A sore on your tongue can be a nuisance. Causes for these pesky sores can include the foods you eat, certain medications, broken teeth and some diseases. It’s important to be aware of certain signs that signal that a sore requires professional medical or dental attention. We take a look at what symptoms you should be on the watch for, and what causes tongue sores.
What are tongue sores?
There are many different types of tongue sores. Some are painful, some are unsightly and some may be a sign of something more serious. If your tongue sore does not go away within 14 days, you should consult your dentist. If you suspect you have an infection, consult your dentist as soon as possible to minimize complications.
Canker sores are also known as mouth ulcers, and they appear on the gums, roof of the mouth, cheeks and tongue. If you bite your tongue, you may develop a canker sore. Genetics, stress, broken teeth, spicy and acidic foods and a burnt tongue may lead to canker sores. This type of sore on your tongue typically goes away on its own within two weeks. Canker sores occur more often in women. Children typically develop canker sores for the same reasons as adults, but parents also play a part. If you get this type of sore regularly, your child is likely to get it. Limit the acidic or rough-textured foods in your child’s diet. If the problem is recurring, consult your child’s pediatrician about medications he takes or foods he eats that may lead to frequent canker sores. To make the sore more tolerable it is recommended to rinse your mouth with mouth rinse to soothe the sore and reduce irritation.
A sore on your tongue may be a cold sore. This type of sore is caused by a contagious virus. Once caught, the virus lives inside your body for years, and certain triggers activate the virus, causing a cold sore to develop. Triggers for the disease include illness, hormonal changes, stress and sunburn. Cold sores usually go away on their own within 2 weeks. Over-the-counter treatments are available to help the cold sore disappear more quickly. You or your child can contract a cold sore from touching something that the virus has contaminated, such as a towel, toothbrush or eating utensils. It’s possible for a child to contract a cold sore on the tongue if his tongue comes in contact with a sore on his face. Also ensure that he washes his hands frequently; touching the sore may cause it to spread to other areas. Eating ice pops, rinsing with salt water and taking pain relievers as directed by a healthcare professional can help your child feel better until the sore goes away.
Oral Lichen Planus
Lichen planus is an inflammatory skin condition, and those with the condition will most likely experience symptoms on the legs and arms. However, oral lichen planus has the potential to affect your mouth as well. In fact, you may develop a sore on your tongue or on the cheek area, and the sore may feel tender and itch. It looks like white patches on your tongue or cheeks. The cause of lichen planus is unknown, but an allergic reaction or infection may be a factor. Visit a doctor for medication and for a prescription for light therapy to treat this disease.
When should you consult with a health care professional?
Consult your health care provider if the sore lasts longer than two weeks or if you experience a skin rash, fever, difficulty swallowing or drooling in addition to the sore. If you find a lesion, lump or ulcer on your tongue, if the development of the sore coincides with the start of a new medication or if the sore is accompanied by other symptoms, such as a strange taste in your mouth, difficulty swallowing or deep cracks within the tissue of the sore, seek treatment from a medical professional. A persistent sore could indicate a more serious condition.
Do you have any questions about tongue sores? Call Westermeier Martin Dental care to schedule an appointment with your dentist 716-508-4547.