What is scalloped tongue?
Scalloped tongue is when there is a wavy appearance with indented edges along both sides of the tongue. It is also commonly known as rippled or piecrust tongue. We wanted to include a picture, but it may be too graphic for some. If you’re interested, feel free to do a quick Google search. The condition does not usually involve pain and is caused by enlargement or inflammation of the tongue that compresses the tongue against teeth.
- Genetic predisposition to conditions that accompany scalloped tongue
- Stress and sleep disorders that lead to teeth grinding and poor other habits
- Allergic reactions, infections, or injury that may swell the tongue
- Jaw joint issues
- Insufficient vitamins or minerals (particularly B vitamins)
- Dehydration that leads to tongue compression against teeth
- Smoking may increase the inflammatory response and cause tongue swelling
- Chronic or long-term inflammatory conditions that involve the tongue or oral cavity
Symptoms and treatment
Aside from the changes to the appearance of the tongue, there are sometimes mild symptoms that may occur, such as sore throat, redness, pain, and tenderness. Treatment varies depends on what is causing the scalloped tongue and is often aimed at addressing underlying condition(s). However, treatment may involve one or more of the following:
- Surgery (for severe cases)
- Anti-inflammatory drugs
- Thyroid hormone medication
- Nasal dilators
- Mouth guard or other devices
Preventing scalloped tongue
While there are many things that can help, in some cases, underlying medical issues may make it impossible to avoid scalloped tongue. Saying hydrated and maintaining a healthy diet are important. It is also very important to practice good oral hygiene. Avoiding possible allergens like smoking may irritate the mouth can help prevent or reduce symptoms. Lastly, it is also helpful to reduce stress and anxiety as much as possible (though as we all know that is not always possible).
If you have any questions about this or other conditions, please call or visit our dental clinic in Barrie and we will be happy to help.