Glossitis is inflammation or infection of the tongue. It can cause the tongue to change color and swell. Your tongue can appear smoother because the papillae have been lost, the small projections on the tongue that contain taste buds. If the cause of inflammation is removed, Glossitis can heal properly.
The symptoms of Glossitis include: tongue swelling, a smooth tongue appearance, change of color, sore and tender tongue, and difficulty swallowing or chewing. Glossitis is caused by viral or bacterial infections, including oral herpes, poor mouth hydration and low amounts of saliva, tongue piercings, tobacco, alcohol, spicy foods, allergies, or certain nutrient deficiency disorders.
Hospitalization usually isn’t necessary unless the tongue swelling is severe and is obstructing your airway. Good oral hygiene, such as brushing and flossing, is necessary for the prevention of Glossitis because it reduces the amount of bacteria in your mouth. Your dentist or doctor may give you anti-inflammatory rinsing medications to reduce the swelling.
If the cause of the swelling is an infection, antibiotics or other antimicrobials can be prescribed to treat the infection. Avoid irritants, such as smoking, drinking, or spicy foods, to reduce irritation to the tongue and mouth. Drink plenty of water to keep your body and mouth hydrated throughout the day.