Did You Know About Scalloped Tongue?

Did You Know About Scalloped Tongue?

Scalloped Tongue

Written By: Poulami Saha | 23 February 2024


Do you notice a ripple effect on the sides of your tongue that is ‘extra’ or bulky? If not, that’s a great news. If not, you may have a scalloped tongue, better known as a ‘rippled tongue’ rightly spotted.
No worries; don’t freak out just yet.
While a scalloped tongue might look eerie, it is often harmless and can be caused by various factors. This blog is all about understanding the causes, treatments, and when to seek professional help.

What is a Scalloped Tongue?

Your tongue has wavy indentations along the edges, like miniature scallops. That’s what a scalloped tongue looks like. Usually, it’s caused by abnormal pressure from teeth or swelling of the tongue itself. Chronic inflammatory conditions like IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) can provide a basis for a scalloped tongue appearance. Certain conditions, such as tumours (abnormal masses of tissues that can be caused by cancerous growth), are also known to cause scalloped tongues.

Why Does My Tongue Look Like That?

While not always a cause for concern, several factors can contribute to a scalloped tongue. Let’s take a look at those in a nutshell:
  1. 1. Teeth Grinding (Bruxism): The clenching and grinding of the teeth unconsciously will cause pressure on the tongue and, in the end, result in indentations. Stress, anxiety, and sleep disorders are linked with bruxism disorder.
  1. 2. Nutritional Deficiencies: The absence of iron, B12, or niacin can lead to swellings and tongue scalloping.
  1. 3. Sleep Apnea: During sleep apnea episodes, you strain to breathe and, in some cases, even push the tongue against your teeth, which leaves bite marks on the teeth. A 2017 study examining over 1,000 Japanese adults found a higher prevalence of moderate-to-severe nocturnal intermittent hypoxia (NIH), the primary sign of sleep apnea, in people with scalloped tongues!
  1. 4. Macroglossia: An enlarged tongue could be either congenital or acquired, and it can cause the teeth to have a scalloped edge if it is against them.
  1. 5. Other Causes: Rarer reasons such as allergy, infection, inflammatory conditions, and some types of cancer can also cause headaches.

Can a Scalloped Tongue Cause Problems?

These are the almost standard white lines that appear when one has braces. Listed below are some of the ways to fix this problem:
  1. 1. Bruxism: When you clench or grind your teeth or even cough, your tongue may contact your teeth. You may overdo this in your sleep or even subconsciously during the day.
  1. 2. Stress: One might be wondering how the state of your mental health can get to the level of affecting your oral health. It’s true. Your mental stability and expression through emotions like stress and anxiety govern the dental characteristics of your hygiene. You readily grind your teeth and clench your jaws when anxious or stressed. Meanwhile, habits such as bruxism, jaw clenching, and teeth grinding put an unwarranted amount of stress on your tongue.
  1. 3. Inflammation: While scalloped edges are rarely painful, discomfort can occur if the underlying cause involves inflammation or other tongue issues. Pain can signify conditions like oral thrush and vitamin deficiencies, namely vitamin B-12, riboflavin, niacin, and iron.or certain medications.
  1. 4. Numbness: Tongue numbness could indicate nerve damage from various causes, like diabetes, nutritional deficiencies, or injury.
  1. 5. Breathing Difficulties: If breathing becomes difficult, it could be a serious concern related to sleep apnea, airway block, or other problems.
  1. 6. Changes in Tongue Appearance: These changes can point to conditions like glossitis (tongue inflammation), lichen planus (autoimmune skin condition), or vitamin deficiencies. Plus, white patches could indicate oral thrush (a fungal infection). Redness can suggest glossitis, geographic tongue (a benign condition), or strawberry tongue (associated with Kawasaki disease).

How can I Get Rid of it?

To get rid of your scalloped tongue, this comes with good practice according to your concerns, as follows:
  1. 1. Bruxism: Use a mouthguard to protect your tongue and teeth from injury. Manage stress and anxiety via relaxation techniques like meditation or therapy.
  1. 2. Nutritional Deficiencies: A balanced diet of vitamins, iron, and other essential nutrients. Consider taking them if advised by the doctor.
  1. 3. Sleep Apnea: Use a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine to send a constant flow of airway pressure to your throat or other suitable methods or treatments to achieve better breathing while you sleep.
  1. For macroglossia, surgery may be the last resort in severe situations.

Home Remedies for Mild Cases

  1. 1. Hydration is the Key: Don’t forget to drink enough water, as dehydration caused by excessive sweating can lead to swelling.
  1. 2. Make Dietary Changes: Vitamin B and iron are significant for a healthy diet.
  1. 3. Maintain Good Oral Hygiene: Brush and floss daily to protect your teeth and gums.
Don’t hesitate to contact Apex for any concerns. From highlighting dental problems to covering those under a budget, we provide the best dentists in Dubai for your treatment.