Sometimes we see a patient with a fissured tongue or a tongue that displays single, multiple, shallow, or deep grooves or fissures. Frequently, a prominent fissure is seen in the middle of the tongue. While this anomaly can be somewhat pronounced, a fissured tongue is not medically serious.
How Does A Fissured Tongue Develop?
According to the American Academy of Oral Medicine, most tongue fissures develop on the middle third of a person’s tongue and only occur in about 5% of the U.S population. The condition often affects older men, and the severity increases as people age. In some cases, a white coating may develop on the tongue if it is not thoroughly cleaned. Researchers do not know what causes a fissured tongue. However, a fissured tongue and geographic tongue may occur in combination. A geographic tongue is also called benign migratory glossitis, an inflammation that typically appears on the tongue’s sides and top.
Cleaning A Fissured Tongue
It is essential to clean a fissured tongue to reduce problems with bad breath or with infections. When a tongue shows a white coating, it results from a swelling and overgrowth of the tongue’s papillae – fingerlike projections on a tongue’s surface. The white coating results when dead cells, bacteria, and debris become lodged within the sometimes inflamed and enlarged papillae. To ensure that you do not have this problem, you should clean your tongue every day, whether it is fissured or not, either in the morning or evening, when you brush your teeth. We often suggest using baking soda on the tongue and a soft toothbrush to arrest the harmful bacteria in the mouth. Always brush your tongue after you brush your teeth.
If you have a fissured tongue, you still need to make sure you clean it well. While a cracked tongue is not a real cause for concern, you need to keep it clean to prevent infections or halitosis. Also, scheduling regular exams and professional cleanings should be on your to-do list. Give us a call today if you need to schedule a dental check-up and cleaning.