By dentist Dr. Richard Mitchell
A Sore Tongue can be really annoying and sometimes very painful - And I know from personal experience! I accidently bit the side of my tongue quite badly a few years ago, and I STILL have a small swollen area and occasional tongue pain in that area.
But if you don't know the cause of your sore tongue, you may be very worried about it. Fortunately, the causes of a sore tongue are usually nothing serious.
When I bit my tongue, I had a really sore tongue for about a week. Although I am a dentist myself, I was worried enough to go see a specialist about it! Fortunately I didn't need any treatment, but the specialist was impressed with my attempt to chew a piece out of my own tongue. Definitely NOT recommended!
Enough of me. A sore tongue can have MANY possible causes, and biting your tongue is just one of them! Here's a list of EIGHT possibilities, with the most common causes coming up first:
This is very painful, as it rubs on the molars every minute of every hour! It can also look pretty nasty. This should settle down within 5 to 7 days. If you don't see any signs of it healing in that time, get a dentist to take a look. There's no specific treatment that will help it heal more quickly.
This is the most common cause of a sore tongue. Other websites that have NOT been written by a dentist will often list the various types of trauma separately - BUT they are all traumatic tongue injuries, so I have listed them together under the heading of trauma;
Get your dentist to check it, and he'll probably just polish down the sharp edge for you. The your sore tongue will heal up in about 5 to 7 days.
- A sharp denture edge is very similar to a sharp tooth cusp. The trouble is, you may have had your denture for a while, and you've got used to it - so when the gum shrinks a little over time, and starts to get rubbed by the denture, you don't realize what's going on. You've had the denture for a year or two, and it's never rubbed before. So you're not expecting it! The answer is simple - Get the denture smoothed down by your dentist.
- A bitten tongue most often leaves a cut in your tongue. Although it's very painful at the time, and will bleed a little, it will heal up quickly and leave no traces afterwards. You will KNOW that this is the cause of your sore tongue, because it's very sore the instant you bite it - OUCH! Again, it will take 5 to 7 days to settle down.
- A haemangioma from biting is what I've got! Basically you burst a couple of small capillaries inside the tongue, so it swells up a bit in the spot, goes blue, and then heals in that shape, with bigger blood capillaries there too.
You can tend to bite it again after a while because it's bigger and sticks out a bit from the rest of your tongue. Sometimes a specialist will recommend an injection to shrink the swelling down.
- Burns from hot drinks; if you scald your tongue with a hot drink, chances are that your palate and lips will be even worse off. The burn can look quite scary, with a big white patch in the middle. Get a dentist to look at it. This usually heals on it's own, but you'll be eating only ice-cream for a week!
The clue for you that it's nothing serious is that it has appeared suddenly and is very tender to anything touching it. It will look like a red patch, and slightly swollen.
This can cause an aspirin burn. The aspirin can cause a chemical burn on the gum or tongue, leaving a large, nasty-looking ulcer. The best advice is NOT to place an aspirin tablet directly on the gum! If you already have an aspirin burn, just leave it alone. Time will heal it.
You can help a sore tongue by avoiding anything that might irritate it; some recent research points to a common ingredient in almost all toothpastes - sodium lauryl sulfate - as an irritating agent. This is basically a type of soap, and causes your toothpaste to froth up so that it "feels more effective".
The BEST toothpaste that does NOT contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is from TheraBreath. I strongly recommend the standard TheraBreath toothpaste! From Amazon.
BUT you have to use the TheraBreath mouthwash too, after brushing, for the best results! I really like TheraBreath products. Have a look at the TheraBreath Oral Rinse, also from Amazon.
It has been proven over and over again, without any shadow of a doubt, that the sooner you get a cancer diagnosed, the quicker and simpler the treatment is. And more successful.
These are the most common sore tongue causes, and the most usual treatments. There are other causes of tongue pain, but these tend to be quite rare. As always, if you have ANY doubts at all, get it checked by a doctor or dentist.
DON'T put it off 'til next week!