Fissured Tongue – Treatment, Causes, Pictures and Symptoms


What is Fissured Tongue?

Fissure is defined as a long, narrow opening or line of breakage in the form of a crack, split or groove. Fissured tongue is a rare condition that is characterized by grooves or furrows appear along the dorsum (Upper part) and lateral (toward the side) of the tongue. Fissure can be shallow, but it may also varies in-depth approximately as deep as 6 millimiters, can be single or multiple. Fissures may connect with other fissures dividing the tongue into small portions.

It is also called as, “Scrotal Tongue”, “Lingua Plicata” and “Plicated tongue”.

The widespread of Fissure tongue varies by geographic location. In the United States, there are about 2% to 5% of their population has Fissured tongue. Records all over the world has been reported that it reached as high as 21%.

Anyone can develop fissured tongue, regardless of your age, and race. Reports said that Fissured tongue is frequently diagnosed during adulthood though it may first appear and initially diagnosed during childhood period. Some people were born with this condition. Fissured tongue is not a contagious disease and affected individual cannot transport to others, but it can be a lifelong condition.

Symptoms of Fissured Tongue

Fissured tongue is painless and patients experience no physical discomfort, unless debris is entrapped within the grooves. If the furrows is too deep, irritating foods like spicy and highly acidic may cause burning sensation to the tongue.

If the furrows still extends far down on the tongues surface, this can lead to bad breath, harbor microorganism that will result to infection.

Pathophysiology of Fissured Tongue

Fissured tongue can affect all kinds of people in all kinds of walk in life whether you are healthy or sicked. It can be a result of poor nutrition, or infection, or in people who is suffering in other diseases. Over the period of time of continuous research, they have found that Fissured tongues can be also seen in patients who have the following diseases:

Melkersson – Rosenthal Syndrome or Granulomatous cheilitis. It Is a neurological disorder that affects the upper lips, face and the tongues. This involve swelling and crack in the lips, furrows in the tongue, and paralysis of the face. The cause of this disease is unknown or idiopathic, but it has been inclined with some genetic problems.

Benign migratory glossitis. It Is an Inflammatory disorder of the tongue manifested by discoloration of some portions of the tongue and having crack in the tongue’s surface. Some parts of the oral mucosa is sometimes also affected. The principal cause of this is still unknown but it has been related with the type of genes and those people with known allergies.

Down Syndrome. It Is a chromosomal disorder caused by presence of extra 21st chromosome. Fissured tongue is common to people with Down Syndrome, reaching as many of 8 out of 10 children with Down Syndrome.

Bell’s Palsy. Is a Facial paralysis due to damage of the Facial Nerve or Cranial Nerve VII. Inability to control facial muscle on the affected side is one of the result of damage on Cranial Nerve VII.

Causes of Fissured Tongue

Human Tongue is one of the most busiest muscles of the entire body, one of its major role is for the mastication of the food that we put inside our mouth. The specific caused for Fissured tongue is still unknown up to the present. Medical experts suspects some contributory factors that are being related with Fissured Tongue. These are the following:

Excessive intake of spicy food and extremely hot drinks. It has been reported that frequent eating of spicy foods and drinking very hot beverages can cause crack and furrows on the tongue.

Existing of an underlying condition. Fissured tongue is most common found in people with Melkersson-Rosenthal syndrome, granulomatous cheilitis, Bells Palsy and Down syndrome.

Diagnosis of Fissured Tongue

Physical Examination. Fissured tongue is initially noticed by Dentists during patients Dental Examination. Physical Examination and observation of the tongue is done by doctors to verify the initial assessment.

Biopsy. Biopsy is rarely done for diagnosis of Fissured Tongue.

Treatment of Fissured Tongue

No specific treatment is required for Fissured tongue. But these Preventive measures may be a help to decrease the possibilities of more serious problem in the future:

Proper Oral Hygiene. Patient is encouraged to practice good oral hygiene like brushing of teeth and cleaning of the top surface of the tongue to remove food debris that may cause irritation. There are available cleaning devices like tongue scraper in the Market.

Avoid Foods that may cause irritation to the tongue. Foods that are too spicy and highly acidic, extra hot beverages is not advisable to take by patients with Fissured tongue. These are irritants to the tongue that may cause irritation and will promote swelling and discomfort.

Follow up check up with your Doctor. If Fissured tongue is a complication of any under lying diseases mentioned above it is highly recommended to see your Doctor for proper evaluation.

Pictures of Fissured Tongue

Fissured Tongue

Photo Source – wikimedia.org

Fissured Tongue photos

Fissured Tongue pics

Image Source  – dermnetnz.org

Scrotal Tongue, Lingua Plicata, Plicated tongue

Fissured Tongue photo

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18 Responses to “Fissured Tongue – Treatment, Causes, Pictures and Symptoms”

  1. drmannat says:

    does this fissure tongue can occur in any type of deficiency? reply

  2. oops says:

    i made out with a guy whose tongue looked like this and he went down on me, should i be worried???!?

    • Anonymous says:

      No you should not be worried its not a disease WOW some people my tongue has been like this my whole life

  3. Excellent article, and I saw another possibility for the statement below from the article related to a healing condition known as “Healing Crisis.”

    “Excessive intake of spicy food and extremely hot drinks. It has been reported that frequent eating of spicy foods and drinking very hot beverages can cause crack and furrows on the tongue.”

    Eating spicy foods or excess drinking of hot liquids for a person who normally does not eat or drink them or who is eating them for the first time. The spicy food such as hot peppers or drinking of very hot liquids can bring on a healing of a former disease or the detoxing of a toxic meterial in the body. This reaction can bring on symptoms (Tongue Fissures) of the former disase or toxic meterial irratating the body as it leaves causing a symptom to manifast. Many naturopaths call this a “Healing Crisis,” and treat it by encouraging the body to heal the former disease or finish releasing the toxicity and its irratation. They do this by encouraging the patient to drink more liquids and detoxing herbs and if possible juice fast to speed-up this healing process.

    Doc Blake

  4. lee chadwick says:

    thanks, very informative, not quite so worried

  5. Scarlet says:

    I can’t stop eating spicy foods. I am Latina and food just isn’t good to me without the spice. :[

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  9. Rebecca says:

    I have a fissured tongue and I do not nor have I ever eaten spicy food and I don’t drink hot beverages. I also don’t drink carbonated drinks. I have recently had a lesion removed from the under side of my tongue. It has taken many months for my tongue to heal. I have two medical conditions that I believe have added to this problem. I have Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) and Sjogrens Syndrome. I am on many medications that contribute to my very dry mouth. The RSD started in my right foot and leg and has now spread body wide. I am wondering if the RSD could have spread to my tongue. It burns/stings all the time. Ketchup is too spicy as are a lot of foods and I’ve not yet found a toothpaste that doesn’t burn. Does anyone have any suggestions? I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired. Thanks for your help.

  10. Em says:

    I’m a 24 year old female and I’ve had a Fissured tongue since birth I’m pretty sure, and so far through all my searches I’ve learned mine is simply cracked. I don’t have any disease, burning sensations or irritation. I’ve scrolled through hundreds of websites trying to find an answer or solution to help clear it up, surgery or home remedies, I can’t seem to find anything so it’s basically a dead end until someone finds a way.. but my main concern is how it makes me feel and knowing I can’t fix/mend it.. some people can learn to live with it, and some can’t. I find it incredibly difficult to talk to people one on one at the best of times with a fear of them seeing it or not getting looked at the same again.. honestly, for those who have no idea what it is, it would be incredibly embarrassing having someone see it and freak out! Especially if you had to explain to them what the bloody hell it even is? Getting to the point, i worry for those like me who are incredibly self concious or even end up falling in depression due to how it makes THEM feel. I’ve passed dates and even boyfriends because of how it makes me feel and I can’t seem to accept it. Let’s face it, no one would want to kiss you knowing it looked like that, photos with friends and I’m always the only one without the tongue out. Everyone’s thoughts on me would change and they would never look at me the same again. I’m quite happy with my life and I consider myself to be an attractive person (without sounding up myself) but once the cat is out the bag, I fear it will change absolutely everything for me and the person I am today.
    Here’s hoping for a miracle treatment.

  11. thorpepst says:

    I think mine started from “savoring” Mountain Dew on my tongue. Soda hurts it now. I may have to give up pop for a while.

  12. hussein says:

    I ve fissured tongue i am 28 male , and i feel your pain contact me if u need someone to talk hseinjaffal@gmail.com

  13. Anon says:

    EM:
    I am a female who was also born with this and otherwise is healthy !
    I am much older than you now but when your age was a model in some publications . I always had hot boyfriends… I NEVER brought up tongue nor pointed it out…and NONE noticed it!!!

    I DID worry a few times to myself back then…. But it was all unnecessary …

    Hope this helps!!!!:)

    t

  14. Carl says:

    I am a 55 year old male and have certainly had a fissured tongue since I was 8. I would say mine is quite bad but I have not noticed it getting worse over the years but on the other hand perhaps slightly better. I am looking at this site today as I woke to find my tongue hurting and I cannot remember this happening before. As knowledge on this matter appears to be poor I think it could be useful to list my symptoms and suspicions in the hope you do the same and perhaps we can work something out together. Maybe spot a common theme – so here I go:
    DESCRIPTION OF TONGUE – fissured from side at angles into my mouth. Also cracking on the surface but not as deep. Underside completely clear.
    SUSPICIONS – always suspected excessive pineapple juice as a child was the cause. Even now pineapple can make my tongue sore but so can tomatoes and walnuts.
    OTHER THINGS about me that I do not think are relevant and some I prefer you not to know! – Used to eat a lot of apples but now realize I cannot digest them (severe tummy pain & wind – sorry about that); Hot spicy food gives me a temporary cough – it is as though I get water is in my lungs.
    RECENT EXPERIENCE: I did eat reasonably hot spicy yesterday afternoon and then rhubarb crumble with custard, which was very hot, last thing at night – so I seem to tick all the boxes: Spicy hot, Acidic and burning hot food. My tongue is sore just in from the tip of my tongue for about 1cm square. Within that, one very sensitive point slightly protruding. I would say the landing point of the very hot food is mainly where I am hurting today.
    OTHER PEOPLE: perhaps a few queries in my life about my tongue. I just say I think it was caused by too much pineapple juice as a child. Doesn’t it hurt? No. That’s normally it. Let people be curious, don’t be ashamed or embarrassed.
    I would like to hear your experiences. Carl

  15. Cheryl says:

    OK, not I don’t feel so strange. I’m in my mid 50’s and have noticed through out my life, that sometimes my tongue would seem to be extra sensitive and could not eat some things. Also noticed that I would have a coating on my tongue at those times and cracked some in the middle. But I only noticed those things during times that I had been ill, flu ect. But this winter I was given a antibiotic that was way too strong for my system & thru it completely out of whack & got C-Diff. Since then my tongue as been on FIRE & very deeply cracked. I had seen 3 Doctors, and constanly complained about my tongue being on fire. Not one bothered to look at it, you say you’ve had C-Diff, and that’s all they hear. Yesterday a Doctor finally took the time to look, he told me to call my GP & have her give me something. Guess what I was told. Get B-Complex vitamins and take one every day. Other sites say B vitamins cause it, but then they also say it DOESN’T HURT. Hope someone comes up with something in the mean while, I’ve lost 30 pounds. But I will try the vitamins.

  16. Lucy says:

    Hi Carl,

    I have had a fissured tongue from childhood and only started to notice it as a teenager. Mine sounds similar to the description of yours, it’s cracked down the edges and on the surface but not as much. I have for a while now experienced the soreness on and off (very irritating) I know that I definitely get it from tomatoes and Pineapple juice or other sweet drinks. More recently though I think the soreness is ‘geographic tongue’ as I can notice patches on the tip and slightly on the surface. I have noticed that I get the soreness mostly at night and in the morning and that it is usually when I have eaten something sweet and sugary. I ‘m going to try and cut out the sugar to see if it improves. Also makes me feel drained when my tongue is sore…

  17. Lucy says:

    Oh and I get exactly the same with apples from since I can remember! :-/
    I eat a lot of spicy food but that has never been a problem.

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