A cracked tongue is marked by one or more fissures on the tongue surface. It has multiple causes, ranging from poor nutrition to anemia. Understanding the possible causes of your cracked, sore tongue and the accompanying symptoms can help you and your physician determine proper diagnosis and treatment sooner.
A cracked tongue may indicate an oral yeast infection, or oral thrush 1. Oral thrush is caused by the accumulation of the candida fungus in the lining of your mouth 1. In addition to cracks, symptoms of oral thrush include pain, loss of taste and lesions on the tongue and other areas in the mouth 1. A weak immune system, diabetes, cancer and vaginal yeast infections are all causes of oral thrush, according to MayoClinic.com 1. Your physician may recommend antifungal medications and other treatments based on the cause of your condition.
How to Get a Smooth Tongue
Geographic tongue is a harmless condition that affects the surface of your tongue, says MayoClinic.com 2. Geographic tongue is characterized by cracks and smooth, red lesions on the tongue that can change in location and size 2. You may also experience discomfort and pain upon eating spicy or acidic food. According to MayoClinic.com, the cause of geographic tongue is unknown 2. Geographic tongue is unpreventable and can last for months or years before it eventually clears on its own 2. However, it can reappear later. For pain relief, your physician may recommend medications, ointments and mouth rinses.
Your sore, cracked tongue may also result from a deficiency in biotin, a B vitamin noted for its role in energy metabolism and fat synthesis. Other symptoms of deficiency include:
- pale or gray skin
- muscle pain
- dry skin
- according to the Better Health Channel website 3
To add more biotin to your diet, the site suggests you eat chicken, egg yolks, cauliflower and mushrooms. Prior to altering your diet, consult your physician to determine proper diagnosis.
Blisters on Chapped Lips
Sjogren's syndrome is a disorder in which your body attacks its own moisture-producing glands, such as the tear and salivary glands, notes the BBC Health site. The exact cause of Sjogren's syndrome is unknown. However, genetics and environmental factors, such as a bacterial or viral infection may play a role in its development. If you suspect Sjogren's syndrome, consult your physician. Though there is no way to prevent or cure the condition, you may be able to treat the symptoms via saliva stimulants and artificial tears.
- Sjogren's syndrome is a disorder in which your body attacks its own moisture-producing glands, such as the tear and salivary glands, notes the BBC Health site.
- Though there is no way to prevent or cure the condition, you may be able to treat the symptoms via saliva stimulants and artificial tears.
Other factors can cause a cracked, sore tongue. For instance, your tongue may be rubbing up against jagged or uneven teeth, causing soreness and cracking. In addition, chewing on the tongue during sleep or times of stress can cause these symptoms. Inform your physician of any of these habits and preexisting conditions to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment.
- Other factors can cause a cracked, sore tongue.
- For instance, your tongue may be rubbing up against jagged or uneven teeth, causing soreness and cracking.
According to the Health and Age website, cancerous or pre-cancerous growths can occur on the tongue. This can result in symptoms such as pain, cracks and swelling. Thus, the site suggests you consult an ear, nose and throat physician upon noticing these symptoms to ensure quick diagnosis and treatment.
- According to the Health and Age website, cancerous or pre-cancerous growths can occur on the tongue.
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- Mayo Clinic: Oral Thrush
- Mayo Clinic: Geographic Tongue
- Better Health Channel: Vitamin B
- Masferrer E, Jucgla A. Images in clinical medicine. Geographic tongue. N Engl J Med. 2009;361(20):e44. doi:10.1056/NEJMicm0810145
- Radfar L. Geographic tongue. American Academy of Oral Medicine. Updated May 13, 2015.
- National Organization of Rare Disorders. Geographic tongue.
- Picciani BL, Domingos TA, Teixeira-souza T, et al. Geographic tongue and psoriasis: clinical, histopathological, immunohistochemical and genetic correlation - a literature review. An Bras Dermatol. 2016;91(4):410-21. doi:10.1590/abd1806-4841.20164288
- Reamy BV, Derby R, Bunt CW. Common tongue conditions in primary care. Am Fam Physician. 2010;81(5):627-634.
Sarah Thompson has been a writer since 2006. She has contributed to Ohio-based publications such as "CityScene" and "Dublin Life" magazines, as well as Columbus' top alternative weekly, "The Other Paper." Thompson has also written for several online outlets, including Smashing Magazine and Web Designer Depot. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism, sexuality studies and visual communication design from Ohio State University.