The sudden appearance of an innocuous wound on the surface of the tongue qualifies for a geographic tongue. The wound looks like smooth red islands surrounded with white hence the name.
Its smoothness is as a result of the absence of tiny protrusions that typically covers the surface of a tongue. The difference in the texture and color of different areas on the tongue makes it appear like a map.
Geographic tongue is scientifically called benign migratory glossitis. Although it’s unattractive and looks like a severe condition, it does not have any adverse effect on your health. The pattern of a geographic tongue is continually changing as a wound can appear to have healed and then reappear on another spot.
Over the counter, analgesics can help alleviate the discomfort associated with this condition. Staying away from salty, acidic, or spicy food and anything that can irritate the tongue will be helpful. Using mouth rinses that contains steroids, anesthetic, or antihistamines can also prove an effective way of getting relief from the discomfort.
The actual causes of geographic tongue are not yet known. However, genetics, lack of vitamin B, alcohol irritation, and some specific spicy food could be among the causative factors.
No laboratory test is required to diagnose a geographic tongue as it is quite obvious just from looking at the tongue. Even though this condition will go away on its own, it would be wise to see a dentist when they appear on your tongue.