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Common Causes of Lip Numbness

Lip numbness is an abnormal sensation that causes a lot of discomfort. Let us discuss its causes and possible treatments.
Bidisha Mukherjee May 12, 2019
The medical term used for lip numbness is lip paresthesia. It can be described as a condition where there is total or partial loss of sensation in the lips. It can be felt in one or both the lips. Lips are very sensitive as they are made of soft tissues. So, any numb feeling and tingling in the lips is bound to make you uncomfortable.
If it turns serious, then it can lead to change in color of the lips. Sometimes, the numbness and tingling may get extend to the gums and tongue as well. In this condition, one finds it difficult to eat, speak, or drink.

Causes

In general, the numb feeling in the lips is experienced when there is not enough blood flow in the lip area. It is not a disease, but a symptom of a number of health conditions. Some of the most commonly found causes are :
The peripheral nervous system gives sensation to any particular part of the body. Peripheral neuropathy is a condition where these sensory nerve fibers get damaged. This causes numbness in the lips along with other parts of the body like feet and legs. Here, the condition tends to get aggravated at night. Diabetics are susceptible to sensory nerve damage.
Many people experience lip paresthesia after wisdom teeth extraction. This is a temporary condition which may last for 7-8 hours. It is triggered by the dental anesthetics pushed inside the mouth before a dental procedure. It is done to ensure that the patient does not feel any pain during the treatment.
Some people get it after the consumption of certain poisonous food substances. Ciguatera poisoning is one such form of food poisoning which is caused due to the consumption of some exotic marine fish found in tropical regions.
Horseshoe crab is another popular seafood, which when consumed during its reproductive season, can be poisonous and give rise to this kind of effect. Roots of glory lily have toxic chemicals, which when consumed, are harmful and can make the lips numb.
It can be one of the hyperventilation symptoms that occurs during a panic attack where the affected person starts breathing heavily. In the process, large amount of carbon dioxide is lost from the bloodstream. As a result, a numbing sensation is felt not just in the lips, but in the hands and feet as well.
It can be one of the hyperventilation symptoms that occurs during a panic attack where the affected person starts breathing heavily. In the process, large amount of carbon dioxide is lost from the bloodstream. As a result, a numbing sensation is felt not just in the lips, but in the hands and feet as well.
Low level of calcium in blood gives rise to a condition known as tetany, which often causes lip paresthesia. It can be an allergy symptom which is triggered by allergens, food substances, or toxic chemicals. Topical application of some medicines for the treatment of canker sores or toothache can have a numbing effect on the lips. 
Raynaud's phenomena is one such condition, where the blood vessels found in the body's extremities like hands, feet, and lips becomes narrow, and the blood flow gets restricted on exposure to cold. As a result, insufficient blood flow causes lip paresthesia.

Treatment

A temporary numb feeling in the lips does not require any treatment. However, if the condition is due to recurring outbreak of cold sores, you can take some measures at home to control the infection. It includes changing of toothbrush, and avoiding salty and acidic foods. 
When the numbness is felt in other parts of the body along with the lips, you must visit a doctor for proper treatment. The doctor will identify the underlying cause first and then start the treatment. Allergies are controlled with the help of anti-allergy medicines like antihistamines. The patient is advised to strictly avoid exposure to specific allergen. 
Peripheral neuropathy caused due to unchecked blood-sugar levels can be controlled by bringing down the blood-sugar level with diet and medicines. Nutritional deficiency is treated with proper diet and dietary supplements. Hyperventilation due to panic attacks can be kept at bay with the help of various relaxation techniques.
Lip paresthesia caused by some major underlying diseases cannot be prevented. However, a healthy, stress-free life can prevent other causes like nutritional deficiency and hyperventilation. Also, limit your alcohol intake if you experience numb feeling in the lips very frequently.
Disclaimer: This is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.