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    Childhood Skin Problems

    Picture of Geographic Tongue

    Geographic Tongue

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    Geographic tongue. This is an inflammatory condition of the top and sides of the tongue. The tongue is normally covered with small pink-white hair-like projections (papillae). With geographic tongue, the patches are missing the papillae and are smooth, red “islands” surrounded by slightly raised borders. These denuded patches of redness shift in position over hours and days. The cause of the condition is not known; there may be some relationship to psoriasis. Geographic tongue is fairly common and is not an indication of oral cancer or infection. No treatment is effective. The condition is largely asymptomatic, but sometimes the tongue can burn when hot, spicy, or acidic food is eaten.

    Color Atlas of Pediatric Dermatology
    Samuel Weinberg, Neil S. Prose, Leonard Kristal
    Copyright 2008, 1998, 1990, 1975, by the McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

    WebMD Image Collection

    Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner, MD on March 13, 2016

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