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
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Image Source - dermnetnz.org