Tongue disease

Tongue disease
A picture of black hairy tongue. A non serious tongue disease.
Classification and external resources
ICD-10 K14, Q38.1-Q38.3
ICD-9-CM 529, 750.0-750.1
MeSH D014060

Tongue diseases can be congenital or acquired, and are multiple in number. Considered according to a surgical sieve, some example conditions which can involve the tongue are discussed below. Glossitis is a general term for tongue inflammation, which can have various etiologies, e.g. infection.



Examples of congenital disorders which affect the tongue include:




Median rhomboid glossitis






Oral cancer on the side of the tongue




Geographic tongue (benign migratory glossitis)



Tongue lesions are very common. For example, in the United States one estimated point prevalence was 15.5% in adults.[10] Tongue lesions are more common in persons who wear dentures and tobacco users.[10] The most common tongue conditions are geographic tongue, followed by fissured tongue and hairy tongue.[10]

History, society and culture

Hippocrates, Galen and others considered the tongue to be a "barometer" of health, and emphasized the diagnostic and prognostic importance of the tongue.[11] Assessment of the tongue has historically been an important part of a medical examination.[12] The shape and color of the tongue is examined and observed diagnostically in traditional Chinese medicine. For example, scalloping of the tongue is said to indicate qi vacuity.[13] Some modern medical sources still describe the tongue as "the mirror of physical health".[14] This is related to the high rate of turnover of the oral mucosa compared to the skin, which means that systemic conditions may manifest sooner in the mouth than the skin. Physical appearances such as cyanosis are also often more readily apparent in the mouth.


  1. James, William D.; Berger, Timothy G.; et al. (2006). Andrews' Diseases of the Skin: Clinical Dermatology. Saunders Elsevier. ISBN 0-7216-2921-0.
  2. Yaqoob, N; Ahmed, Z; Muzaffar, S (Dec 2002). "Chondroid choristoma of tongue--a rare entity.". JPMA. The Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association. 52 (12): 584–5. PMID 12627912.
  3. Fan, SQ; Ou, YM; Liang, QC (Apr 2008). "Glial choristoma of the tongue: report of a case and review of the literature.". Pediatric surgery international. 24 (4): 515–9. doi:10.1007/s00383-007-2061-0. PMID 17972083.
  4. Rajendran R (1 January 2009). Shafer's Textbook Of Oral Pathology (6th ed.). Elsevier India. p. 27. ISBN 978-81-312-1570-8.
  5. Hodgson TA, Greenspan D, Greenspan JS (April 2006). "Oral lesions of HIV disease and HAART in industrialized countries" (PDF). Adv Dent Res. 19 (1): 57–62. doi:10.1177/154407370601900112. PMID 16672551.
  6. Ravikiran Ongole; Praveen BN (10 Feb 2014). Textbook of Oral Medicine, Oral Diagnosis and Oral Radiology. Elsevier Health Sciences. p. 1245. ISBN 9788131237991.
  7. 1 2 Newman MG, Takei HH, Klokkevold PR, Carranza FA, eds. (2012). Carranza's clinical periodontology (11th ed.). St. Louis, Mo.: Elsevier/Saunders. pp. 84–96. ISBN 978-1-4377-0416-7.
  8. Outhouse, TL; Al-Alawi, R; Fedorowicz, Z; Keenan, JV (Apr 19, 2006). "Tongue scraping for treating halitosis.". The Cochrane database of systematic reviews (2): CD005519. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD005519.pub2. PMID 16625641.
  9. Segura-Sampedro JJ, Sampedro-Abascal C, Parra-López L, Muñoz-Rodríguez JC. "Intraoral paratrichosis after autograft.". Cir y Cir. 83 (4): 309–11. doi:10.1016/j.circir.2015.05.017. PMID 26118782.
  10. 1 2 3 Reamy, BV; Derby, R; Bunt, CW (Mar 1, 2010). "Common tongue conditions in primary care.". American family physician. 81 (5): 627–34. PMID 20187599.
  11. "Odd Tongues: The Prevalence of Lingual Disease". The Maxillofacial Center for Diagnostics & Research. Retrieved 11 September 2013.
  12. Haller JS (September 1982). "The foul tongue: a 19th century index of disease". West. J. Med. 137 (3): 258–64. PMC 1274095Freely accessible. PMID 6755914.
  13. Marnae C. Ergil; Kevin V. Ergil, eds. (2009). Pocket Atlas of Chinese Medicine. Thieme. ISBN 9783131416117.
  14. Kostka, E; Wittekindt, C; Guntinas-Lichius, O (August 2008). "[Tongue coating, mouth odor, gustatory sense disorder - earlier and new treatment options by means of tongue scraper].". Laryngo- rhino- otologie. 87 (8): 546–50. doi:10.1055/s-2007-995614. PMID 18654938.
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