Fissured tongue: What are the causes?

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A fissured tongue is considered as a benign condition that affects the upper surface of the tongue. Generally, a tongue is flat across its length. As for a fissured tongue, it is characterized by a deep, pronounced groove in the middle. There might be small-sized furrows or fissures across the surface that causes the tongue to have a wrinkled look. Take note that there might be one or several fissures of varying depths and sizes.

It is important to note that a fissured tongue occurs in some individuals and might be evident at birth or develop during childhood. The precise cause of a fissured tongue is still uncertain. Nevertheless, it is believed that it occurs as a result of an underlying condition or syndrome such as an infection, malnutrition or Down syndrome. Since a fissured tongue often runs in families, the condition might be genetic. In addition, it is often seen more among men than women and the severity and frequency seems to increase with age.

What are the indications?

Fissured tongue
The individual should maintain a normal dental care regimen which includes daily brushing and flossing.

A fissured tongue has an appearance in which the tongue is divided in half lengthwise. Oftentimes, there are several fissures as well. The tongue might also appear cracked and the profound groove is evident which makes it easy to diagnose the condition.

The middle region of the tongue is typically affected but there might also be fissures on other parts of the tongue as well.

An individual can experience geographic tongue along with the fissured tongue. In this condition, there are missing papillae in various areas of the tongue. The areas that do not have papillae are reddened and smooth and often have borders that are slightly elevated.

What are the causes of a fissured tongue?

The exact cause for a fissured tongue could not be determined even until today. Nevertheless, the condition is believed to be a variation of a normal tongue.

It is also linked with certain syndromes such as Down syndrome and Melkersson-Rosenthal syndrome.

Another possibility is that it might also be a hereditary condition since it is often seen in families.


Always bear in mind that a fissured tongue does not usually need treatment. Nevertheless, it is vital to maintain proper oral and dental care such as brushing the upper surface of the tongue to get rid of food debris and clean the tongue. Remember that bacteria and plaque can buildup in the fissures, resulting to bad breath and an increased risk for tooth decay.

The individual should maintain a normal dental care regimen which includes daily brushing and flossing. A dentist should be seen at least 2 times every year for professional cleaning.

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