The tongue an important organ situated in the oral cavity and performs several important functions like ensuring a clean and healthy buccal cavity and is also responsible for the sensation of taste. The tongue is often indicative of the gastro-intestinal and general health of an individual and tongue examination is an integral part of health checks.
On some occasions the tongue tends to become swollen and enlarged which in turn results in groove like impression of the teeth and fissures along the sides of the tongue. This condition is often referred to as scalloped tongue.The diagnosis of the cause of the scalloped tongue is important to determine the appropriate treatment protocol for scalloped tongue.
Causes Of Scalloping Of The Tongue
There are a host of factors that are responsible for scalloped tongue,
- Deficiency of the thyroid hormone or under-active thyroid gland is responsible for a scalloped tongue. Hypothyroidism tends to impact metabolism in the body, which in turn is associated with enlargement and swelling of various glands. Further, this also results in increased water retention in the body, which is considered to be responsible for enlargement of the tongue and formation of fissures on the tongue.
- Spleen deficiency is also considered to be responsible for scalloped tongue. Spleen deficiency results in failure of transformation of food into energy which results in swollen and fissured tongue.
- Sleep apnea is considered to be another factor responsible for a scalloped tongue. The condition is associated with disturbed breathing during sleep. Scalloped tongue is caused as the tongue falls back into the oral cavity while sleeping.
- Temporomeandibular joint syndrome is also associated with scalloped tongue. In this case the lower jaw is unstable because of which the teeth need to be constantly clenched to hold the jaw in its position. This clenching can result in formation of grooves along the tongue giving it a typical scalloped appearance.
Scalloped Tongue With Other Symptoms
A scalloped tongue is usually a harmless condition, however it can be associated with presence of a host of other symptoms which can be indicative of the underlying pathology,
- Scalloped tongue may be associated with anemia, unexplained weight loss and fatigue which are all indicative of sleep deficiency.
- Scalloped tongue may be associated with weight gain, sluggishness, sensation of chilliness, etc. which can be indicative of hypothyroidism.
- Scalloped tongue may be associated with burning while consuming spicy foods, halitosis, etc which can be indicative of a oral cavity infection.
Treatment For Scalloped Tongue
The treatment for crenated or scalloped tongue focuses on determining the underlying cause of the condition. The treatment includes the following,
- Thyroid supplements are important to treat hypothyroidism which is responsible for scalloped tongue. Ensure that you always consume iodine fortified salt.
- Surgical intervention may be required to treat an unstable Temporo mandibular joint.
- Appropriate treatment for sleep apnea may also help in the management of scalloped tongue.
- Maintaining utmost oral hygiene is also important contributing factor in the management of scalloped tongue.
It should be remembered that scalloped tongue is usually a harmless condition. However if the condition is associated with other symptoms, appropriate symptomatic treatment may help in treatment of scalloped tongue.