Cracked tongue is formally known as lingua plicata. The issue is not dangerous or contagious, and it usually causes no symptoms.
According to The American Academy of Oral Medicine, about 5% of people in the United States have cracked tongue, which is sometimes called fissured tongue.
In this article, we explore the symptoms and causes of cracked tongue. We also look into ways to prevent infection and when to see a doctor.
There is no definitive cause of cracked tongue, but older
In rare cases, malnutrition can cause cracked tongue. A different study from 2016 found a link between cracked tongue and vitamin B12 deficiency.
Meanwhile, research from 2015 indicates that pain associated with cracked tongue may stem from deficiencies in:
- B vitamins
The researchers note, however, that the pain is also likely linked to poor oral hygiene, the use of medication, and esophageal reflux.
Still, it is rare for people with cracked tongue to experience pain routinely.
Other health issues
Cracked tongue may also have
- geographic tongue, which causes smooth, often raised patches to form on the tongue
- Sjogren’s syndrome, an immune disorder
- Cowden syndrome, which causes the formation of noncancerous tumors
- acromegaly, a hormonal disorder
- orofacial granulomatosis, a rare inflammatory disorder
- Down syndrome
- Melkersson-Rosenthal syndrome, a rare neurological disorder
If a person has cracked tongue and geographic tongue, any pain may stem from the latter issue, which
Cracked tongue is characterized by one or more grooves running along the tongue’s surface.
The number and depth of the grooves, or fissures, varies. If the fissures are very deep, the tongue may seem to have distinct sections. In most cases of cracked tongue, a single groove runs down the tongue’s center.
Beyond the appearance, cracked tongue
Cracked tongue does not usually require treatment. People typically have no symptoms, other than the tongue’s characteristic appearance.
However, it is crucial to remove any debris, such as food, that can get stuck in the tongue’s grooves. Doing so can prevent infections and issues with oral hygiene.
When a person has cracked tongue, bacteria or fungi, such as Candida albicans, can proliferate in the tongue’s grooves, leading to an infection.
In the case of a Candida, or yeast, infection, a doctor can prescribe a topical antifungal medication. This type of infection is
For anyone with cracked tongue, it is important to have good oral hygiene, including regular visits to the dentist.
Prevent food debris from collecting in the grooves of the tongue is key. To do this, a person might use a tongue brush or scraper as part of their oral hygiene routine.
If the grooves of a cracked tongue trap food, it can cause bacteria or yeast to proliferate, leading to an infection or other oral health issues.
Anyone with a cracked tongue who experiences symptoms of an oral health problem should receive professional attention.
Overall, it is a good idea to visit a dentist regularly.
Cracked tongue often causes no symptoms, though some people experience a burning sensation, especially when consuming acidic foods or drinks.
If bacteria or fungi proliferate in the tongue’s cracks, or grooves, an infection can develop.
Good oral hygiene, including cleaning the tongue’s grooves, is key to preventing infection and other oral health issues, such as tooth decay and bad breath.