Chronic Glossitis.


Synonym:—Chronic superficial glossitis.

Definition:—A chronic inflammation not of the substance of the tongue, but of the mucous covering of that organ.

Etiology:—This disease is more common to alcoholics and to persistent excessive users of tobacco. It may result from chronic disease of the stomach or chronic intestinal disorder. It is not a common disease.

Symptoms:—The patient is usually found to have been previously in poor health, and often has been greatly overworked, both physically and mentally. Soreness of the tongue has long been complained of. The surface is found to be persistently reddened, sensitive, slightly furrowed and cracked, especially at the base, while the tip may show an absence of papillae and be smooth and glossy. This condition may occur in peculiar shaped patches on the surface of the tongue.

Diagnosis:—The various forms of stomatitis must be excluded. The unusual appearance of the organ and the persistent character of the disease will be confirmatory.

Treatment:—After the irritating causes are effectually removed, more can be accomplished for permanent relief by the treatment of the constitutional symptoms, or of the gastro-intestinal tract, than by local measures alone. I give internally the indicated course to relieve excessive acidity or to supply deficient acids. Then I depend upon the persistent use of hydrastis and collinsonia, with or without phytolacca as seems best. The carbonate of iron and small doses of nux vomica may also be needed. Locally I have depended upon an infusion of white oak bark and the tincture of myrrh. A mild infusion of geranium or of pinus canadensis with marshmallows, to which boric acid is added, will be excellent in some cases. The treatment must be persisted in.

The Eclectic Practice of Medicine with especial reference to the Treatment of Disease, 1910, was written by Finley Ellingwood, M.D.