The condition in which tongue gets inflamed, smooth and red colored is called glossitis.


It is also known as smooth tongue or burning tongue syndrome.

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Mild glossitis cause minor problems such as chewing, swallowing or speaking. If inflammation is severe it causes breathing troubles that is a medical emergency.

Long standing inflammation of tongue destroys the papillae of tongue. Function of papillae is to grip the food while chewing. It is present on the upper surface of the tongue and contains taste buds.

Glossitis may occur as a result of various conditions such as anemia, pellagra, syphilis or nutritional deficiencies or glossitis may be a primary disease.
Classification of Glossitis

• Geographic tongue (geographic tongue):
The tongue appears irregularly shaped, bright red surrounded by a narrow white zone.

• Median rhomboid glossitis:
A single rough area appears in the midline of the tongue.

• Atrophic glossitis:
Inflammation involves the anterior two-thirds of the tongue. It occurs as a result of chronic disease or malnutrition.

Causes of Glossitis

• Tongue injuries by biting on tongue by mistake or burning of tongue by hot drink or food causes glossitis.
• Poor oral hygiene can cause infection that results in glossitis.
• Dehydration.
• Skin disorders like oral lichen.
• Anemia.
• Insufficient intake of nutrients.
• Drinking too much alcohol.
• Spicy food.
• An allergic reaction.
• Certain medicines like diuretics, diabetes and high blood pressure medicines.
• Hormonal changes in the body sometimes cause glossitis.

Sign and Symptoms of Glossitis

• Tongue appears pale pink or dark red.
• Tongue is painful, swollen and sore.
• Pain while chewing or talking.
• Tongue appears smooth

Differential diagnosis of Glossitis

• Fungal infection.
• Lichen Planus.
• Psoriasis.
• Stomatitis.
• Cancers of the Oral Mucosa.

Investigations for Glossitis

• On examining the tongue, it shows the following signs:
– Tongue appears smooth, due to loss of papillae.
– Swollen patchy tongue.
• Blood tests may be done to rule out other medical conditions.

Treatment for Glossitis

• Antibiotics, antifungal medications depending on the cause of glossitis.
• Anemia and nutritional deficiencies should be treated.

Diet / management of Glossitis

• Maintain good oral hygiene.
• Avoid irritants to reduce discomfort.

Prognosis of Glossitis

The condition responds well to medicines.

Complications of Glossitis

• Severe inflammation of tongue causes breathing troubles by blocking airways.
• Difficulties with speaking, chewing or swallowing.

Homeopathic treatment for Glossitis

• Glossitis with high fever, hot and dry skin, headache, delirium, restlessness.
• Piercing and tingling pain in tongue with burning and swelling with inability to swallow.
• Face is swollen, red and hot.

Apis mell:
• Sensation of rawness, burning and blisters along the edges of tongue.
• Swelling is to the extent it causes suffocation.
• Patient drinks little at a time.

• Tongue hot and dry with red edges.
• Papillae of deep red color, highly inflamed.
• Burning pain on touching.

• Sore, burning and smarting vesicles in mouth.
• Fiery red tongue with inflammation of sublingual glands.
• Burning pain in mouth,throat and stomach.

• Swelling of tongue with ulceration of edges
• Imprints of teeth.
• Foul breath, profuse salivation.
• Stiffness of jaws and difficulty in swallowing.

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