Saturday, February 9, 2013

Geographic Tongue

Until last July I had never heard the term Geographic Tongue. But one day in the spring Stacy asked me if Evan had burned his tongue. I didn't think so; he hadn't complained about having hurt himself recently. I looked at his mouth to see what she was seeing and saw that there was a part of his tongue that was bright red and looked like it was missing all the texture usually visible on the tongue. He said it didn't hurt and I waited for it to heal. But it didn't. Instead of going away, it moved around and we ended up watching as his tongue became blotchy with circles appearing in random spots. It seemed like it should have been uncomfortable but he kept saying he was fine. When we went to the dentist in July he identified the condition as Geographic Tongue. He told me not to worry, it doesn't hurt or bother people who have it.

If you haven't noticed on this blog yet, I AM a worrier and I DID worry. Along with the appearance, it seemed that Evan always had excess saliva in his mouth and he struggled with speech. It's very possible he has a speech issue aside from his tongue, but I was almost sure that the two were somewhat related. I let it go for a while because I assumed it was something that we just had to deal with. Every time I looked it up on the Internet it said the same thing: it's a benign condition that is annoying but doesn't cause pain. Never treatment options, just the fact that it would come and go. I don't handle the idea of solution-less problems well.

Finally, last week I was laying in bed with Evan and having a very frank conversation with God. I kept saying over and over, "you have to help me, I can't live with not being able to help him. There has to be something somewhere that will help me help him". After he was sleeping I started looking up Geographic Tongue on my phone again. But this time, I found this website:

It was not created by a doctor, but I was excited that it was finally new information and the possibility of being able to treat the condition. Even if the man was a quack, I was going to take a chance that what he was writing about might work. Of course the website was a link to an e-book. Thank goodness my phone has a Kindle app. I downloaded the book and read most of it that night. 

What I discovered reading was that the condition is often linked to vitamin deficiency. The vitamin most specifically linked to it is B12. The other two main deficiencies are iron and folic acid. He discussed that in his research, it often showed up when children were between 2 and 3 and starting to make their own food choices. Totally logical! It is also not uncommon in people with Crohn's or Celiac Disease because of the absorption issues. There is not medical proof to the claims that Tim McMahon makes, but his basis is incredibly logical and because he was a sufferer of geographic tongue for much of his life, I was willing to try what he suggested to eliminate it for Evan.

The book suggests starting by trying Lil' Critters gummy vitamins. They have 200% the daily value of B12 for a child between 2 and 4 years of age. I wanted to go out and buy them that night!! Whatever might help my child needed to be tried immediately. No joke, within 3 days of starting the vitamins, Evan's tongue was starting to clear up. His tongue is normal right now and looks just like the rest of ours. Maybe it's a timing issue, but I don't think I can recall a time in the last year or so that his tongue has appeared "healthy". There have been dormant times when there weren't many blotches or it only appeared swollen without patches, but never like this. He is thirsty a lot and I think it's because his mouth feels dry without all the excess saliva. It has also helped him with his speech a ton. Seriously in only a week he's trying to say many words that he has struggled with since he began talking. I think he is able to move his tongue around in his mouth more comfortably so it's not such a struggle to formulate the words and sounds. I am SO proud of him.

If you know anyone who has this problem and has been told that it's just something to be lived with, I strongly suggest checking out the website. The book I read deals specifically with children, but he has also written books to help adults. I am very grateful to have found a way to help Evan live more comfortably. I will keep praying that it is the vitamins that are making a difference and not a coincidence that things look so good right now. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed too!


  1. Wow! You know that totally makes sense to me Theresa! I was in Amherst on the Common for some event a few years ago and there was a guy there who basically made a study of tongues and claimed to be able to tell if someone had a health issue and what kind of health issue by the appearance of their tongue.

  2. Thanks for the info - I have geographic tongue and am looking for some relief. Not sure why the dentist said it's not painful. Mine is incredibly painful and I can't eat much, the doctor confirmed that most people need a special mouth wash to numb their tongue when they can't eat enough.

    Will try the vitamins!

  3. i have this problem and iam taking vitamin B supplement but how much time i will have to eat it is not clear

  4. i have this problem and iam taking vitamin B supplement but how much time i will have to eat it is not clear