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    Have you noticed ridges on the side of your tongue? Popularly known as a scalloped tongue, this condition makes your tongue look wavy on the sides. Although this condition isn’t harmful in itself, it is still good to be well aware of the causes in case to know if you need immediate treatment. Lucky for you, we will discuss it in this blog.

    Why You Have Ridges on the Side of Your Tongue

    You might be alarmed to look at these ridges on the sides of your tongue. So if you’re wondering why your tongue has rippled edges, the causes include:


    When your body has a scarcity of fluids, it can lead to dehydration. Among other symptoms, swelling also occurs, and a swollen tongue might appear. Therefore, you might notice marks on the side of your tongue as it pushes against the teeth due to swelling.


    High levels of stress and anxiety can result in many oral symptoms. Hence, you might notice jaw pain, teeth grinding or bruxism, and teeth marks on the side of your tongue. Plus, bruxism also leads to tongue biting, which can be why your tongue looks wavy on the edges. Gradually, pressing your tongue against your teeth due to anxiety can lead to a scalloped tongue.

    TMJ Disorders

    The disorders of one’s temporomandibular joint can be a culprit behind the scalloped indentations on the side of the tongue. Since a stuck or misaligned hinge joint can make your tongue work hard to hold the jaw in place, it can lead to lingua indentata or scalloped tongue. Your tongue might work hard to put the necessary pressure against the teeth and lower mouth, resulting in wavy patterns.

    Sleep Apnea

    Sleep disorders, like sleep apnea, can be responsible for your wavy tongue. Your airway obstructs during sleep, making it hard to breathe, and you might stop breathing while sleeping. If you suffer from sleep apnea, you might push your tongue against your teeth to open the airway. Thus, sleep apnea might lead to ridges on the side of your tongue.


    People who indulge in smoking are susceptible to multiple risks. Not only does smoking increase the probability of dehydration, but also inflammation. Inflammation and dehydration coupled together can result in a scalloped tongue.

    Treatment for Scalloped Tongue

    Your oral healthcare provider can help you identify the cause of the scalloped tongue. Then, you can work with them to treat your wavy tongue accordingly. For instance, surgery might be required for genetic conditions that cause scalloped indentations on the side of your tongue. Similarly, a mouthguard for bruxism might help improve the appearance of a wavy tongue.

    Prescriptions and therapy for anxiety improve the teeth marks due to stress. Other than this, sleep apnea treatments depend on the individual’s condition. Plus, staying hydrated can significantly reduce the ridges on the side of your tongue.

    What’s Next?

    Visit a dentist or oral surgeon to discuss the ridges on the side of your tongue. Our specialists at Pasadena Oral Surgery can also help; dial (281) 299 0053 to contact us today.

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