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Should I be concerned about stringy things on both side of the tongue?

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ENT Specialist
Practicing since : 1991
Answered : 2300 Questions
Dr. I was wondering if I should be concerned about these stringy things on each side of the under-side of my tongue. I think the area is called the? hypoglossi? (a slightly bumpy line shaped like an upside down horseshoe. At one time this became quite inflamed about a year ago, and my whole tongue felt swollen/sore. (chewing garlic cloves seemed to provide relief for some reason) My GP said he did not know what was causing the inflamation and that I should resolve on it's own, and it did. Now I notice from time to time they sometimes look inflamed and then hang down like floppy stalagtites. I also feel like they are sticking to the bottom of my mouth even though I have plenty of saliva. I just stoped using mouthwash for a week and the swelling is greatly reducing, no pain and no sticking to the bottom of mouth feeling, but for the future should I be concerned? What could be going on?
Posted Tue, 23 Oct 2012 in Dental Health
Answered by Dr. Sumit Bhatti 48 minutes later

Thank you for your query.

1. You are probably referring to the 'plica fimbriata'. They are normal floppy, stringy, fringe like fold of mucous membrane on both sides of the mid-line lingual frenulum. They are vestigial remnants leftover during the embryological development of the tongue.

2. They are seen better when the under surface of the tongue is mopped and dried.

3. You need to get an ENT Specialist or Dentist to examine the underside of your tongue. You may share a close-up image here. Add an image of the upper surface of your tongue, too.

4. The glossitis (inflammation may be due to various causes: bacterial, fungal or viral infections, overuse of mouthwashes or antibiotics, smoking or acid reflux, dehydration, indigestion, constipation, poor oral hygiene and so on. Vitamin deficiencies (geographic tongue due to loss of papillae), liver problems , temporary burns or scalds with hot liquids are also responsible for inflammation.

5. Start taking a probiotic capsule such as Vibact. Rule out any dental and sinus disease. Submandibular or Sublingual Salivary gland problems must be ruled out.

I must emphasize that there is no cause for worry.

I hope that I have answered your queries. If you have any further questions, I will be available to answer them.

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