Tongue pain can be a symptom of a disease or condition going on in the body. There are many possible causes such as misaligned teeth that accidentally biting down on the tongue. Sometimes, people who have seizures will bite down on their tongues. More often, a painful tongue is caused by diseases of the mouth, such as trench mouth or some other disease of the mouth.
What causes tongue pain?
If you are suffering from tongue pain, look at your tongue in a mirror. There may be a bump, ulcer or some type of lesion on the tongue causing pain and discomfort. It’s important to examine the top, back, underside and sides of your tongue to look for any signs of injury or illness. If the pain in your tongue is not relieved in a day or two, it is important to see your doctor to identify the cause of your tongue pain, and to render treatment.
Sometimes it is obvious to identify the cause of tongue pain. There are over-the-counter remedies which can give temporary relief of tongue discomfort. There are sprays which contain numbing medicine, and there are topical jellies, such as Orajel which can temporary relieve the pain and discomfort on the tongue. Your doctor can prescribe a numbing medicine that contains Xylocaine.
Smoking – Oftentimes, heavy smokers will suffer from tongue pain. Cigarette smoke irritates the tongue and mucous membranes of the mouth. Once the tongue gets inflamed every puff on a cigarette will cause a painful, burning sensation on the surface of the tongue.
Hot foods and beverages – Your tongue can become injured by foods and drinks that are too hot. Once the tongue has been injured from burns, the tongue can become easily irritated by spices in food and by the textures. Foods with sharp edges, such as crackers and chips can cause great tongue discomfort, when the tissue of the tongue is already injured.
Diseases of the tongue – There are many diseases of the tongue which can cause pain and discomfort. Various conditions including glossitis, geographic tongue, hairy tongue, and canker sores can cause varying degrees of discomfort. For instance, geographic tongue can be very painful; certain areas of the tongue erode away and leave sensitive lesions on the surface of the tongue.
When to see a doctor for tongue pain
Other causes for tongue pain include viral infections, dentures that don’t fit the mouth correctly, neuralgia, oral cancer, and a myriad of other possibilities. If you have significant discomfort, you may need to see your doctor to be evaluated, because there could be an underlying condition causing the pain.
Oftentimes, there is an obvious reason for your tongue to hurt. For instance, if you are a smoker, that might be the cause. Smoking can lower immune system health, and an infection could take place. If you stop smoking and the pain and irritation goes away, you have likely found the cause for your discomfort. On the other hand, it’s not always obvious what causes pain and soreness on the tongue. If your pain lasts longer than 48 hours, you should see your doctor for evaluation and treatment.