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Sore Mouth and Tongue

Sore Mouth and Tongue
A sore mouth and tongue is not a disease in itself, but a symptom of an infection or health ailment. Oral health problems are often experienced due to allergy, thrush or dental amalgam. Go through this article to know the probable causes of this symptom and how it can be treated.
Kanika Khara
Last Updated: Jan 24, 2018
A sore mouth and tongue is a fairly common problem that most people experience sometime or the other. The condition is often characterized by formation of sores or blisters in the mouth that are painful and may even ooze or bleed. These sores can appear anywhere within the mouth, i.e. inner cheeks, gums, palate, tongue or even lips.
Though a sore on the tongue or a sore mouth is not a major health concern, this condition can be very bothersome and cause great discomfort while consuming food and drinks. There are many underlying reasons for this condition to occur and in most cases, the signs and symptoms are ignored.
Possible Causes
The most common cause for this condition to occur is accidentally biting the tongue, or a side effect of a particular medicine or because of smoking. Elucidated below are the major causes of sore mouth and tongue.
Cold Sores: Cold sores are small painful fluid-filled blisters caused by the 'herpes simplex virus' that thrives in the moist areas of the body like the mouth, lips, nostrils, and groin. These sores are highly contagious and cause a tingling or burning sensation before they appear.
Canker Sores: Canker sores are painful, pale or yellow colored ulcers with a red outer ring that develop inside the mouth and its surrounding areas. They are non-contagious and may appear due to illnesses such as cold or flu, stress or because of vitamin deficiency.
Oral Candidiasis: Another common cause for a dry and sore mouth and tongue is oral candidiasis, which is a yeast infection, or overgrowth of the yeast on the mucous membranes of the mouth. The infection is caused by the yeast fungi 'candida albicans' and leads to formation of thick, white or cream-colored sores on the mucosal membranes of the mouth or tongue.
Leukoplakia: Leukoplakia is an oral disorder which occurs due to chronic irritation of the mucous membranes especially due to excessive use of tobacco. The condition leads to the formation of thick, whitish or gray patches and sores on the inside of the cheeks, gums or tongue.
Oral Cancer: Persistent swelling/bleeding, ulcers or lumps on the tongue with white or red patches in the mouth could also be symptoms of oral cancer. Anyone can get oral cancer, but people who chew tobacco, smoke or consume excess alcohol are at a higher risk.
Burning Mouth Syndrome (BMS): BMS can also cause sores on the roof of the mouth, this coupled with a burning sensation leads to a dry or sore mouth or a tingling or numb sensation throughout the mouth and tongue. This condition is more common in women than men and may occur due to various conditions like menopause, diabetes, nutritional deficiencies, tongue thrusting, oral disorders, acid reflux, radiation, and chemotherapy.
Skin Diseases: Sores or blisters in the mouth can be caused by certain skin diseases, like lichen planus, pemphigus vulgaris, bullous pemphigoid, systemic lupus erythematosus, and erythema multiforme.
Other Probable Causes:
  • Emotional imbalance like stress or depression
  • Hormonal changes
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Biting the inner cheek, tongue, or lip
  • Chewing tobacco and drinking alcohol
  • A sharp or broken tooth or poorly fitted dentures or braces
  • Burning the mouth with hot food and drinks
  • Chemotherapy, or after using sulfa drugs, phenytoin such as Dilantin
Other Symptoms
A sore mouth with lumps or blisters and an inflamed tongue are the most clear and prominent symptoms that you can experience when you have an oral problem. Other common symptoms that you may or may not experience are:
▸ Dry mouth
▸ A prickling sensation in the mouth or at the tip of the tongue
▸ Bitter or metallic taste in the mouth
There are various ways to get rid of a sore mouth, which mainly depend upon the underlying causes. The best way is to try these simple home remedies and suggestions. But, in case the condition doesn't subside even after trying the mentioned treatments, you must consult a dentist or doctor to elucidate the problem.

▸ To treat canker sores or BMS, make a paste of a few drops of water and one teaspoon of baking soda. Apply this paste on the affected region with a cotton swab.
▸ Apply two drops of glycerin or lavender oil on the affected area.
▸ Drink a glass of warm milk mixed with half a teaspoon of turmeric, 2 to 3 times a day,
▸ Place a wet tea bag on the affected area, or have one teaspoon of honey to relieve the pain and inflammation.
Besides the above home remedies, here are certain suggestions that might help relieve the condition. A point to note though, it is always best to consult a doctor if you notice anything abnormal or experience discomfort.

Apply ice on the affected area or eat a Popsicle.
Avoid using toothpaste that contains sodium lauryl sulfate, or SLS, and try using a soft toothbrush.
Avoid spicy, salty, and hot food or liquids.
Change your diet and include food rich in iron and vitamins
  • Fruits like muskmelon, papaya, and bananas.
  • Vegetables like broccoli, red bell and yellow peppers, Brussels sprouts, spinach, and peas.
  • Fish like salmon, snapper, halibut, shellfish, tuna, shrimp, and herring.
  • Meat like beef, chicken, venison, calf's liver, and lamb.
  • All sort of legumes and lentils.
Sometimes consuming a cup of yogurt or buttermilk could also help fight the infection and ease the pain. Always maintain a good dental care routine. While this condition may or may not be a sign of something serious, it is still best to consult a doctor for a correct diagnosis of the condition and prevent its recurrence.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for professional medical advice.