What Causes a Scalloped Tongue

What causes a scalloped tongue?

Scallops are very common in nature. They grow on trees, rocks, grass, and other surfaces. There are many different kinds of scallops. Some types have sharp edges, while others are smooth. The most common kind of scallop is the white one. White scallops are usually found in rivers and lakes. Other varieties include red, black, green, yellow and orange colored ones. A scallop’s shape varies depending on its coloration type. Red scallops are larger than green ones, and they have sharper edges. Black scallops are smaller than green ones, and their edges are smoother. Yellow scallops have the same size as green ones, but their edges are rough. Orange scallops have the smallest size of all the colors, and they have rounded edges.

A scalloped tongue is a condition where there is a protrusion or bump at the back of your throat. This condition usually causes problems in swallowing. It can also be painful and cause a lot of discomfort when eating. It is important that you see a doctor to rule out any serious medical conditions such as throat cancer or other diseases. Scalloped tongue does not cause any life-threatening conditions, but it can be treated and cured.

There are many reasons why you may have a scalloped tongue.


There are diseases that can cause a scalloped tongue. These diseases are usually caused by some kind of infection and may take a long time to heal, or in some cases, may never go away. The most common disease linked to scalloped tongue is injury to the throat. This may be the result of an accident such as swallowing a battery or some other object that may have injured the back of your throat. It could also be the result of a physical attack on your throat by another person.

This may cause an abrasion, which can lead to scalloped tongue.

Scalloped tongue may also be the symptom of a more serious medical condition such as an autoimmune disease. One of the most common autoimmune diseases linked to scalloped tongue is lichen planus. The condition causes itching, irritation and a scalloped appearance on your tongue. Other autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus, pemphigoid and bullous pemphigoid are also linked to scalloped tongue.

Aging and Smoking

While scalloped tongue may be the result of a serious medical condition, it can also be caused by simple day-to-day tasks. One of the most common causes is aging. As you grow older, your body begins to deteriorate at a faster rate. Your tongue is not an exception to this. As you grow older, you may experience numbness in your tongue making it more likely to develop a scalloped tongue.

The habit of smoking is another common cause for scalloped tongue. The nicotine and tar found in cigarettes dries up the skin and mucus membrane of the mouth. Over time, the dried skin and membranes can crack which can cause them to have a scalloped appearance. If you want to avoid having a scalloped tongue, it is best to give up smoking altogether.


If you have a scalloped tongue and have ruled out the more serious medical conditions, there are some ways to cure it. The condition may last for a few months, but it should eventually go away. One of the easiest ways to cure a scalloped tongue is by taking care of your teeth and gums healthily. Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss daily. Also, visit your dentist for regular check-ups and cleaning.

Another way to cure scalloped tongue is by applying an over-the-counter product that moisturizes and heals dry mouth and scalloped tongue. If the condition is caused by smoking, it may take some time before it heals. Avoiding irritating foods such as spicy ones can also help soothe your tongue and prevent further damage.

If your condition is caused by an autoimmune disease or other serious medical condition, then you must treat that condition in order to fully recover from scalloped tongue. If you suffer from an autoimmune disease, you may need to alter your daily medication or seek out other medical options.

Scalloped tongue can be a serious condition that needs to be treated by a doctor if the cause is unknown or the condition does not go away with home treatment. If you do not seek immediate medical attention, it may lead to further complications such as dry mouth and inability to taste certain foods.

Do you have scalloped tongue?

You can easily heal your condition at home with proper dental care and avoiding harsh irritants in your diet. If the condition persists or worsens, seek out medical attention from your doctor.

READ ALSO: Teeth Grinding Causes And Treatments

Sources & references used in this article:

Scalloped tongue: A rare finding in nocturnal bruxism by KV Vinod, P Reddy, VM Pillai – The National medical journal of India, 2017 – nmji.in

Scalloped tongue is associated with nocturnal intermittent hypoxia among community‐dwelling Japanese: the Toon Health Study by K Tomooka, T Tanigawa, S Sakurai… – Journal of Oral …, 2017 – Wiley Online Library

Prevalence of geographic tongue and related predisposing factors in 7-18 year-old students in Kermanshah, Iran 2014 by F Rezaei, M Safarzadeh, H Mozafari… – Global journal of health …, 2015 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Tongue Crenation (Scalloped Tongue)–Case Report by KA Mattoo – JMSCR, 2017 –

Prevalence of Superficial Tongue lesions in Iraqi Population by S Mushatat – Tikrit Journal for Dental Sciences, 2018 – tjds.tu.edu.iq

Prevalence of common nonmalignant tongue lesions by SF Mushatat, MF Salih, AA Othman – International Journal of …, 2017 – pharmascope.org

Images in Medicine by KV Vinod, P Reddy, V Pillai – The National Medical Journal of …, 2017 – search.proquest.com