Geographic tongue is a condition where the tongue develops smooth red patches of various shapes and sizes. The pattern resembles a map and can change from week to week. The bare spots are painless and the child does not lose the sense of taste.
The condition usually occurs in children under age 6.
The cause is unknown. It may be related to hormones, food sensitivities, or other causes. It is not due to a vitamin deficiency.
The tongue returns to normal appearance after a period of months to years.
The condition is harmless. No treatment is helpful or necessary.