The tongue’s primary purpose is to allow humans to speak. Did you realize, however, that the tongue can reveal information about our health? If you have observed fissures or grooves running down the surface of your tongue, you may be concerned about its aesthetic condition. The good news is that a fissured tongue is neither contagious nor painful, nor is it as uncommon as you would believe. According to Medical News Today, approximately 5% of Americans have it.
The incidence of fissured tongues increases with age and is more common in males than in women, according to a 2016 study published in the Swiss Dental Journal. In most cases, superficial fractures on the tongue are not cause for concern; nevertheless, some individuals with these cracks may have an underlying health condition. If you have furrows or grooves on your tongue, you should consult a doctor or dentist to rule out any medical conditions.
A cracked tongue may indicate the presence of certain disorders.
Why some people have tongue cracks while others do not is a mystery. According to experts, fissured tongue is just a natural variation (via American Academy of Oral Medicine). However, some research suggests that a fissured tongue may be related with certain underlying health issues.
A 2015 study published in the Journal of Tropical Medicine indicated that a cracked tongue may be a sign of some systemic disorders, including hypertension, although additional research is required to establish a correlation.
According to a 2016 article in the Otolaryngology Online Journal, a fissured tongue is present in people with pernicious anemia, a condition in which the body cannot absorb enough vitamin B12, and in those with several rare diseases, such as Sjogren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disorder, and Melkersson-Rosenthal syndrome (MRS), a neurological disorder that causes inflammation of the face.
Fortunately, the majority of individuals with cracks along the tongue do not have one of these uncommon underlying disorders. With a cracked tongue, however, bacteria or fungi can flourish in the tongue’s grooves, causing infection (per Medical News Today).
Those with this disease should pay particular attention to tongue cleaning in order to remove any trapped food that can cause bad breath and yeast infections. A topical antifungal medicine may be necessary to treat a Candida or yeast infection of the tongue.