Do you have fissures in your tongue? Apart from the strange looks on people's faces when they see you open your mouth, there really is not much to worry about this condition. Also called plicated or scrotal tongue, fissured tongue doesn't usually cause any harm. This condition, which is more common than you think, is characterized by the grooves in the dorsal and lateral aspects of the tongue. To appease yourself, feel free to visit your doctor and discuss this with him/her. You can also learn more about it by reading this article.
What does a fissured tongue look like?
A fissured tongue will have cracks, grooves and clefts. These marks appear on the top and sides of the tongue. They vary in depth but they can measure as deep as 6 millimeters. Grooves may be interconnected but they are typically separated into smaller sections.
What happens when you have these fissures?
The good news is, you won't experience any symptoms with this condition. That is except of course if debris build up within these fissures. When that happens, infection and inflammation may occur since bacteria feed on food particles trapped inside the mouth.
When do fissures appear?
Generally, fissures appear during childhood. But ironically, adults have more fissures than children. That's probably because the wrinkles become deeper and more pronounced as people get older. If a person goes to the dentist for a regular exam, the dentist will immediately find fissures in your tongue if you have them. Only 2 to 5 percent of the American population develop this condition. This is more common in men than women.
Are fissures a sign of another condition?
Yes, it may develop along with other medical conditions such as the geographic tongue. Geographic tongue, which is scientifically known as benign migratory glossitis (BMG), is a benign condition that doesn't cause any symptoms except for the occasional sensitivity to spicy foods.
A rare condition called Melkersson-Rosenthal syndrome has been proven to cause fissured tongue. It also causes facial swelling, lip swelling, and Bell's palsy. Bell's palsy refers to face paralysis. Moreover, about 8 out of 10 children who have the chromosomal disorder Down syndrome have fissured tongues.
How is this condition treated?
If the condition doesn't bring you any uncomfortable or painful symptoms then the only thing that your dentist would tell you to do is to brush your tongue regularly. This will help remove the food particles that may build up in the fissures and cause irritation and infection. For most cases, no treatment is necessary. The only time treatment is required is if you experience symptoms or complications from Melkersson-Rosenthal syndrome. In that case, your dentist will refer you to a specialist.