Oral Medicine & Pathology

Erythema Migrans (Benign migratory glossitis, geographic tongue): Clinical features, Incidence, Etiology, Diagnosis, Management


Erythema Migrans

(Benign migratory glossitis, geographic tongue)


Clinical features

Often asymptomatic, occasionally sore areas on the tongue, especially with acidic foods
(e.g. tomatoes).

There are irregular, pink or red depapillated areas, sometimes surrounded by distinct
slightly raised margins, which change in shape, increase in size, and spread or move to other areas within hours.

– It typically involves the dorsum and lateral borders of the tongue, and rarely adjacent or other oral mucosae.

The tongue is often also fissured.

– The condition may persist for months or years: remissions and recurrences may be present.


– Common: 1-2% of adults.


– Genetic.

Associated with psoriasis in 4%



Very similar lesions may be seen in psoriasis and Reiter’s syndrome (transiently).

– There also may be confusion with lichen planus and lupus erythematosus.


Reassure. In symptomatic patients, topical steroids or anaesthetics.Geographic tongue Geographic tongue Geographic stomatitis. Geographic tongue. 

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