People don’t realize how much they use their tongue until they wake up one day and it’s in pain. A sore or painful tongue makes even the most basic tasks like eating and speaking either very difficult or annoying. That’s why your dentist in Houston wanted to inform patients of the most common issues he sees when it comes to tongue pain, as well as what you can do to improve its condition and healing.
Here are three of the most common causes of chronic tongue pain.
Ulcers and Canker Sores
If you notice pain around a specific area of your tongue, chances are it’s caused by an ulcer or canker sore. These round bumps are usually white and sometimes appear red, yellow, or even gray. If you’ve bitten your tongue recently or eaten any acidic foods, these pockets can easily develop. They can also develop if you’re under stress or anxiety, you’ve recently stopped smoking, or you’re undergoing significant hormonal changes.
Ulcers and canker sores typically heal on their own, but you’ll want to avoid eating foods that could irritate it further as well as take painkillers to help manage any discomfort you experience.
Also known as oral allergy syndrome, this condition can appear if you have an allergy to raw fruits, vegetables, or tree nuts. If you experience any of the following symptoms in tandem with your sore tongue, you’ll need to make a change in your diet to determine what’s causing the allergic reaction. Other symptoms include:
- Itchy mouth
- Scratchy throat
- Swelling in the mouth, lips, or tongue
Oral thrush is classified as a yeast infection that can cause chronic tongue pain and make it take on a white appearance. If you notice your taste buds take on a white or red appearance, as well as appear enlarged or swollen, oral thrush is a likely culprit. While this condition is more common in babies and elderly patients, it can also occur in patients with compromised immune systems. If you take medications for asthma or have recently taken antibiotics, it may also be the cause.
If the condition does not go away on its own, ask your dentist for a recommendation on anti-fungal medications.
How to Care for Your Tongue and Mouth
The best way to keep your tongue in good condition and prevent these problems is to brush it twice a day during your oral care routine. Bacteria stick to it like a sponge because of its warmth and many grooves for them to sit and develop in. However, giving it a light brush towards the end of your oral care routine will sufficiently remove bacteria. Make sure to clean your dentures daily if you use them and use a saltwater mixture to rinse your mouth. Mix eight ounces of warm water and half a teaspoon of salt to help your tongue heal more quickly.
Keeping the tongue clean and healthy is just another part of keeping your overall oral health in good condition. If you’re experiencing issues and don’t know where to turn, schedule an appointment with your dentist in Houston today!
About the Author
Dr. John H. Krell earned his DDS degree from the University of Texas Dental School. He continues his dental education through multiple organizations, including the Academy of General Dentistry where he’ll soon receive a Fellowship award for his efforts. To learn more about his practice, contact him through his website.