Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Whoa - I have this

I've had this weird thing with my tongue that started roughly 20 years ago, where whenever I chew cinnamon gum, my tongue gets all irritated and red, basically burned. I've always just assumed that I had an allergy to something in cinnamon gum. Over the last couple of years, I've noticed lesser effects from (a very few) other foods, but always just chalked it up to some allergy and ignored it, as it really is just a minor inconvenience. Anyway, I'm at the dentist getting my teeth cleaned today, and the hygienist says, "You have geographic tongue." I had no idea what she was talking about, so she went on to elaborate that it's this irritation on the tongue that shows up at random, and probably never bothers me except when I eat certain foods. I immediately thought of the cinnamon gum thing, so when I got home tonight, I looked it up. Sure enough, I match the symptoms, and on forums several people talk about how cinnamon gum or candy (I have the same thing with Red Hots and such) is the chief trigger for this for them. Weird. This really changes my life not at all, as there aren't really any treatments, though some people have success with mints or vitamins. However, I guess it is nice to just know what's going on - not an allergy, but geographic tongue.

This apparently has a genetic component and tends to run in families. Also, I noticed that the Mayo Clinic mentions that toothpaste is an irritant, so somebody else may have this too. Not to mention that said unmentioned person also gets "canker sores" when stressed out, which is another possible symptom.