Your tongue is one of the toughest muscles in your body, but sometimes fissures break out on it. This is known as cracked tongue, scrotal tongue or grooved tongue. There is not a single established cause of cracked tongue, but there are many potential sources. Often it does not hurt, but it can be painful and lead to discomfort and bad breath. A regular oral hygiene routine and an antibacterial wash may combat it.
Cracked tongue affects between 2 and 5 percent of the population, explains NetWellness.org. It is most common in males, and the cracks increase and deepen as you age. Its most apparent symptoms are the cracks, fissures or grooves on your tongue. You may have many cracks, or one long crack that runs along the middle of your tongue. You may notice pain, irritation, mouth sores or burning when you eat spicy food. If the cracks are deep enough, specks of food may become wedged in them and bacteria may breed and lead to bacterial or fungal infections of your tongue.
- Cracked tongue affects between 2 and 5 percent of the population, explains NetWellness.org.
- You may have many cracks, or one long crack that runs along the middle of your tongue.
Cracked, Sore Tongue
Your tongue is one of the most overworked muscles in your body. It comes into contact with dozens of external forces each day as you eat, drink, or even kiss. Excessive spicy food or exceedingly hot drinks may cause a cracked tongue. Meanwhile, DermNetNZ.org explains that cracked tongue could be a genetic condition: if you have a cracked tongue you could pass it on to your child. Nutritional deficiency is another potential cause. Tobacco and alcohol are also significant tongue irritants.
- Your tongue is one of the most overworked muscles in your body.
- Excessive spicy food or exceedingly hot drinks may cause a cracked tongue.
When you are stressed, you may chew your tongue, and it may happen even when you are asleep, so you could be giving yourself a cracked tongue without knowing it. Grinding your teeth together when stressed is another potential reason for developing a cracked tongue. It could also be an accident: when you bite your tongue you could cause fissures in it, especially if you have a chipped tooth.
- When you are stressed, you may chew your tongue, and it may happen even when you are asleep, so you could be giving yourself a cracked tongue without knowing it.
- It could also be an accident: when you bite your tongue you could cause fissures in it, especially if you have a chipped tooth.
Red Bumps Underneath the Tongue
There is no established treatment for a cracked tongue 1. It is a benign problem with asymptomatic causes, so instead of a cure or an active treatment, a diligent oral hygiene routine should suffice. An antibacterial wash may minimize pain, and regularly brushing and washing your mouth will remove lodged food particles that may cause discomfort or infection. Many supermarkets and drugstores sell tongue scrapers 1.
A cracked tongue may be an irritation that passes with time, or you may experience it throughout your life with no pain. But it may be an indicator of a far more serious condition, such as diabetes or cancer. Ideally, if you have a cracked tongue, you should visit your doctor or an ear, nose and throat practitioner that will offer you a diagnosis. Meanwhile, your dentist will advise you on the best dental routine to adopt.
- A cracked tongue may be an irritation that passes with time, or you may experience it throughout your life with no pain.
- Ideally, if you have a cracked tongue, you should visit your doctor or an ear, nose and throat practitioner that will offer you a diagnosis.
Cracked, Sore Tongue
Red Bumps Underneath the Tongue
Tongue Throbs When Running
Tongue Exercises for Bruxism
Diseases and Disorders of the Tongue
Causes for Ulcers on the Tongue
How to Get Rid of Swollen Taste Buds
How to Heal Tongue Sores
How to Get Stains Off the Tongue
Blisters on Chapped Lips
- Net Wellness: Common Mouth and Tongue Conditions
- Derm Net NZ: Fissured Tongue
- Kim AM, Keenan BT, Jackson N, et al. Tongue fat and its relationship to obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep. 2014;37(10):1639–1648. Published 2014 Oct 1. doi:10.5665/sleep.4072
- Bartlett JA, van der Voort Maarschalk K. Understanding the oral mucosal absorption and resulting clinical pharmacokinetics of asenapine. AAPS PharmSciTech. 2012;13(4):1110–1115. doi:10.1208/s12249-012-9839-7
- National Organization for Rare Diseases. Tongue Cancer.
- Dotiwala AK, Samra NS. Anatomy, head and neck, tongue. [Updated 2019 Feb 8]. In: StatPearls. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2019 Jan.
- Moore KL and AF Dalley. Clinically Oriented Anatomy. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 4th edition, 1999, pp. 940-947.
- Stone M, et al. Structure and variability in human tongue muscle anatomy. Comput Methods Biomech Biomed Eng Imaging Vis. 2018;6(5):499–507. Published online 2016 Apr 8. doi:10.1080/21681163.2016.1162752
Based in London, Martin Green has written news, health and sport articles since 2008. His articles have appeared in “Essex Chronicle," “The Journal” and various regional British newspapers. Green holds a Master of Arts in creative writing from Newcastle University and a Bachelor of Arts in English literature.