Cracked Tongue Causes, Symptoms, Pictures, Painful and Treatment of Tongue Cracks

by Annie Shuler

How does a tongue with cracks look like? I recently noticed cracks on my tongue and had much concern and negative attitude towards it since I am not sure whether they are tongue fissures.

A normal tongue should have a fairly flat surface in normal circumstances. A healthy tongue should have light, thin white moist coating but must have no cracks, (ulcerous) sores, cuts or teeth marks.

However, Emedicalhub.com notes that fissured tongue (medically known as lingua plicata, plicated or scrotal tongue), is one with multiple furrows or grooves on the dorsal top surface. These fissures on tongue could are deep or shallow. The shallow furrows could occur in the middle or on the sides of your tongue.

In this article, we are going to base on causes, symptoms and treatment of cracked tongue which is our focal point. Equally, by also looking at the causes of a fissured tongue you will understand why its study is important too.

What Causes a cracked tongue? Painful, cracked tongue Pictures

img source: medicalnewstoday.com

What does it mean to have cracks in your tongue and what causes your tongue to crack? Fissures in tongue may be causing the tongue to form cracks. That is the reason why we shall look at causes of fissured tongue. With aid of pictures of cracked tongue, you will better learn to familiarize.

1. Injury including Tongue Bites, Cuts and Lacerations

The first way through which cracks will occur on your tongue is by getting injured. Below is a brief description of how your tongue may end getting cracks as a result of injury.

Tongue Bites

The most common form of injury to the tongue is tongue biting which is accidental in nature. Usually, cracks that form from this kind of harm to tongue are shallow and tend to be found around the tip and the sides of the tongue because they are nearer to the teeth. These cracks are slightly painful to touch. They may also be contributing to sores in mouth when individuals take hot and spicy foods.

Cuts in Tongue

Secondly, besides tongue bites, cuts is another possible way in which cracks will appear on tongue. More cases of cuts on tongue or in tongue may appear anywhere i.e. under, on tip or sides of tongue. Common problems with cuts arise from habits such as eating dry and hard foods (e.g. betel nuts) with sharp edges, using pointed tools to work on teeth or presence of broken teeth in mouth. The nature of cracks in tongue from cuts depends on what has caused them. However, if cuts are severe, they must be very sore. Then this may lead to chronic tongue cracks that take longer to heal.

Deep Cracks in tongue Lacerations

Another serious form of injury that may cause cracks in the tongue is a laceration. Lacerations in tongue may range from deep cuts to tongue tearing. Major causes include head concussions, falls, seizure and other mechanisms that use great force. For instance when you have had a head concussion, chances are that your tongue may be caught in between the teeth as the lower jaws are closing due to force from the knock of an incoming body.

Tongue lacerations are considered emergency because some are accidents. Lacerations will lead to deep and huge cracks in the tongue.

2. Very hot, Spicy foods or objects

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Eating hot foods could be harming not only your tongue but also the lining of the mouth. If the tongue is exposed to hot objects or food, a lot of discomfort is caused. Heat will physically cause your delicate mouth lining and tongue to peel. After peeling has occurred, it becomes more vulnerable to infections, be it fungi or bacteria, which quickly multiply in mouth and around lips.

3. Teeth Grinding

This problem is common in children. Those who normally grind while asleep are at risk. Cracks on tongue from this malpractice are more likely to occur on the sides as well as the tip of tongue. To avoid it for your loved ones acquire some teeth grinding mouth guard for them and you also.

Other Causes of Cracked or fissured tongue – Conditions and Nutrition

Certain conditions, habits and syndromes have been attributed to tongue fissures by their actual causes are not well known. Some conditions are responsible for causing cracks in the tongue as well as the fissured tongue. Find out all about nutrition deficiency tells you about yourself.

Poor Nutrition and Vitamin Deficiency

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Vitamins are very important and a crucial part of your body’s nutrition. For instance, the vitamin B family nutrients are used by the body to synthesize fat and boost metabolism. Let us briefly look at some of the vitamins which they are inadequate can cause tongue cracking.

1. Riboflavin Deficiency or Ariboflavinosis

As an important vitamin in nutrition, riboflavin helps in the uptake of other yet essential vitamins such as B-6, folate, iron and niacin. A sign that will show that it is too little in the body include swelling or soreness in the throat, swollen tongue and cracked skin around the corners of the mouth. A swollen tongue may trigger cracking if slightly irritated or inflamed.

In addition, it is important to take food and other supplies that have riboflavin but too much of it has negative sides. For example, high concentrations of riboflavin may increase the risks of getting kidney stones, sensitivity to light, numbness, and prickling or burning of the skin. You are expected to enquire and get the right amounts for various age brackets.

Natural supplies which should be eaten therefore are as follows:

  • Green vegetables (broccoli, spinach, etc.) especially dark-green ones,
  • Protein-rich foods such as fish, poultry,
  • Closed packed dairy products e.g. milk and yogurt.

2. Folic acid

img source: cdnparenting.com

Also known as vitamin B-9, folic acid can be another reason why there may occur tongue cracks. As we had mentioned in the introduction, sores on tongue can aggravate the condition of already existing and speed up the formation of cracks on the tongue.

This is a very important nutrition component for women during their pregnancy period. It is also meant for breastfeeding mothers and all adults in the productivity stage. There are a wide range for those looking for food sources with a rich source of folic acid. They are root vegetables such as tulips, beans, salmon milk not forgetting whole grains.

3. Biotin

As another group member of vitamin B-family, a deficiency in biotin is more likely to result in paleness, fatigue and anyone may fall victim and risk of cracking tongue or fissures in tongue

Certain Disorders, conditions and Diseases

Here are more conditions, syndromes and other causative factors of tongue fissures.

a. Melkersson-Rosenthal syndrome, MROS, MRS

Although rare, Melkersson Rosenthal syndrome or MROS is a neurological disorder. Individuals who are affected are characterized by recurrent, long-lasting swelling of the face, granulomatous cheilitis, facial muscle weakness (palsy) and a fissured tongue.

Apparently, MRS or MROS is linked to genetic factors that particular family members have and are affected. Well, if some family members are allergic to certain food diets, the symptoms are thought to be presently visible.

How is MRS diagnosed and treated?

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A patient’s history is indispensable in constructing a susceptible occurrence of this syndrome. Basically, diagnosis requires a biopsy but in some instances a laboratory study of patient’s history is final to confirm MROS.

In most cases, Melkersson-Rosenthal syndrome requires no treatment since the symptoms may go away on their own. Otherwise, should the symptoms resist treatment is available – antibiotics, corticosteroid injections or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines. Other advanced therapies include surgery and radiation.

b. Down’s Syndrome or Trisomy 21

Down syndrome is a genetic disorder and a great challenge from childhood to adulthood. This syndrome is associated with tongue fissures.

According to WebMD “fissured tongue occurs in as many as 80% of children with the chromosomal disorder.” Babies born with this condition begin to explicitly show up signs as they grow up. Characteristically, as noted earlier, fissured tongues are distinguished by their prominent grooves.

Unfortunately, Down’s syndrome has no cure. However, with proper therapy programs being put up in certain countries such as the US, have seen life expectancy incredibly increase to around 60 years.

c. Geographical Tongue

The effects of a geographical tongue are a bit tricky because the symptoms can be experienced during meal especially when hot foods, spicy or salt-containing foods are served. This benign or harmless condition at times replicates itself in tongue fissures if at all grooves are likely to develop within tongue splits.

Painful, sore cracked tongue, causes, Symptoms Conditions and Cure

img source: healthline.com

Besides just having a tongue with cracks or fissures, whether deep or shallow, a sore and painful tongue is uncomfortable to stay with. It is not only a problem on its own but causes other discomfort situations especially when you want to eat (be it your spicy and yummy food) or freely chat with friends.

We will mention a few and look at the rest. We shall also highlight, symptoms, cure and medicines to heal painful cracked tongue. The bottom line is for you to see a medical practitioner for diagnosis of cracks in or on your tongue. Some of the causes already discussed above are associated with sore cracked tongue.

Oral Thrush, or Yeast Infections – small sore, painful tongue cracks

One of the known causes of cracks in tongue that are accompanied with pain is oral (thrush) yeast infections. These infections of the inside of mouth and surrounding areas (lips), may be brought about by viral infections such as vaginal yeast or Candida of the genital, and weak immune system. Other causes are diabetes and oral cancer.

According to Livestrong.com, the following are symptoms:

  • Oral pain,
  • Lesions on tongue, under tongue and mouth lining (as shown in this picture) that lead to loss taste.

If you may start to experience the above symptoms, seek medical attention by visiting your nearest health center to get blood tests for diabetes or other vaginal yeast infections such as vaginal culture.

Geographical Tongue also known as Benign Migratory Glossitis (BMG)

img source: journal.com

As another reason for cracked and rather a sore tongue, a “geographic tongue is a harmless condition affecting the surface of your tongue” [www.mayoclinic.org], characterized by irregular and map-like smooth patches that look reddish hence geographic. Up to recent ages, the real cause is not known and this makes it even difficult to treat.

What are the signs and symptoms of geographic tongue or BMG tongue? Individuals who tend to symptomatic of this condition have problems taking hot foods. It is also reported that there occurs burning sensation and pain when having a salty or spicy foods.

Even though harmful, this condition can deny you comfort during meals. If you want to avoid other complications, go for tests or to be examined and diagnosed.

BMG Tongue Cure

After diagnosis, your GP/doctor can give medications mean to relieve of pain and lower the tongue’s sensitivity to hot and spicy foods. These drugs and medicines include mouth rinses with antihistamine or corticosteroid and pain relievers.

Mouth Ulcers

img source: nhs.uk

Ulcer of the mouth would be a viral infection caused by oral thrush, or Geographical tongue. It is one amongst other agent causes of sore cracked tongue. If so then, the causes are bacterial infections very common among young children.

NOTE: mouth ulcers should not be confused with cold sores.

Even though both are sores, mouth ulcer is round or oval in shape that affect the inside of cheeks, tongue or lips. An example of mouth ulcer amongst adults is aphthous mouth ulcers. These sores are usually painful. They occur anywhere in the mouth but are common under the tongue, [www.nhs.uk] points out.

How to heal cracked tongue, Cure or get rid and Medication

Treating or getting your tongue cracks treated means getting proper medication because of the varied causes. As we saw earlier, some causes of tongue cracking may be due to infections. Any treatment to ensure you cure them should highly be influenced by what causes cracks in tongue. We shall see various categories of medicines and drugs that are available for purposes of getting rid of

Antibiotic Medicines and toothpaste

According to Beautyhealth.tips, one of the effective ways to get rid of a cracked tongue is by proper administration of antibiotics. These drugs will fight bacteria and fungus that exist in the oral tract. For example, scrapping your cracked tongue with oxygenating toothpastes provide anaerobic bacteria oxygen hence killing and scrapping them out. These toothpastes also have antibiotic properties,

Take caution not to use antibiotics for too long because they may cause your tongue to start peeling.

Cracked tongue or fissures remedies – herbal treatments

img source: elitedentistry.com.au

Most remedies for tongue fissures and cracks aims at improving (restructuring) their structural appearance and functionality while reducing or clearing symptomatic effects. Now, whether they are deep, shallow or painful, remedies may be natural or clinical. However, some remedies are looked at as an alternative to treatments offered by specialists and health centres.

After you have been diagnosed and treated you may find it necessary to adopt some measures and promote healing. Here is a short outline of what to expect or find being helpful in reducing symptoms such as bad breath, pain and difficulty in eating or swallowing.

Dental Hygiene, Care and proper oral cleaning

The cracks on your tongue will more likely cause more suffering. No doubt. But that doesn’t pave way for excuses to ignore your oral or dental hygiene. Remember that, without sufficient after-care, you may not get the expected post-treatment results. This thus, calls for you to continue with remedies to prevent any further infections as treatment is in progress.

Alternatively, if your tongue fissures or cracks don’t hurt, you may consider using a softer toothbrush to remove and clean the infected tongue. You should do this as your doctor’s instructions to prevent any further complications.

Hydration

One of the simplest remedies is drinking plain water. Water as a natural source will not only hydrate but also wash away debris and other food remains. These remains will remain stuck in between cracks present on tongue, simultaneously attracting germs, bacteria and other harmful fungi.

This ensures that micro-organisms are kept at bay.

Floss your mouth

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Lack of consistent flossing, bad breath may be associated with cracks and fissures in your tongue. A good flossing medicine should have antibiotic properties so that after using them bacteria population in mouth is brought down. Eventually, this practice can greatly reduce disease, and intensity of infections in tongue cracks.

Herbal medicines

If you need to naturally improve your oral health and reduce cracks in tongue, relieve of pain and other symptoms, go for herbal remedies with medicinal qualities. There are those naturally available while some have to be prepared locally with home procedures. Have a look at the following herbal treatment procedures.

1. Gargling with ginger and garlic

img source: istockphoto.com

As your first home remedy, one important fact about these two natural ingredients is about their antibiotic qualities.

You need the following before you get to do it yourself.

  • A fresh red onion,
  • At least 4 cloves of garlic,
  • A glass of water,
  • Crushing tools.

Carry out this simple procedure:

  • Clean both the garlic and onion.
  • Crush them until they form paste-like mixture.
  • Add half to full glass of clean water to your mixture.
  • Thereafter, gargle for 2 -3 minutes before spitting out. (Don’t swallow) Repeat it twice each day.

Alternatively, gargle using a mixture of half-tablespoon ginger and a glass of water.

2. Lavender Oil

img source: cdn.com

According to Beautyhealth.tips, Lavender oil is a natural herbal oil with natural phytochemicals namely Linalool and Linalyl acetate. The two compounds are very essential in as much as relieving pain in cracked tongue is required.

Applys it directly on to the tongue ensuring that it penetrates the crevices and cracks all over that surface of the tongue.

3. Use Fennel seeds

As another remedy for dealing with cracked or fissures in tongue, fennel seeds have ability to hydrate dry mouth including your tongue. Moreover, this will help clear or get rid of symptoms such as bad breath. Additionally, by chewing them, your salivary glands will be stimulated to secrete more saliva to aid hydration.

4. Try medicinal Neem (Margosa) roots and leaves

Margosa tree leaves are medicinal and can serve as multipurpose treatment option for people whose tongues have cracked.

To be able to utilize its antibacterial cure, you need to extract the juice from the leaves or roots. Use it to clean your mouth as you would do tooth-brush. Apart from that, patients who have bad breath and dental problems such as infected gums or weak teeth can benefit too.

5. Mint Leaves

img source: epicurious.com

These leaves will not only leave a cooling effect but also take away the painful and burning sensation that is brought about by geographical tongue symptoms or other known tongue diseases. It can remove the lesions in mouth and also on the tongue from Candida infections or oral thrush.

To prepare this remedy you need to obtain fresh mint leaves and clean them. Secondly, measure a little amount of water and then boil. Let it cool down or refrigerate it. Drink twice a day and see if you can start taking and enjoying your spicy food.

6. Aloe Vera gel

Due to its ability to hydrate and create a soothing effect, you may try this as it considered to be amongst the best natural remedy even for cracked tongue. Take about half glass of extracts of aloe each morning or at any convenient time.

How to prevent the cracked tongue

Having looked at the various treatments and remedies, here are more health tips and measures to adopt and prevent it all. In order to avoid sores in mouth from worsening, the additional Dos and DON’Ts besides the remedies discussed earlier include:

1. Avoid smoking

img source: jamaicahospital.org

If you stopped to smoke, fungal infections will really reduce and promote healing provided that you consistently go on with medications as instructed.

2. Stop taking spicy and hot foods

If sores in mouth are present and cause pain, it is a high time to abandon hot or spicy food until you have adequately recovered. Why? When sores are exposed to heat and acidic beverages, they worsen – more tongue cracking may show up slowing down the healing process altogether.

3. Avoid Stress

Psychologists have suggested that stressful situations do more harm than good. Managing stressful situations requires more energy and concentration of the brain, this can be critically detrimental. In accordance with the traditional Chinese medicine, (TCM) a red tongue around its tip indicates some kind of psychological stress or one is thinking too much.

4. Is it time to see your doctor?

img source: medicalnewstoday.com

Unless you are getting well all along, make appoint to see your GP in case cracked tongue or sores aren’t improving or showing signs of reformation.

Conclusion

To recap, from what we have so far looked at, pain accompanied by sore cracked tongue can be unbearable. Even though, maintaining dental or oral hygiene is the simplest, best way to get rid, avoid or prevent tongue from cracking. Indeed, you absolutely need to keep up the defensive capability of your immune system. Ensure that foods you take provide all the nutritional needs like vitamins by altering your diet. Follow the facts and guidelines but, get the right recommended fissured tongue treatments from specialists.

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