Glossitis: Symptom and Causes


Symptoms may include:
  • Swelling of the tongue
  • Smooth appearance of the tongue
  • Tongue color changes (usually dark "beefy" red)
  • Soreness, pain or tenderness in the tongue
  • Difficulty with chewing, swallowing, or speaking


The condition may be caused due to following factors:
  • Bacterial or viral infections (including oral herpes simplex)
  • Mechanical irritation or injury from burns, rough edges of teeth or dental appliances, or other trauma
  • Exposure to irritants such as tobacco, alcohol, hot foods, or spices
  • Allergic reaction to toothpaste, mouthwash, breath fresheners, dyes in candy, plastic in dentures or retainers, or certain blood-pressure medications (ACE inhibitors)
  • Disorders such as iron deficiency anemia, pernicious anemia and other B-vitamin deficiencies, oral lichen planus, erythema multiforme, aphthous ulcer, pemphigus vulgaris, syphilis, and others
  • Occasionally, glossitis can be inherited

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