Tongue blisters may appear due to various reasons. In this article, we have discussed its possible causes and the treatment options that can provide relief from them.
Tongue blisters are painful sores which makes it difficult for you to eat or drink anything. You can also feel pain while speaking. In fact, any such activity that involves the use of tongue becomes a painful affair because of these blisters. It is more common in adolescents and young adults. However, that does not mean that it does not occur in infants, small children, and older adults. Even they are bothered by it, but less frequently.
There are various forms of blisters and each of them emerges for some different reason. You may get just one single bump on tongue or may have them in clusters. Their causes and characteristics are discussed below:
▶ Fever Blisters: They are also known as cold sores and are caused due to infection by herpes simplex virus type 1. These appear on both inside as well as outside the oral cavity and are accompanied by some more symptoms like swollen lymph nodes. Excessive stress, weak immune system, trauma, exposure to ultraviolet radiation, cold, flu, or fever can be the cause of cold sores.
▶ Canker Sores: Medically, they are known as aphthous ulcers. Even though they look very similar to fever blisters, they have different characteristics. Firstly, canker sore is not contagious like fever blisters. It occurs inside the mouth only and is comparatively bigger in size. The exact cause behind this problem is not clearly known. It may run in families. Vitamin deficiencies, food allergies/sensitiveness, stress, hormonal changes, certain environmental factors, certain bowel diseases, use of toothpastes containing sodium lauryl sulfate, etc., can cause canker sores.
▶ Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease: This is a viral infection that mostly affects small children. It is characterized by painful, red blisters on tongue and other parts of the mouth along with skin rashes on palms, feet, toes and fingers. These blisters often develop into ulcer after a few days.
▶ Yeast Infection: A white bump on tongue could be a sign of a fungal infection. This is also known as oral thrush or candidiasis and is caused by a fungus named Candida albicans. Before the creamy white lesions appear, the tongue becomes swollen and painful.
▶ Bacterial Infection: Staphylococcus bacteria is mainly responsible for these blisters. This bacteria grows in the gums first and later on the infection spreads to the tongue.
▶ Food Allergy: Another common cause is food allergy. Those who are allergic to some foods components like eggs, milk or peanuts get sores if they consume that particular food. Sometimes, it is accompanied by upset stomach.
▶ Deficiency of Vitamin B: People with vitamin B deficiency usually experience blisters in mouth as their immunity towards bacterial infection, decreases. The best way to get rid of this problem is to include food rich in vitamin B complex.
▶ Minor Injuries: Injuries on the tongue is quite a common occurrence. It can happen due to accidental biting, brushing with hard bristled toothbrush, consuming hot food or during some dental procedure. This kind of injury often leads to growth of blisters on the site of injury.
▶ Other Causes: A few other factors can be responsible for the eruption of bumps on tongue. It includes side effects of certain medicines, unhealthy eating habits, hormonal changes, tonsillitis, anemia, changes in the immune system and so on.
In general, these blisters last for around a week and then disappear on their own. Therefore, no medical treatment is required. However, if they refuse to go, if the size of the blisters increases or if you are getting them quite frequently, then it is advisable to visit a doctor. The doctor will ascertain the cause and treat it accordingly.
- Application of ointments or creams with zinc content can reduce the size of fever blisters.
- Topical anesthetics are good for getting relief from a painful tongue blister. You can get both these ointments over the counter as well.
- For severe pain for canker sores, anti-inflammatory medicines are prescribed.
- In some rare cases, antiviral medicines are given for the treatment of infection caused by herpes simplex virus.
- Antifungal medicines are effective for the treatment of oral thrush.
- The pain and discomfort associated with hand, foot and mouth disease is mostly controlled with the help of medicated mouthwashes and oral sprays. These have a numbing effect on the painful sores.
- If required, low doses of pain relieving medications are also given.
- Those who have deficiency of vitamin B are prescribed with suitable vitamin supplements. They are also advised to have food that are rich sources of vitamin B. It includes whole grains, oats, bran, avocados, bananas, eggs, turkey, liver, fish, dairy products like milk cheese, yogurt, etc.
There are some natural remedies that can help in bringing down the pain and inflammation of the tongue sores. Here we have discussed four such remedies which have been proved to be highly effective:
▶ Apply Ice: Ice application reduces the pain to a great extent. As soon as you apply ice on the painful spot of the tongue, it has a numbing effect that provides a soothing relief from the pain almost instantly.
▶ Gargle with Saline Water: Gargling or simple rinsing with saline water is very helpful to treat bacterial infection. Take one teaspoonful of salt and mix it well in a cup of warm water and rinse your mouth using this saline water several times a day. The salt will kill the bacteria and control the infection.
▶ Sip Warm Water: Take small sips of warm water and rotate it all over the mouth for a minute before swallowing it. Repeat it several times a day. The warm water will reduce the swelling of the tongue and ensure faster healing up of the sores.
▶ Turmeric: You can use it in two different ways. Prepare a paste by mixing up ½ teaspoon of turmeric in one teaspoon of honey, and apply it on the blisters 3-4 times a day. You will get a lot of relief within few days. Alternately, add half a teaspoon of turmeric powder in a glass of milk and drink it.
▶ Vitamin B Rich Food: Consumption of food rich in vitamin B like whole grain, egg, salmon, etc. can help you to get rid of the tongue blisters and it will also prevent you from getting it in future.
▶ Raw Garlic: Just chew a few garlic cloves. It is considered to be very effective in curing blisters. Or you can simply increase the amount of garlic in your diet.
▶ Tea Tree Oil: Take 2-3 tablespoons of tea tree oil and dilute it in a cup of water. Use this mixture daily as mouthwash. It cures the blisters as well as keep bacterial infections under control.
Whenever you have tongue blisters, you must make sure that you eat soft food which are easy to swallow. Any kind of acidic food or drink can cause irritation and make them more painful. Chocolates and any other sugary item may also aggravate the condition. Hence, such foodstuff should be avoided. The infected area should never be scratched with the teeth as it will not only delay the healing process but can aggravate the infection too.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.