This four-part article series talks about the various ailments and conditions that can cause tongue problems, from unsightly discoloration to uncomfortable bumps and ridges.
Welcome to the final installment of our four-part article series in which we have spoken to Sun City dentistry professionals about all the different conditions and ailments that can affect the tongue. This essential muscle, or group of muscles rather, not only makes it possible for you to swallow and eat properly, but it also makes speech possible. We use our tongues almost constantly, so when it gets sore or uncomfortable, there’s no escaping it!
In our previous three article posts, we looked at the following three categories of tongue problems: (1) red “strawberry tongue, (2) white tongue and (3) black hairy tongue. In this, the final installment of the series, Sun City dental experts will be talking to us about the various problems that could lead to a sore and/or bumpy tongue.
What Can Cause my Tongue to be Bumpy or Sore?
• Physical Trauma: The first point is perhaps the most obvious. If you accidentally burn your tongue on hot food, or bite down on it, you’ll experience pain and discomfort until the wound heals. Teeth grinding (bruxism) can also irritate the peripheries of the tongue, so get a mouth guard fitted and wear it at night when you’re most likely to clench your jaw without thinking about it.
• Enlarged Papillae: “Sometimes a single papillae or taste bud on your tongue can get irritated and become swollen and inflamed,” say Sun City dentistry professionals. “For something so small, an irritated taste bud can be very uncomfortable! You’ll just have to wait it out until it heals.”
• Canker Sores: A canker sore or mouth ulcer can seemingly develop for no reason, although they are linked with periods of heightened stress. They usually heal up on their own, but if you have a sore that persists for more than two weeks, seek professional Sun City dental attention for a diagnosis.
• Smoking: Smoking cigarettes, cigars and pipes can irritate the soft tissues in the mouth, causing them to become inflamed and sore. Small bumps can also develop on the soft palate in response to this irritant or any other irritant for that matter, such as alcohol.
• Burning Tongue Syndrome: “Burning tongue is a condition marked by, as the name would suggest, an uncomfortable burning sensation in the tongue,” explain Sun City dentistry experts. “It presents most commonly in post-menopausal women and the cause is as yet unclear, although treatment is available.”
• Certain Medical Conditions: Anemia and diabetes, for example, can cause your tongue to feel sore.
• Oral Cancer: “The majority of the oral sores you develop aren’t dangerous,” explain Sun City dental professionals. “Ulcers, canker sores and enlarged papillae develop just as frequently as they disappear quickly. It’s when an oral sore persists that we urge patients to come in for a closer inspection.”
An Important Note on Oral Cancer
Any lump, sore, raised patch or discoloration that doesn’t go away within a week or two could possibly be cancer or a precursor to cancer. These anomalies don’t necessarily have to be painful, either. In fact, cancerous sores or growths rarely hurt in the initial stages, so an absence of pain will tell you nothing. When you seek professional attention, a quick biopsy will be performed so that the tissue comprising the anomaly can be inspected closely for signs of malignant cell growth.
Oral cancer treated in the early stages significantly increases your chance of complete recovery so never delay or ignore an oral problem!