What Is Glossitis?

Have you ever checked the condition of your tongue? Does it ever appear swollen, red or glossy? Does it feel tender to the touch? You could have a condition called glossitis. What is glossitis? Glossitis is a condition that causes the above-mentioned symptoms: a swollen or enlarged tongue, a red appearance, and shrunken papillae of the tongue that cause the glossy appearance. Glossitis has many different types and causes. Here are just a few reasons you could have it.

Acute Glossitis

Acute glossitis usually comes on suddenly and is generally caused by an allergic reaction to something you ingest, whether it be food or medication. It can also be caused by a trauma or injury to the tongue, such as by burning or biting it.

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is caused by dryness in the mucous membranes, which can be responsible for glossitis. Another danger of dry mouth is an increased risk of cavities, so if you are experiencing dry mouth for any reason, speak to Dr. Lesko as there are prescription treatments available for this condition.

Hunter Glossitis

Hunter glossitis is when your tongue turns bright red and experiences a loss of the papillae on the surface. Papillae are the small bumps on your tongue that enable it to feel touch.

Idiopathic Glossitis

Idiopathic glossitis is caused by inflammation in the tongue and mucous membranes, though the cause is not known. Idiopathic glossitis causes you to lose papillae on the tongue, causing a smooth, glossy appearance.


Infections such as oral thrush, herpes or fungal infections can cause glossitis on the tongue. If you believe you have any of these conditions, speak to Dr. Lesko about treatment options.

Chronic Glossitis

Chronic glossitis is glossitis that does not go away or returns on a regular basis. It can often be caused by another chronic or recurring health condition such as a stomach or intestinal disorder.

Another cause of chronic glossitis is heavy drinking or smoking, making glossitis just one more reason to restrict consuming these items.

Do you think you might have glossitis? Call Dr. Lesko’s office to schedule a consultation at 970-221-5115.

Contact The Fort Collins Dentist Family & Implant Dentistry:


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2001 S Shields St Bldg L
Fort Collins, Colorado