Thyroid Disease: Do You Have a Scalloped Tongue?

June 11, 2020

scalloped tongue thyroid

Hypothyroidism and the Scalloped Tongue: Quick Overview

People with hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid gland) usually develop enlarged tongues with scalloped edges. In other words, when there is a decrease in the thyroid function, your tongue becomes slightly larger, which then presses onto the teeth, causing indentations.

What Does Your Tongue Say About Your Thyroid?

It is possible to diagnose thyroid imbalances by taking a look at the patient’s tongue because people with thyroid disease rarely have healthy tongues. The physical appearance of the tongue can give a lot of information about how well your thyroid gland is working. If your tongue has a consistent texture, pinkish color, smoothness, and lack of coating or patina, your thyroid is functioning well. However, if the tongue does not appear healthy, you may have some degree of thyroid dysfunction.

Symptoms of Scalloped Tongue

A scalloped tongue usually does not trigger any significant health symptoms. However, since it is related to an underlying condition, you can get the symptoms of the underlying disease. Some additional mild symptoms observed are pain, sore throat, soreness or tenderness, and overall slight redness of the tongue.

Scalloped Tongue Causes

Inflammation or swelling of the tongue usually causes a scalloped tongue. Also, genetic conditions like Down syndrome and congenital hypothyroidism can cause tongue swelling and lead to a scalloped tongue. Other medical conditions that may cause scalloped tongue are hypothyroidism, anxiety, amyloidosis, temporomandibular joint disorders, dehydration, and sleep apnea.

Why Are the Edges of My Tongue Wavy?

Many underlying medical conditions can cause the edges of your tongue to be wavy. One of the most common causes is glossitis or inflammation of the tongue. The inflammation causes your tongue to enlarge and push against your teeth, which can cause scalloping of the tongue.

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When to See a Doctor for Tongue Diagnosis

A scalloped tongue is not something you need to treat as an emergency. However, a tongue diagnosis can help to determine whether you have thyroid imbalances because if your tongue is healthy, then most probably, your thyroid will also be healthy. As a rule of thumb, consult your doctor if you notice any significant changes in your tongue’s color, especially if it persists for more than two weeks. Make sure to call your doctor if you have swelling, pain, or lumps on the tongue.

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How To Get Rid Of Scalloped Tongue?

You can try home remedies to treat tongue scalloping such as applying heat or cold compresses, and using mouth guards at night if it is causing distress. Remember that to get rid of a scalloped tongue, you should first treat and eliminate the underlying medical condition which caused it. For example, if hypothyroidism is causing your scalloped tongue, you will need to cure it first in order to get rid of a scalloped tongue.

If you are suffering from hypothyroidism and a scalloped tongue, contact us at COEM to get comprehensive thyroid disease treatment.