Geographic tongue (benign migratory glossitis or erythema migrans) is an oral condition affecting the top and sides of the tongue. The exact cause is unknown but studies have found geographic tongue to be the result of inflammation from the loss of filiform papillae. The condition appears as smooth, red eroded areas with raised, irregular white borders. The lesions heal and then recur at different sites on the tongue appearing to constantly change.  Therefore, the pattern on the tongue may look different at all times.

 

Geographic tongue usually causes no discomfort and does not require any treatment. It can last for a few days to weeks before it heals and disappears. The condition will usually reappear at random times. Since we do not know the cause of geographic tongue, there is no known cure. Avoiding foods that are irritating such as spicy or acidic foods can help the condition from becoming aggravated.