Page header image

Geographic Tongue

What is geographic tongue?

Geographic tongue is a condition where the tongue develops smooth red patches of various shapes and sizes. The pattern resembles a map and can change from week to week. The bare spots are painless and the child does not lose the sense of taste.

The condition usually occurs in children under age 6.

What is the cause?

The cause is unknown, but it is not due to a vitamin deficiency.

How long does it last?

The tongue returns to normal appearance after a period of months to years.

What is the treatment?

The condition is harmless. No treatment is helpful or necessary.

Written by B.D. Schmitt, M.D., author of "Your Child's Health," Bantam Books.
Published by McKesson Provider Technologies.
Last modified: 2001-11-30
Last reviewed: 2006-03-02
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright 2006 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All Rights Reserved.
Page footer image