After a few weeks or months the position of these lines and red patches change.
The causes of Geographic Tongue are not understood, the normal top layer of the ‘skin' of the tongue is not shed evenly. In some parts the ‘skin' is shed too early and so leaves a red, sore area like a scratch on the skin. Whereas in other areas the skin stays on too long and has a white appearance.
As the red areas are thin, they can sometimes become infected with thrush (candida) and so feel sore. Thrush is very common in mouths.
The condition affects all age groups and may be first noticed as a child. It is not something that can be passed on to others but it can run in families. It is not an infection.
The condition can become painful if acidic things like citrus fruit or spicy foods especially chillies are eaten. These do not make the condition worse.
The diagnosis of Geographic Tongue is made from the appearance
TreatmentUnfortunately, there is no treatment. Sometimes treatments for thrush can ease the discomfort. These can be bought at the chemist, eg miconazole gel.
Geographic Tongue will never become cancerous.
Avoiding foods which cause discomfort is important.