Your tongue is one of those body parts that you probably don’t think about all that often…until there’s a problem! Then you become acutely aware of how difficult it is to carry on a conversation, enjoy a meal, or even drink a glass of orange juice in the morning.
So, why does your tongue hurt and what can you do about it? As a dentist in Richardson, we’ve talked to many patients about these issues, so we thought we’d write a blog to address four of the most common questions and concerns we hear. Keep reading to find out more!
If your tongue suddenly becomes swollen, red or tender, you could be having an allergic reaction to a medication, a certain food, or an oral care product.
The first step is to determine what you’re allergic to, so you can know what to avoid. Your dentist may recommend that you keep track of when your symptoms occur to try to pinpoint it.
BURNING MOUTH SYNDROME
If you have BMS, you might experience a burning or tingling sensation in the mouth, which could come and go or may be chronic.
Doctors haven’t been able to pinpoint an exact cause of burning mouth syndrome, but there are many potential possibilities, including anxiety, stress, ill-fitting dentures, allergic reactions and nutritional deficiencies.
Since the causes of this condition aren’t well understood and can vary widely, your dentist will recommend ways to treat the symptoms based on your individual history.
If you notice a small, oval-shaped ulcer on your tongue, you might have a canker sore. They’re fairly common and are oftentimes a bit painful.
However, beyond the initial discomfort they’re nothing to be concerned about. There are a variety of causes, including:
- Certain foods
- Physical trauma, such as biting the tongue
- Quitting smoking
- Vitamin deficiencies
Canker sores will typically go away on their own within 1-2 weeks. In the meantime, you can use over-the-counter pain medications, mouthwashes and ointments for any pain.
Thrush often appears as a white film on the tongue or back of the throat and might be accompanied by tenderness or a burning sensation.
Thrush is due to an overgrowth of a fungus called candida that’s normally present in the mouth in low amounts. It’s only when candida overgrows that it becomes a problem, which can sometimes occur after taking a round of antibiotics.
If you have thrush, your dentist can prescribe anti-fungal medication to treat it.
HOW CAN YOU TAKE CARE OF YOUR TONGUE?
When it comes to keeping your tongue and mouth in good shape, regular dental care and great hygiene are the foundation of good health. Since the tongue harbors a lot of bacteria, it’s always a good idea to brush it or use a specially designed tongue scraper as part of your daily hygiene routine.
Also, because stress is a risk factor in many of the conditions we discussed, stress management is a great way to prevent many potential problems.
And remember, if you ever have an urgent situation with your tongue, like trauma or a severe bite, you can always call an emergency dentist in Richardson!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Throughout his career, Dr. David Nguyen has made professional excellence a priority. Having pursued extensive advanced education on a wide variety of topics, he has a thorough understanding of pathology and can educate his patients about the causes, treatment and prevention for any painful conditions in their mouth. If you have any questions, he can be reached via his website or at (972) 994-1577.