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What causes fissured tongue?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner
There are several causes of fissured tongue. Exposure to irritants such as spicy food or tobacco or rubbing the tongue over teeth that are broken or uneven may cause irritant and pain. Also, if an individual bites or chews on the tongue, fissures may develop. An individual may chew on the tongue during sleep or during stress.

Fissured tongue is often associated with an underlying condition, such as Candida, geographic tongue, psoriasis, Melkersson-Rosenthal syndrome and Down syndrome. Other than its association with these underlying conditions, the cause of chronic fissured tongue is not known. The condition may be present at birth or during early childhood, but exhibit only mild or nonexistent symptoms. Symptoms may then develop as an individual grows older.
Fissured tongue, also known as scrotal tongue or furrowed tongue, is usually something you are born with. It's generally harmless and has no symptoms, although if the fissures are very deep, they can trap food particles that cause bad breath. Some rare conditions, including Down syndrome and Melkersson-Rosenthal syndrome, can cause tongue fissures. Sometimes fissures are caused by nutritional deficiencies.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.