TONGUE INFLAMMATION (Glossitis)
DESCRIPTIONGlossitis is an acute or chronic inflammation of the tongue from a variety of causes. This is sometimes contagious, but is not cancerous. Adjacent parts of the mouth are frequently inflamed as well as the tongue.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSBright red, swollen tongue.
Ulcers on the tongue.
A tongue with red tip and edges.
Any of the following:
CAUSESInfections, including herpes.
Injury from jagged teeth, mouth-breathing, or repeated biting during convulsive seizures.
Excessive consumption of alcohol, tobacco, hot food, or spices.
Poor dental health.
Allergy to toothpaste, mouthwash (especially mouthwash containing peroxide), candy, dye, or material used in dental work.
Lack of B-vitamins, resulting in pellagra, B-12 deficiency anemia, or iron-deficiency anemia.
Adverse reaction to antibiotic drugs.
RISK FACTORSPoor nutrition, especially vitamin deficiencies.
Chemical or environmental exposure to irritating or corrosive chemicals.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCE
Have the child practice good oral hygiene. Brush teeth and tongue at least twice a day, and floss teeth daily. Get regular dental checkups.
Keep the child away from tobacco smoke.
Prevent tongue injury by having the child wear protective headgear for contact sports or cycling.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONSTongue inflammation can become chronic and spread to other parts of the body if not adequately treated.
Usually curable in 2 weeks with home care and medical treatment.
Observe if there is an association between eating specific foods and tongue inflammation. Irritating foods may include chocolate, citrus, acid foods (vinegar, pickles), salted nuts, or potato chips.
Rinse the child's mouth 3 or more times a day with a salt solution (1/2 teaspoon salt to 8 oz. water).
If tongue inflammation is caused by a rough tooth or braces, consult your dentist. Inflammation won't heal until the cause is eliminated.
MEDICATIONFor minor pain, use non-prescription drugs, such as anesthetic mouthwashes or acetaminophen.
For infection and pain, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics or topical anesthetics.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
DIET & FLUIDS
No special diet, except to avoid foods that aggravate inflammation. Have the child drink as many fluids and eat as well-balanced a diet as possible while healing. To minimize pain, let him sip liquids through straws. Foods that cause the least pain are milk, liquid gelatin, yogurt, ice cream and custard.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?When appetite and activity at home return to normal. Approximately 4 days.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Symptoms don't improve in 3 days despite treatment.
Pain is unbearable and isn't relieved by treatment.
Skin rash appears.
Weight loss occurs.