[glo-sahy-tis, glaw-]

Glossitis is a condition in which the tongue becomes inflamed, discolored and dotted with smooth patches. Coloration can range from varying shades of red to pale white depending on the cause of the outbreak. Other telltale signs commonly associated with this disease are general soreness of the tongue in specific areas and an intolerance for foods that are too hot or spicy. This condition may indicate a variety of issues. Following are some of the known causes of glossitis: allergies, tongue injuries that are caused by a bite or burn, improper diet, decreased saliva production, viral or bacterial infections and tobacco products.

Most people with glossitis can expect to recover without serious medical treatment. Certain home remedies can even help to lessen the condition's interference with eating and speaking comfortably and aid in the healing process. Keeping the mouth clean by brushing twice daily and flossing at least once per day can help to speed recovery and prevent further outbreaks. Eliminating sources of irritation may also promote the reduction of swelling and lessening of the condition. Examples of such irritants include highly acidic or spicy foods, alcohol and tobacco products. Eating warm foods with softer textures may also help to assist the healing process.

If symptoms last longer than 10 days, seeing a doctor who can help assess the specific cause for this condition is recommended. Careful questioning and examination, may lead to a number of different treatment methods. If the glossitis does not appear to have resulted from some form of trauma to the tongue, appropriate medication may be prescribed. A doctor also has the ability to assess whether or not certain dietary deficiencies may be to blame, which may require the prescription of certain vitamin supplements to aid recovery. In rare cases, glossitis with dramatic swelling may lead to severe difficulty with breathing, which necessitates seeing a health care professional immediately.

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