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Mouth Diseases

Crack on tongue



my mom is 56 and she has painful cracks on her tongue, and she is taking several medications. why does she have the cracks


The appearance of cracks (also referred to as fissures or grooves) on the upper (dorsal) surface of the tongue is fairly common and considered a variation of normal tongue development. They are not often seen in children, but typically become visible in early adulthood. Although usually not painful by themselves, they can provide a place for microorganisms to grow and multiply that can result in tenderness to hot, acidic or spicy foods.

In patients on multiple medications, a common side effect is dryness of the mouth and this further promotes the growth of certain bugs, especially yeasts or fungal microorganisms.

While the “cracks” are considered normal, a chronic yeast infection is not. Your mother should see her dentist or a dental specialist such as an oral pathologist or oral surgeon to be sure because treatment is available for these low-grade but annoying infections.

Good luck!

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Response by:

John R Kalmar, DMD, PhD John R Kalmar, DMD, PhD
Clinical Professor of Pathology
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University