Professional Reference articles are designed for health professionals to use. You may find one of our health articles more useful. This article is a general overview of a large topic, with links to other resources to allow further enquiry. The differential diagnoses for the clinical scenarios presented are far from complete and other diagnoses may need to be considered, depending upon the specific details of a patient's presentation. It should, however, be useful as a quick reference diagnosis guide to the conditions seen in primary care that commonly cause oral problems.
Problems in the Mouth. Free Medical Information | Patient
Glossitis can mean soreness of the tongue, or more usually inflammation with depapillation of the dorsal surface of the tongue loss of the lingual papillae , leaving a smooth and erythematous reddened surface,   sometimes specifically termed atrophic glossitis. In a wider sense, glossitis can mean inflammation of the tongue generally. Glossitis usually responds well to treatment if the cause is identified and corrected. Tongue soreness caused by glossitis is differentiated from burning mouth syndrome , where there is no identifiable change in the appearance of the tongue, and there are no identifiable causes. Depending upon what exact meaning of the word glossitis is implied, signs and symptoms might include:.
The tongue's color and surface may change as the result of injury, poor oral hygiene, disease, or other factors. Some or most of the tongue may be involved. Many of the changes occur without producing pain or discomfort. The tongue's papillae tiny, rounded projections may become discolored if a person smokes or chews tobacco, eats certain foods or vitamins, or has colored bacteria growing on the tongue. Black discoloration on the top of the tongue may occur if a person takes bismuth preparations for an upset stomach.