condition where the tongue may be swollen, discolored, and have a smooth appearance. The papillae or bumps on the tongue may disappear. The inflammation may be painful and make it difficult to eat or talk.
Common causes of glossitis may include an allergic reaction (especially to certain toothpastes or blood pressure medications), autoimmune conditions (your body’s defense system mistakenly attacks your tongue), low iron levels, vitamin B deficiencies, infection, dry mouth (not enough saliva) and trauma or injury to your tongue. Risk factors for glossitis include injury to the mouth, having braces or dentures, herpes virus infection, eating spicy foods, or eating a poor diet low in nutrition.
In order to diagnose glossitis, a doctor will examine your tongue. Blood tests may be used to find the underlying cause. The goal of treatment will be to reduce the swelling and correct or control the underlying cause if possible. Good oral hygiene, including brushing teeth twice a day, is very important. Depending on how severe the glossitis is, a doctor may prescribe medications or a solution to put on the tongue (topical). If the glossitis is being caused by a poor diet, you may be referred to a nutritionist or dietary specialist. Certain supplements may be suggested. Talk with your doctor about the most current treatment options. Depending on the underlying cause, support groups may be a good source of information and can help connect you with others experiencing similar symptoms.