Migratory glossitis-Quick Review

Migratory glossitis is a psoriasis-like or psoriasis-related condition of the tongue resulting in the production of snaky white lines on the tops and sides, often with small parallel grooves adjacent to them. As in psoriasis, these lines "roam" around the tongue, changing locations or appearances on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis. Many times these lines slowly radiate from a central area of smooth red mucosa, i.e. the normal tongue papillae or "bumps" disappear temporarily. The latter appearance often imparts an appearance similar to that of a globe of the Earth, with irregular white lines representing outlines of continents, hence, the common name for this disease: geographic tongue. Occasional patients have no white lines but have instead smooth red patches, sometimes with small grooves at their edges. Migratory glossitis is usually without symptoms, but some may complain of a burning or tingling sensation, often from secondary fungus or bacterial infection, possibly from a developing anemia (unrelated to the geographic tongue). No treatment is normally needed, but antifungal and antibacterial medications may be used for symptomatic cases; topical or systemic cortisone or prednisone may also be effective. There is no malignant potential.