Risk factorsBy Mayo Clinic staff
Studies of factors that may be associated with an increased risk of geographic tongue have produced mixed results.
Factors that are likely associated with an increased risk — relatively well supported by research — include the following:
- Family history. Inherited genetic factors may increase the risk of the disorder.
- Fissured tongue. People with geographic tongue often have another disorder called fissured tongue, the appearance of deep fissures, or grooves, on the surface of the tongue.
Other possible factors
Some studies have suggested a number of other factors that may increase the risk of geographic tongue, but other studies haven't supported the same conclusions. These other possible factors include:
- Oral contraceptive use
- Allergies and other immune system hypersensitivities
- Stress or psychological disorders
- Other skin disorders
- Assimakopoulos D, et al. Benign migratory glossitis or geographic tongue: An enigmatic oral lesion. American Journal of Medicine. 2002;113:751.
- Byrd JA, et al. Glossitis and other tongue disorders. Dermatologic Clinics. 2003;21:123.
- Reamy BV, et al. Common tongue conditions in primary care. American Family Physician. 2010;81:627.
- Shulman JD, et al. Prevalence and risk factors associated with geographic tongue among US adults. Oral Diseases. 2006;12:381.
- Carr AB (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Aug. 23, 2010.