Glossitis: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Glossitis is an inflammatory condition of the tongue. Although most are mild, severe glossitis can cause pain that can make it difficult to eat or talk. Therefore, it helps us to know what are the causes, symptoms, and how to treat glossitis.

Glossitis is a tongue disease that generally causes the tongue to become swollen and red. Glossitis can also cause damage to the papillae, so that the surface of the tongue looks slicker, plaqued, or cracked. There are various causes of glossitis. Therefore, the treatment also varies depending on the underlying cause.

Causes of Glossitis

Glossitis can occur for several reasons. Following are some of them:

1. Allergic reactions and irritation

Allergic reactions to certain foods and medicines, such as birth control pills or blood pressure-lowering drugs, can cause glossitis. In addition, incompatibility with certain chemicals, such as ingredients in toothpaste or acids in foods, can also cause tongue irritation and inflammation.

2. Infectious disease

Various infectious diseases, both those caused by bacteria, viruses, and fungi can also cause glossitis. Glossitis due to bacterial and fungal infections is more common in people with weakened immune systems. Meanwhile, a viral infection that often causes glossitis is herpes simplex that occurs on the lips.

3. Iron deficiency anemia and vitamin B12 deficiency anemia

Iron and vitamin B12 deficiency anemia can also trigger glossitis. Both conditions are characterized by low levels of hemoglobin in the blood. This can cause a lack of oxygen supply to the muscles and surface of the tongue, so that the tissue is damaged and inflamed.

4. Oral trauma

Glossitis can also occur due to burning of the tongue, for example from drinking water that is too hot, or because of an incision in the tongue. The use of braces can also increase the risk of developing glossitis.

5. Vitamin B deficiency

B vitamins play a major role in maintaining oral health, including tissue regeneration and papillae on the surface of the tongue. That's why a lack of B vitamins, especially vitamins B2, B3, B6, B9, and B12 can also cause you to develop glossitis.

In addition to the causes above, there are also other things that can cause glossitis, including dehydration, autoimmune diseases, smoking habits, alcohol consumption, to genetic factors.

Symptoms of Glossitis

Symptoms of glossitis usually depend on the cause of the glossitis itself. However, there are some common symptoms that will appear if you experience this condition, namely:

  • Painful
  • Swollen
  • Cracks on the surface of the tongue
  • Loss of papillae (tongue looks slippery)
  • Changes in the color of the tongue, can be reddish or pale
  • Difficulty speaking, eating, or swallowing
  • Blisters and bumps on the tongue
  • Presence of plaque on the tongue

Glossitis Treatment

If you experience the symptoms of glossitis as above and the condition is very disturbing, you should immediately consult a dentist to get the right treatment.

The dentist will ask you about your complaints and medical history, as well as examine the condition of your tongue and mouth. If needed, the dentist may also take a sample of your blood for examination.

If glossitis is caused by anemia or vitamin B deficiency, your doctor will prescribe iron supplements and vitamin B complex. However, you will also be advised to eat foods rich in these nutrients.

Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics and other infection medications if the glossitis is caused by an infection. In addition, the doctor may also give you topical corticosteroid medication to relieve redness and pain due to glossitis.

In addition, you will also be advised to maintain oral and dental health at home, by brushing and flossing twice a day. This healthy habit is useful for alleviating the symptoms of glossitis and preventing glossitis from happening again in the future.

If your dentist thinks your glossitis is caused by an illness, such as an autoimmune disease, he or she may refer you to another specialist for appropriate treatment.