Fissured Tongue

Fissured tongue is considered a variant of normal; however, frequency increases with age and xerostomia. It may develop in association with infection, malnutrition, or spontaneously, and is inherited in an autosomal dominant fashion with incomplete penetrance. It can also be associated with Down syndrome, psoriasis, and Sjögren syndrome.


  • Fissured tongue usually causes no symptoms.
  • Number, depth, and direction of the fissures varies considerably.
  • Food debris may lodge between the fissures leading to halitosis and rarely irritation.
  • Ten to twenty percent of people with fissured tongue also have geographic tongue.

Preventive Measures

    • Tongue brushing is important to remove food trapped in fissures

Fissured Tongue

Brad Neville, DDS
Brad Neville, DDS


Reamy BV, Derby R, Bunt CW. Common tongue conditions in primary care. American Family Physician. 2010;81(5):627-634.