The cause of geographic tongue is not clear. Several factors have been hypothesized as potential causes including emotional stress, psychological factors, habits, allergies, diabetes and hormonal changes. Nonetheless, none of these factors have been confirmed to contribute to the appearance of geographic tongue. Geographic tongue and psoriasis (a skin disease) have been linked together: geographic tongue was noted to be more common in patients with psoriasis. Some theorize that geographic tongue an oral form of psoriasis.
Anyone can develop geographic tongue. The reason why some people are more prone to this condition than others is not well understood. It is not of infectious origin, however, so it’s not something contagious.
Geographic tongue is a benign condition that usually resolves by itself without causing sequela or complications, so most people do not require treatment. It’s not curable. If there are associated medical conditions, treatment of these may improve the appearance of the tongue.