The tongue is one of the organs that we use the most, since with it and thanks to it we can talk, chew, eat, taste ... But also, the tongue is an indicator of how well our children are. Do you take a look at this part of your little one's body often? Have you ever seen something that has upset or scared you? This time, I want to talk to you about what is geographic language in children, a disease that greatly worries parents.
It is common in the consultation to find patients who present alterations in the oral cavity, especially in children, who very commonly take everything to their mouth, exchanging what are called fomites, which are nothing more than toys or utensils that are in the school and that they are the cause of constant infections.
Months ago, the case of a four-year-old boy who presented a language as if it were a map came to my office. His parents, how could it be otherwise, were scared, and they had observed that it was something that disappeared, but that after time it returned to make an appearance.
The parents thought they were mushrooms, but upon examining I was surprised: they were not mushrooms, nor bites on the tongue. It was what is known as geographic language, a pathology that affects this organ, but in principle it is not serious.
The geographic language It is also known by the name ofbenign migratory glossitis (the term glossitis means inflammation of the tongue). It is an absolutely benign disease of the tongue that presents with flat pink or light red spots that can be single or multiple, with a white border, giving the appearance of a map.
As the days go by, this mapping of the tongue changes its appearance, adopting different shapes and colors until it disappears, being able to reappear many times in the same place or in another place on the tongue.
In some cases, it is not usually frequent, it can cause pain and sometimes burning, especially when eating acidic, spicy or highly seasoned foods. In no case does it usually affect the taste buds, so the sense of taste is not altered.
It is not known what the cause is (but you can rest assured that it is not a malignant, infectious, or contagious process), but it has been linked to:
- Eating spicy or very hot foods
- Hormonal changes.
- Seborrheic dermatitis.
- Alterations in the digestive tract (gastrointestinal problems).
It is very commonly confused with thrush or oral thrush, due to the appearance it takes on the tongue, but the lesions that appear differ in type. In the case of oral candidiasis they are like pinpoint whitish membranes on the tongue that, when detached, give the tongue the appearance of 'naked' and red. It is very common in newborns, generally after the first week of life, and requires medical treatment for the little one and for the mother in case of breastfeeding, since in this case it is spread through breastfeeding.
As we have said, the geographic language in children It is related to allergies of any kind, so if your child has been diagnosed with this pathology, there may be an allergic disease behind it, such as atopic dermatitis, allergic rhinitis or asthma. Of course, it is very important to emphasize that not every child with asthma or with any of these diseases will suffer from a geographic language.
Now, the part that all patients worry about, is it contagious? There is no possibility of contagion neither by sharing glasses, kisses, nor with the use of straws nor through saliva. Nor is it necessary to carry out any laboratory test or special study, the doctor simply needs to know that this entity exists in order to identify it and not confuse it with other pathologies.
In principle, the geographic language It does not need any treatment and it resolves spontaneously, although it is worth taking a series of measures so that the child does not have discomfort:
- Talk to the little one and tell him that it is something that will heal over time, so that he does not get overwhelmed.
- Never forget to brush your teeth and tongue.
- Mouthwashes can be used to regenerate the papillae more quickly.
- When the cause is known, solve its origin according to the doctor's instructions.
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