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International Poster Journal of Dentistry and Oral Medicine



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Int Poster J Dent Oral Med 14 (2012), No. 3     15. Sep. 2012

Int Poster J Dent Oral Med 2012, Vol 14 No 3, Poster 602

The prevalence of tonque lesions in the outpatients of Kementah Dental Centre

Language: English

Dr Mei Siang Ma,
Dental Department, Tuanku Mizan Armed Forces Hospital, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

13-16 January 2011
18th MDA/FDI Scientific Convention and Trade Exhibition
Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre


Tongue has been considered as a good reflection of systemic disease since Hippocrates time. In Chinese traditional medicine, tongue is examined for every patient disregard of the complaint. However, localized tongue lesions are more commonly encountered than the manifestation of systemic disease.


There is no data regarding the prevalence of tongue lesions in Malaysian population. Therefore, the aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of tongue lesions in the outpatients of Kementah Dental Centre, Kuala Lumpur and relate the data obtained to smoking habit and medication taken.

Tongue Pathology Description
Hairy tongue Hairy tongue is diagnosed when filiform papilla were elongated more than 3 mm (Avcu et al, 1999).
Coated tongue Coated tongue is diagnosed when the dorsum surface of the tongue was covered with debris and the length of the filiform papilla was less than 3 mm (Avcu et al, 1999).
Fissured tongue Fissured tongue is diagnosed when there is/are fissures in the dorsum surface of the anterior two thirds of the tongue (van Der Waal and Pindborg, 1986).
Geographic tongue Geographic tongue is characterized by a loss of the filiform papilla in one or multiple areas of dorsum surface of tongue (Giunta, 1989).
Median rhomboid glossitis This is referred to a rhomboid or oval shaped atrophic glossits changes in the dorsal midline of tongue, just anterior to the foramen cecum (van Der Waal and Pindborg, 1986).
Crenation tongue This is diagnosed when there is scalloping or crenation along the lingual periphery of the tongue (McDonald, 1974).
Ankyloglossia This refers to the partial or complete attachment of the tongue to the floor of mouth (Giunta, 1989).
Tab. 1

Material and Methods

A total of 200 consecutive walked in patients (89 males, 112 females, aged 10-59 years, mean age 34.2) were examined during the period of July - September 2009 in Kementah Dental Centre, Kuala Lumpur. Patient with appointment was excluded from the study The oral examination was performed in a dental surgery with plain mouth mirrors under artificial light by the author.


Tongue lesions was found in 90 of the 200 examined subjects with 13 (6.5%) subjects presented with more than one lesions, 4 have coated and fissured tongue; 4 with coated and crenation tongue; 2 presented with crenation tongue and partial angkyloglossia; 2 with fissured and crenation tongue, and one with fissured and partial angkyloglossia. Coated tongue was the commonest tongue lesion found with a prevalence of 45%, followed by crenation tongue (30%), partial ankyloglossia (21%), fissured tongue (18 %), geographic tongue (7%), and hairy tongue (2%). 43 (21.5%) of the subjects were smokers. Only 13 (6.5%) of the subjects were taking medications, mostly oral contraceptive pills.

Fig. 1: Ankyloglossia Fig. 2: Coated tongue
Fig. 3: Crenation and fissured tongue Fig. 4: Fissured tongue
Fig. 5: Geographic tongue Fig. 6: Normal tongue


The prevalence of tongue lesions in this survey is 45% with coated tongue as the commonest which in turn were seen mostly in smokers (73% of male coated tongue were smokers), as with the study of Avcu and Kanli (2003). The present study shows tongue lesion was more common in men (55% in male compared to 35% in female) which is in accordance with Avcu and Kanli's study in Turkey but in Byahatti and Ingafou's study in Libyan, both genders were almost equally affected. No specific tongue lesion was seen in patients who are taking medications due to small sample size.


  1. Avcu N., Sungur A, Andac O: The comparison of therapeutic modalities and factors related with etiology of hairy tongue. J Hacettepe Faculty Dent (Turkish) 1999, 23, pp. 38-46.
  2. van Der Waal I, Pindborg JJ: Disease of the tongue. Chicago :Quintessence, 1986, pp. 46-50.
  3. Giunta JL : Developmental Abnormalities . In; Oral Pathology. B.C. Decker Inc: Toronto, 1989, pp. 43-64.
  4. McDonald RE. Dentistry for the Child and Adolescent. CV Mosby Co: Saint Louis, 1974 pp. 156-161.
  5. Avcu N, Kanli A. The prevalence of tongue lesions in 5150 Turkish dental outpatients. Oral Diseases 2003, 9, pp. 188-195.
  6. Byahatti SM, Ingafou MSH: The prevalence of tongue lesions in Libyan adult patients. J Clin Exp Dent. 2010, 2(4), pp. 163-168.

This Poster was submitted by Dr Mei Siang Ma.

Correspondence address:
Dr Mei Siang Ma
Jabatan Pergigian, Hospital Angkatan Tentera Tuanku Mizan
No 3, Jalan 4/27A, Seksyen 2, Wangsa Maju
53300 Kuala Lumpur