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Geographic tongue or benign migratory glossitis, is a lesion of unknown etiology. The condition is characterized by multiple areas of desquamation of the filiform papillae of tongue in an irregular circinate pattern.The fungiform papillae persist as small elevated red dots. The borders are outlined by a thin yellowish white line. The lesion changes its location from time to time and may regress spontaneously. Clinically, similar lesions can occur at other sites in the oral cavity and are termed ectopic geographic tongue or erythema circinata. No treatment is required.

Differential diagnosis:




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Figure 1: Geographic tongue (Benign migratory glossitis). Note the irregularly shaped reddish areas of depapillation surrounded by a narrow zone of regenerating papilae which is whiter than the surrounding tongue surface.
Figure 2: Geographic tongue or Benign migratory glossitis. Note the indentations in the dorsum tongue of this 65–year-old woman with superadded candidiasis.
Figure 3: Geographic tongue. Note the geographic pattern of the tongue (red arrow), longitudinal fissuring (blue arrow) and the super added candidiasis (green arrow).
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