Glossitis is an inflammation of the tongue, causing swelling and changes in the tongue’s texture and colour.

Types Of Glossitis:

Acute glossitis – Develops fast with severe symptoms.

Chronic glossitis – Usually caused by an underlying condition.

Atrophic glossitis – The small bumps on the tongue, called papillae, shrink. This causes the tongue’s surface to look glossy.

Median rhomboid glossitis – Usually caused by a Candida yeast infection.



Pain and swelling in the tongue

Difficulty swallowing

Burning or itching

Change in the texture and colour of the surface of the tongue

Issues speaking or eating



Allergic reaction

Mouth injuries, such as cuts or burns

Dental braces

Diseases such as celiac disease, protein-calorie malnutrition, pernicious anaemia and Sjögren’s Syndrome.

Infections, either bacterial, viral or fungal

Nutritional deficiencies



If someone has symptoms of glossitis, they should see a dentist or a doctor. They will assess the person’s history and symptoms as well as examine their mouth and tongue thoroughly, noting any abnormalities, bumps or blisters on the tongue’s surface or on the gums. A saliva swab or blood test may also be taken.



Treatment of glossitis depends on the cause. If it is infection or disease, medication may be prescribed. Glossitis will usually respond well to treatment once the cause is determined. A doctor may issue dietary supplements if a nutritional deficiency is the cause. They may also advise of the dietary changes needed.



You can lower your risk of glossitis, but it is not always possible to fully prevent it. Things that can help keep it away are eating a healthy diet, brushing, flossing and rinsing your mouth and teeth at least twice a day and cutting out irritants such as spicy foods, acidic drinks and cigarettes.



A glossitis sufferer will usually make a full recovery over time with the right treatment. If the symptoms persist they will need to seek further medical attention. If the tongue is severely swollen and begins to block the airways, the person will require emergency medical attention as this could suggest a serious underlying condition.