Your tongue is one of the most important parts of your mouth. You use it to speak, swallow, taste, and much more. So, when something goes wrong with this oral organ’s sensitive tissue, you’re likely to notice right away. Even a seemingly minor sore on the end of your tongue can be very uncomfortable, interfere with your daily activities, and possibly signal a more serious issue. Fortunately, Dr. Craig Armstrong and our Houston dental team are available to assist you with all mouth matters. We’ve made it our mission to help our patients enjoy excellent oral health in all aspects. There is no question or concern too small for us. In the following blog, we explain the sources of sores on the tip of your tongue and describe how we can help you remedy this condition.
Tongue Sore Symptoms
How can you tell if the annoyance at the end of your tongue is, in fact, a sore? If you’re suffering from this condition, you may notice:
· Red, white, or yellow discoloration on your tongue tissue
· An aching, sharp, stinging, raw, burning, or itchy feeling at a specific point on the tip of your tongue
· Sensitivity to hot, cold, sweet, or acidic food and beverages
· Difficulty tasting food or beverages, especially if they are sweet (since the taste buds that perceive sweetness tend to be located at the tip of the tongue)
If the cause of your discomfort is a sore, these symptoms will most likely be concentrated at a certain point on your tongue. In contrast, other issues may create more generalized soreness, sensitivity issues, discoloration, and taste differences across your entire tongue.
The sources of sores on your tongue range from completely benign to more serious concerns, so you should always pay attention to changes in your oral tissue and see Dr. Armstrong for assistance. Some of the most common causes for sores on the tip of your tongue include:
· Injury. It may seem obvious, but one of the most widespread reasons for tongue sores is oral injury. For example, if you took an ill-advised sip of scalding hot tea or accidentally bit down on your tongue, a sore might develop while the tissue heals.
· Allergic reaction. This is another common culprit for mouth sores. If you eat something you’re allergic to, your tongue may develop an irritated patch in response.
· Ulcers. As the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) explains, “aphthous mouth ulcers are painful round or oval sores that can occur anywhere in the mouth and are common on the underside of the tongue.” These are sometimes created by “damage to the mouth” through injury, but can also result from “stress, anxiety, eating certain foods, stopping smoking, or hormonal changes.”
· Infection. Bacteria, fungi, and viruses can sometimes overtake your tongue and cause sores. For example, NHS points to “oral thrush,” a fungal infection, as a common cause for tongue pain. Fungal infections are more common, but bacteria and viruses can also lead to sores.
· Geographic tongue. People with this condition lack some of the papillae (tiny bumps) on their tongues, which can create localized red patches and soreness.
· Neuralgia. There are thousands of nerve endings in the tongue. These are important because they allow us to feel, move, and taste with our tongue. However, if these become injured or upset, they can lead to a condition known as neuralgia. NHS explains that, while relatively uncommon, tongue sores could result from “glossopharyngeal neuralgia…severe tongue pain thought to be caused by nerve irritation.” Neuralgia can occur throughout the tongue or at a specific point, such as the tip.
· Oral cancer. A sore on your tongue could be a symptom of oral cancer. The growth of malignant, irregular cells can create sores.
These are just a few of the potential reasons you might develop a sore on the tip of your tongue. We recommend that you see Dr. Armstrong for an extensive, accurate diagnosis.
The remedy for your tongue sore will depend almost entirely on the cause of your condition. When you come into our Houston practice, Dr. Armstrong will thoroughly examine your mouth for oral pathology, ask you about your oral history, and perform any relevant diagnostic tests to determine the source of your sore. In some cases, such as injury or an ulcer, the condition should go away on its own within one to two weeks, but we can provide topical treatments and rinses to hasten the healing process and alleviate symptoms. However, in the case of more serious, holistic issues such as neuralgia or oral cancer, we will likely send you to a specialist for more in-depth treatment.
Are You Suffering from a Sore on the Tip of Your Tongue?
Dr. Armstrong and our Houston dental team can help! Contact us today to schedule an appointment.