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Do you have deep grooves in your tongue? You might just have a fissured tongue. Also called "scrotal tongue," what is it, exactly? And how do you get it?

What is a Fissured Tongue?

Do you have deep grooves in your tongue? You might just have a fissured tongue. Also called "scrotal tongue," what is it, exactly? And how do you get it?

All tongues are unique in their own way. They vary in different ways, depending on who owns them. But while this is a fact of life, some tongues might look a little more diverse than usual. And while it might be something genetic, sometimes it can lead to other problems, particularly with your oral hygiene. Having a fissured tongue—also called a scrotal tongue—falls under this. But what do you do if you find your tongue has those deep grooves?

In terms of how they’re diagnosed, a fissured tongue is what you’d call an incidental finding. This means they’re found aside from the primary diagnosis. And it’s understandable—for the most part, a fissured or scrotal tongue is a harmless condition. Generally, a fissured tongue occurs in people who have a family history of it. 

However, there are times when a fissured tongue can be a sign of something else afoot. Remember how we said it’s an incidental finding? In some cases, having deep grooves on your tongue can be a symptom of other diseases, such as Melkersson-Rosenthal syndrome and geographic tongue. Other times, a fissured tongue can signal a vitamin deficiency, particularly in Vitamin B12.

But why does the fissured tongue occur? And what advice, diagnosis, or treatment can you take for it?

A fissured tongue occurs for a variety of reasons, and they’re mostly genetic

When you have a fissured tongue, you shouldn’t be worried for the most part. Sure, the deep grooves can make it a pain to clean the tongue, but it’s mostly a harmless condition. And since it mostly shows itself in childhood, those who have it usually learn to work through it over time. Being an incidental finding, most people probably don’t realize they have the condition until they are told by a dentist. 

It’s worth noting, however, that the genetic links that come with scrotal tongue have yet to be fully established. Others, however, pointed out that the condition seems more common in relatives with a similar situation, keeping the possibility afloat.

Other conditions can also affect the way your tongue looks and/or functions. Melkersson-Rosenthal syndrome, for instance, is a rare disease that affects the nervous system. When you have this disorder, your face becomes paralyzed, and your face and lips begin to swell. People with Down syndrome might also find their tongues in this state. Regardless, it’s interesting to note that both syndromes have a genetic factor to them, which strengthens a scrotal tongue’s genetic origins.

What can you do about a scrotal tongue?

While a fissured tongue is something you can’t really escape, the good news is that you don’t really need to. Unlike other conditions, having a scrotal tongue isn’t extremely life-threatening or life-changing. You can go about your day with it without having too much trouble.

However, it can be a problem if you’ve got food stuck in those deep grooves. Without proper oral hygiene, it can irritate the rest of your tongue and encourage harmful bacteria to grow in the area. In this case, you’ll need to clean the tongue a little more thoroughly and get your dental health checked every 6 months. If you do experience fissured tongue pain, however, seek help immediately. 

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