Scalloped Tongue

Wavy, Scalloped Tongue Causes, Meaning, Symptoms and How to Get Rid

Our tongue plays a vital role in our lives like eating, speaking and tasting food.

The shape, color, and texture of your tongue can tell you more about your health.

People with scalloped tongue have tongues that have a wavy pattern, indented or rippled edges.

According to medical doctors on WebMD, a wavy tongue is also known as a rippled tongue, crenated tongue, piecrust tongue, or lingua indenta.

Wavy tongue NHS implies that the condition is rarely painful or a sign of a more serious condition.

The post provides insights into the different causes of a wavy tongue and what it means for your general health.

You will also explore several ways on how to get rid of the wavy patterns on your tongue and symptoms that may require doctors’ diagnosis.

What Does A Wavy Tongue Mean?

A wavy tongue can be identified by the appearance of painful rippled indentations on the sides of your tongue.

The condition causes the occurrence of wavy patterns or crenulated tongue edges on the tongue.

However, having a wavy tongue is not a serious condition but it is painful. The tongue pain can interfere with your daily life activities.

The color changes and pain could be a symptom of an underlying health condition.

Scalloped Tongue Causes

They include:

  1. WavyTongue due to Cancer

Oral cancer can easily be noticed when the intensity of painful tongue sores increases and it takes longer to heal.

The tongue ulcers grow rapidly along with the soreness on the edges of your tongue.

It is recommended to consult your doctor for early treatment of cancer cells in order to prevent them from spreading to other parts of the body.

  1. Wavy Tongue due to Anxiety

Can anxiety cause a swollen tongue? Well, anxiety can result in enlargement of the tongue with ripples on the edges.

Tongue scalloping is one of the ways you can detect stress and anxiety in your body.

This is because extreme stress causes clenching of the tongue against the teeth.

Therefore, you will notice the appearance of ridges along the edges of a swollen tongue when you clench your tongue against the teeth for a long period of time.

Can anxiety cause trouble speaking? Yes. Stress causes swelling of the tongue that inhibits speaking.

  1. Wavy Tongue due to Thyroid

The crinkly tongue can also be caused by hypothyroidism. This is a condition that happens when the body is unable to produce adequate thyroid hormone in the body.

Insufficient thyroid hormone in the body causes puffy eyelids and face, slows down metabolism as well as increase weight gain.

According to the Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, a wavy tongue can be caused by a thyroid disorder.

This happens due to swelling of the tongue that pushes its edges on the teeth.

According to doctors on the mayo clinic, the symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease are the common cause of hypothyroidism.

The condition causes swelling of the face and enlargement of the tongue. You should consider visiting your doctor for a blood test and diagnosis.

  1. Wavy Tongue due to Dehydration

Inadequate intake of water causes dehydration in the body. This may later result in tongue dryness and dryness of other tissues.

If your tongue becomes extremely dry, it may crack, swell and become wavy.

According to doctors on mayo clinic, dehydration can sometimes be caused by underlying diseases that lead to vomiting or diarrhea.

  1. WavyTongue due to STD

What is a wavy tongue a symptom of? Well, sexually transmitted diseases can be contracted through various sexual activities. Tongue sores and swelling can be caused by oral sex.

This is due to the infections taking hold of the tissues surrounding the contact area.

The most common STD that causes ulcers and sores on the tongue are herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. Always visit your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

  1. Wavy Tongue due to Sleep Apnea

Wavy patterns on the side of your tongue are usually a symptom of sleep apnea.

According to doctors on WebMD, sleep apnea is a chronic disorder that affects the sleeping pattern and it is linked to loud snoring and shallow breathing.

This condition does happen at night and it is quite difficult to know this sleeping disorder.

It is advisable to talk to your doctor when you have a wavy tongue that is enlarged due to sleep apnea.

According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, tongue scalloping happens due to obstructive sleep apnea.

Therefore, snoring and wavy patterns on sides of your tongue are among the common symptoms of sleep apnea.

  1. WavyTongue due to Vitamin Deficiency

Lack of minerals and vitamin in your diet can result in tongue scalloping.

According to doctors on WebMD, lack of vitamin B12 in the diet may result in tongue swelling, reddening and smooth texture on the surface of the tongue.

According to doctors on emedicinet, tongue scalloping is also known as glossitis.

Therefore, vitamin deficiencies, as well as hormonal factors and allergic reaction, can result in pain that is accompanied by tongue swelling.

According to Dr. Lawerance A. Mark on Medline Plus, the pain on the tongue can only go away after addressing the underlying problem.

It is advisable to consult your doctor in case you have a tongue swelling that lasts for more than ten days.

  1. Spleen QI deficiency

According to traditional Chinese medicine, tongue scalloping is linked to spleen disorders.

The spleen plays a vital role in filtering the blood and connecting with your immune system.

The disorder causes the enlargement of the tongue due to the infections and damaged through injury.

According to the Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies, a swollen or wavy tongue is one of the most common symptoms of a spleen QI deficiency.

Other symptoms linked to this disorder include; digestive issues, easy bleeding, achy muscles, and tiredness.

  1. Temporomandibular joint syndrome

This is a problem of the joints and muscles around your mouth. The medical term for this tongue problem is known as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome.

TMJ dysfunction can also result in changes in your oral cavity and cause problems with your tongue.

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, TMJ dysfunction can be treated by eating soft foods, avoid yawning wide and avoid chewing gum.

This will help to relieve irritation in the mouth and wavy patterns on the sides of your tongue.

  1. Piercings and Oral Jewelry

Wearing jewelry on your tongue can lead to alterations in swallowing, muscle uniformity and appearance.

The disruption on the tongue can result in swelling and scalloping. Consult your piercer before considering this type of body piercing.

  1. Other causes

They include:

  • Digestive problems
  • Arthritis
  • Sinus Abnormalities
  • Teeth Clenching
  • Iron Deficiency

Scalloped Tongue and Sore Throat

A sore throat is a common problem among many adults and children. The sorest throat is caused by a cold or flu virus, hay fever or other allergies. Sometimes a sore throat can be a symptom of a more serious health condition.

According to doctors on WebMD, it is advisable to see your doctor in a case sore throat is accompanied by swollen tongue due to tongue scalloping.

Other symptoms that require doctor intervention are a stiff neck, drooling, Fever and skin rash.

Note: You can also read my article about how to get rid of white stuff on the tongue faster and permanently. 

Symptoms of a Wavy Tongue

The following are some of the common symptoms associated with tongue scalloping. They include:

  • Mouth dryness (dehydration)
  • Inflammation at the level of the face
  • Fatigue
  • Hoarse voice
  • Hair loss
  • Shallow breathing
  • Weight loss

How to Get Rid Of a WavyTongue

Wavy tongue treatments include:

  • Use CPAP Machine

This is a continuous positive airway pressure machine that is used to get rid of sleep apnea. It is a mask that is put on the face when sleeping.

It helps you to breathe better while sleeping since it enhances the adequate supply of oxygen.

Using a CPAP machine can help relieve your wavy tongue and help you to sleep better.

  • Relax Your Tongue

Tongue scalloping can occur due to pressing the tongue against your teeth too much.

You should visit your doctor for treatment in case of TMD but at home, you can reduce the pain by relaxing your mouth.

This can be achieved by reducing chewing and eating tough foods.

  • Reduce Anxiety

You should seek an appointment with your therapist in case the crenated tongue is due to anxiety.

You can also try to address the behaviors associated with anxiety.

  • Chemotherapy

Amyloidosis is the main cause of tongue scalloping that requires immediate medical help.

You will need to work with your doctor to treat this condition. Chemotherapy and stem-cell transplant are some treatments for amyloidosis.

  • Keep yourself hydrated

Dehydration can result in many problems in the body. You should drink adequate water in case of the crust on your tongue is due to dehydration.

It’s important that you drink water consistently throughout the day.

  • Take Vitamin Supplements

A wavy tongue can develop due to vitamin deficiency. Therefore, it is advisable to take vitamin pills for vitamin B12, iron, and folate.

You can also eat foods such as meat, fish, leafy greens, dairy, and beans.

  • Oral Hygiene

Proper oral hygiene helps to get rid of tongue scalloping. You should seek medical attention in case of a genetic condition that causes tongue scalloping.

Dental or orthodontic procedures can help you get rid of a wavy tongue.

When to See a Doctor?

Sometimes the tongue can become so swollen such that it becomes a life-threatening emergency.

According to Dr. Lawerence A. Mark on WebMD, consult your doctor about tongue swelling under the following circumstances:

  • The swelling of the tongue is so severe that it blocks your airways.
  • You have a wavy tongue for more than 10 days.
  • Normal activities like breathing, eating, speaking, and chewing cause problems
  • The tongue swelling is very bad.


  1. Wavy Tongue – Causes, Diagnosis & Amp; Treatments:
  2. Scalloped Tongue (Wavy Tongue): Causes and How to Get Rid of It:
  3. What Causes wavy Tongue?
  4. Wavy tongue: What you need to know:
  5. Crenated tongue: