Glossitis is a condition marked by swollen tongue and change in color of the tongue. It can happen due to many reasons like ulcer, allergic reaction and eating hot foods etc. The feature of glossitis is the characteristic color change of the tongue making it unusually red in color and for this reason this disorder is called burning tongue syndrome.
Tongue has many muscles and soft tissues and the upper surface has small bump like structure called papillae which helps in gripping the food helping you to chew. During glossitis, there will be chronic inflammation of the papillae creating discomfort in eating, swallowing and even talking. In severe cases, this problem can block the airway and can cause breathing problems too.
The tongue becomes swollen and red due to many factors. It can change color due to bacterial or viral infection like oral herpes simplex. Sometimes, there can be injury to the tongue when sharp objects of dental procedures are used. It can be due to dryness of mouth or siogren syndrome in which the salivary glands are disturbed. Skin infections like erytheme multiform, aphthous ulcers, syphilis and oral lichen planus can cause swollen tongue.
It can also occur due to consumption of hot and spicy foods or eating too much of tobacco products. Consumption of alcohol can also bring about change in tongue color. It can be due to allergic reactions when you change toothpaste or use new mouthwash.
Certain underlying medical conditions like iron deficiency, vitamin B deficiency may cause swollen tongue. Taking ACE inhibitor drugs for long period can cause this problem. It can also occur due to simple yeast infection in your mouth.
Some of the symptoms of glossitis are pain and discomfort in swallowing and drinking, inflammation of the tongue, change in normal color of the tongue, tenderness or warmth on the tongue. Sometimes this problem may spoil the smooth texture of the tongue making it unusually red in color. The tongue color may change to pale red in case if you have anemic problem and it may turn fiery red if you suffer from vitamin B deficiency.
For some people, there can be severe swelling of the tongue causing blockage in the airway making breathing difficult. It can also change the level of consciousness and the person may feel shortness of breath. It is necessary to move the patient to emergency in such a situation.
The task of your doctor lies in controlling the symptoms and providing relief from pain and discomfort. He may prescribe you lodocaine or any other powerful mouth rinse. You can also apply antihistamine mouthwash like Benadryl available over the counter. This is effective for curing allergy related swelling and pain. Antimicrobial medicines can also be used for treating glossitis.
In case if the problem is due to iron deficiency or vitamin B deficiency then your doctor will have to start treatment by giving you diet supplement. You need to make some changes in your daily diet by taking more of iron rich foods to get rid of nutritional deficiencies.
Some doctors recommend corticosteroid mouthwash like Decadron for treating this problem. Ibuprofen or Motrin can be taken orally for reducing the inflammation and pain felt in your tongue.
Pictures of Glossitis :
Images, Pics, Pictures and Photos of Glossitis
In case of severe inflammation, it can spread to other parts causing serious problem in chewing and eating. It may arrest or block the airway causing breathing difficulty.
You can prevent this disorder by having regular oral hygiene by following flossing and proper brushing techniques.