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Scrotal tongue can signal certain vitamin deficiencies

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Vitamins and minerals are essential to the healthy functioning of the body. Without certain nutrients we can become deficient and even ill. And in some cases this can cause noticeable changes to our appearance.

According to Doctor Mani Bhardwaj, clinical director and principal dentist at the Smile Studios Dental Group, scrotal tongue is one such condition that can be caused by a deficiency.

He warned that deficiencies in vitamin B12, vitamin B9 (folate) and ferritin (a protein that stores iron) could be to blame for this.

“As the name suggests this condition makes the tongue appear very similar to male genital part, as it can be wrinkled, fissured, cracked, and grooved,” he explained.

“This can be quite common and affect one to two percent of the population. The severity of its appearance ranges.

“Sometimes this condition’s causes can be unknown however, some can be as a result of nutritional deficiencies such as vitamin B12, ferritin and folate.”

Scrotal tongue is also known as fissured tongue.

One article, published in the Otolaryngology Online Journal, states that it could be linked to vitamin B12 deficiency, as well as pernicious anaemia – a condition in which your body is unable to absorb B12.

It lists the condition as one of the “commonest tongue abnormalities” that can occur.

“Deep fissures can result in collection of food within the groves, causing discomfort,” it warns.

“Association of fissured tongue with geographical tongue can lead to burning sensation while having spicy food, which is due to geographical tongue.”

And a study, published in BMC Oral Health, found that in a group of 22 patients with decreased B12 levels, eight had fissured tongue as a symptom.

What to do if you think you have scrotal tongue

Dr Bhardwaj advised: “In some cases the patient with such tongue can suffer from sensitivity and burning with certain foods, therefore avoiding citrus and spicy foods can be advised.

“Generally there is no major concern, except for those who are deficient, and this can be rectified and investigated via a blood test from your medical practitioner.

“However, in some cases further investigations may be required if deemed necessary.”

Tongue brushing might be recommended by a medical professional to tackle scrotal tongue.

The Otolaryngology Online Journal also says that “maintaining good oral hygiene” is key in cases of scrotal – or fissured – tongue.

If a deficiency is to blame for a case of scrotal tongue you can either make changes to your diet to boost intake of a certain nutrient.

Foods high in vitamin B12 include:

  • Meat
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Yeast extract.

Or supplements in tablet form can be taken if diet is not enough.

If you think you have scrotal tongue, ask your dentist for advice during an appointment.

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