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Tongue Problems

Tongue is the strongest muscle in the body which allow us to taste food, swallow and talk.  A healthy tongue is pink and covered with small nodules called papillae.

Symptoms of Tongue Problems

Different causes of tongue problems have different symptoms. You might have:

  • Pain
  • Burning sensation
  • Lumps
  • Sores
  • Discoloration, ranging from white to black
  • Texture changes

Causes of Tongue Problems

There are a variety of tongue problems but majority aren’t serious and most can be resolved quickly.

In some instances, though, a discolored or painful tongue can indicate more serious conditions, including vitamin deficiencies, AIDS, or oral cancer. For this reason, it is important to seek medical advice if you have any ongoing problems with your tongue.

Causes of sore tongue or tongue bumps

There are many things that can make your tongue become sore or cause painful bumps to form, including:

  • Trauma. Accidentally biting your tongue or scalding it on something hot can leave you with a sore tongue until the damage heals.
  • Smoking. Smoking excessively can irritate your tongue and make it sore.
  • Canker sores. Many people will get these mouth ulcers on the tongue at some point. The cause is unknown, although they can be worse during periods of heightened stress.
  • Burning tongue syndrome. Some postmenopausal women develop this syndrome, which makes the tongue feel as if it has been burned.
  • Enlarged papillae. If one or more of your taste buds becomes inflamed or irritated, it can swell and form a painful bump on your tongue.
  • Other medical problems. Medical conditions, including diabetes and anemia, can have a sore tongue as a symptom.
  • Oral cancer. Though most sore tongues aren’t anything to worry about, you should consult a doctor if you have a lump or sore on your tongue that doesn’t go away within a week or two.
Causes of white tongue There are a number of things that can cause a whitish coating or white spots to develop on the tongue, including:

  • Leukoplakia. This condition causes cells in the mouth to grow excessively. That, in turn, leads to the formation of white patches inside the mouth, including on the tongue. Leukoplakia can be a precursor to cancer. It is often found in people who use tobacco products.
  • Oral thrush. Also known as candidiasis, oral thrush is a yeast infection that develops inside the mouth. Oral thrush is most commonly seen in people with weakened immune systems. Eating plain yogurt with live and active cultures may help restore the proper fauna in your mouth.
  • Oral lichen planus. A network of raised white lines on your tongue with a lace-like appearance can be a sign of this condition.  You can practice proper dental hygiene, avoid tobacco, and cut back on foods that irritate your mouth.

Causes of red or strawberry tongue

There are multiple factors that can cause a normally pink tongue to turn red. In some instances, the tongue may even take on the appearance of a strawberry with enlarged, red taste buds dotting the surface. Possible causes include:

  • Geographic tongue. This condition is named for the map-like pattern of reddish spots that develop on the surface of the tongue.
  • Scarlet fever. People who get this infection may develop a strawberry tongue. Be sure to contact a doctor immediately if you have a high fever and red tongue. Antibiotic treatment is necessary for scarlet fever