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Mouth Diseases

Raw tongue

08/24/2006

Question:

MY FATHER HAS A RAW TONGUE THAT LOOKS LIKE A PIECE OF UNCOOKED STEAK. HE HAS A SET OF DENTURES (ONLY IN THE TOP OF HIS MOUTH) AND SAYS THAT ON OCCASION THE ROOF OF HIS MOUTH HAS BLEED. HE`S BEEN TO A GENERAL PRACTIONER AND ALSO AN ENT. THEY HAVE PRESCRIBED DIFFERENT MEDICATIONS BUT NOTHING SEEMS TO HELP. IT HURTS FOR HIM TO JUST DRINK PLAIN WATER. COULD THIS BE LINKED TO ANY MEDICATION HE MAY BE TAKING? CAN YOU OFFER ANY SUGGESTION AS TO WHAT THIS MAY BE, HE`S BEEN SUFFERING NOW FOR ABOUT 9 MONTHS TO A YEAR!

Answer:

From the description you give of your father’s tongue, I would suspect that he may have a chronic fungal infection. When a patient wears a denture, antibiotic treatment may not be effective because the bugs hide out on (and in) the denture material itself.  Brushing the denture and denture soaks from the store will not remove or kill the fungi, either.

First, I would recommend that your father get an appointment with a general dentist or dental specialist. If a fungal infection is the most likely diagnosis, then a 10 to 14 day course of antifungal treatment for your father is a good idea. This should be combined with soaking the denture (pre-cleaned and brushed) in an antifungal suspension (nystatin suspension is relatively inexpensive) overnight for the same 10 to 14 days.  A second prescription will be needed for the suspension.

This approach should improve the appearance and feeling of your father’s mouth.  If not, then a biopsy may be needed to exclude other and possibly more serious conditions.

Good luck!

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Response by:

John R Kalmar, DMD, PhD John R Kalmar, DMD, PhD
Clinical Professor of Pathology
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University