By Gary M. White, MD

Geographic tongue

Geographic tongue (GT), also known as benign migratory glossitis, is characterized by annular red and white lesions on the tongue.


Two clinical presentations are seen. In one, discrete, bald, red patches are seen. In the second, raised, annular white lines predominate. The condition may be asymptomatic or the patient may complain of soreness. Rarely GT may occur in other areas of the mouth (see below).


No treatment is needed. Tretinoin 0.1% solution applied once daily has been reported to clear the condition within a week.

Additional Pictures

Geographic tongue Geographic tongue


Always consider Candida. These annular lesions proved to be candida. Ann Dermatol. 2011 Nov; 23(4): 548–550.
Rarely, migratory stomatitis may occur on the floor of the mouth. JAAD 2011;65, Issue 2, Pages 459–460


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