Glossitis or Swollen Tongue
Mouth | Odontologie | Glossitis or Swollen Tongue (Symptom)
The tongue helps us to hold and direct the food and drink we swallow, while the taste buds contribute to the experience of food flavour. The tongue also helps to create the sounds for speech. A swollen tongue is an abnormal condition in which the entire tongue or a portion of it is enlarged, bloated or distended. Another term for swollen tongue is Macroglossia.
Swelling of the tongue can occur due to inflammation of the tongue (known as glossitis), the presence of abnormal substances (such as amyloid protein) in the tongue, the collection of fluid in the tongue as a result of different disease processes, or tumors that infiltrate the tissues of the tongue.
A swollen tongue can also occur as an allergic reaction to medications or other substances. In this case, the swelling is due to fluid accumulation in the tissues of the tongue, medically known as angioedema. A dramatically swollen tongue can lead to breathing problems and may be a medical emergency.
A chronically swollen tongue over a long period of time can be due to acromegaly, sarcoma, oral cancer, or Down syndrome. Severe enlargement of the tongue can cause cosmetic and functional difficulties including in speaking, eating, swallowing and sleeping.