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Prevalence of fissured tongue, geographic tongue and median rhomboid glossitis among Israeli adults of different ethnic origins.

BACKGROUND: Fissured tongue (FT), geographic tongue (GT) and median rhomboid glossitis (MRG) are frequently misdiagnosed and overtreated. FT is a relatively common variant of the tongue that includes numerous grooves or fissures on the dorsum of the tongue, while GT usually appears as areas of atrophy and raised white borders. MRG is an erythematous patch of atrophic papillae located in the central area of the dorsum of the tongue. The prevalence of these lesions varies among different ethnic groups. However, their occurrence among the adult Israeli Jewish population of different ethnic origins is unknown.

OBJECTIVE: To examine the prevalence of benign tongue lesions among adult Israeli Jewish urban, rural and industrial populations of different ethnic origins.

METHODS: A total of 2,464 healthy Israeli adults were clinically examined and divided into three ethnic groups, Ashkenazi, Sephardic or Eastern, based on place of birth of both parents. The prevalences of FT, GT and MRG were evaluated. FT was subdivided according to four subtypes: mild, moderate, typical and central.

RESULTS: The prevalence of FT was 30.5%. The most prevalent, typical FT, grooves over one third of the dorsal tongue, was noted in 11.5% of the study group. GT and MRG were found in 12.7 and 2.4% of the study population, respectively. A strong correlation was found between the occurrence of FT and GT, and a gradual increase in prevalence of FT and GT was noted with age. MRG decreased with age.

CONCLUSIONS: Although no statistically significant differences were found in the prevalence of FT, GT and MRG among the different ethnic groups, ethnic background probably plays some role in its occurrence.

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