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Numb Tongue Causes

The causes of numb tongue could be many and vary in nature from each other. But, they might have one thing in common; nerve damage. This article provides information regarding the causes behind the lack of sensation of the tongue.
Rajib Singha
Last Updated: Jun 3, 2018
If your tongue feels numb on rare occasions, then the factors causing it might not be too serious to cause concern. However, the chronic form is the one that should cause alarm. The condition of tingling feeling or numbness in tongue can also be referred to as 'paresthesia' of the tongue. The numbness may be a result of damage (caused by irritation or compression) that may have occurred in the branch of a nerve located in the mouth or the tongue.
  • Peripheral neuropathy happens to be one of the common causes of this condition. It is also known as sensory nerve damage, and along with numbness, it gives rise to tingling and pinching sensation in the affected site.
  • Another causative factor is a condition called the burning mouth syndrome. As the name suggests, this condition refers to a feeling of severe burning in the mouth. The burning may cause the tip of the tongue to lose sensation and impair the sense of taste.
  • Receiving general anesthesia is also one of the causes. Generally, the numbness is experienced at the tip of the tongue, which can cause speech problems and significant pain too.
  • Some people are extremely sensitive to cold temperatures or stress. In response, they might lack sensation in their ears, fingers, toes, tongue, and the nose. This condition is known as Raynaud's phenomenon.
  • If you start taking deeper breaths at a rate faster than the body demands, then you may have hyperventilation. This medical problem can trigger numbness in limbs, lips, and tongue.
  • Bell's palsy is a disease that is specifically related to facial numbness. It typically affects one part of the face. Almost the entire nervous system from the forehead to the neck gets affected, and due to this, tongue numbness is most likely to occur.
  • Medications like chemotherapy, anti-HIV drugs, and antibiotics may also lead to this condition.
Other Possible Causes
  • Acoustic neuroma (a condition characterized by a slow growing tumor on the nerve pathways that connect the ear to the brain)
  • Allergies (could result from food, medication, pesticides, plants, pollution, etc.)
  • Brain aneurysm (weakness in the wall of a cerebral artery)
  • Brain damage or trauma
  • Brain tumor
  • Dental implants
  • Lyme disease (inflammatory disease spread through a tick bite)
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Pregnancy
  • Root canal
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Spinal tumor
  • Stroke
  • Syphilis (a bacterial infection; a sexually transmitted disease)
  • Transient ischemic attack (TIA) (referred to as episodes of stroke-like symptoms)
  • Vitamin B-12 deficiency
  • Wisdom tooth extraction
The treatment targets the underlying cause. If the cause is as mild as wisdom tooth extraction, then perhaps, the treatment is not required as the numbness would usually be temporary. However, if the cause is as severe as Bell's palsy or multiple sclerosis, then a long-term treatment may be imperative. Therefore, if the tongue lacks sensation occasionally, then simply wait and watch. However, if it persists or worsens with time, an appointment with the doctor would be a wise decision, perhaps even a life-saving one.
Disclaimer: This Buzzle article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.