Tongue is an extremely vital part of the mouth. It is responsible for the initial processing of food, speech articulation, and swallowing. However, a sensitive tongue can cause many problems. This article discusses the causes of the sensitive tongue and ways to get rid of it.
The tongue is densely covered with taste buds and nerves, which help in detecting the smallest stimuli, like taste or pain. Some menopausal women suffer from an over-sensitive tongue, which keeps them from enjoying food or speaking fluently and clearly. This in turn adversely affects their self-confidence and leads to poor diet.
The sensation of a sensitive tongue can be described in different ways. It can result in tenderness to certain temperatures, like hot or cold; or flavors like salty or spicy. A sensitive tongue can feel as if the tongue is burnt and irritated, and even painful. Many people keep checking their tongue for abnormalities, like swelling, redness, or patches, but they mostly don’t find anything. The sensitive tongue can persist for long without showing any physical symptoms. It is necessary to know the causes of the sensitive tongue and ways to get rid of it.
What are the Causes of a Sensitive Tongue?
Many things, like spicy foods, toothpaste, and mouthwash can irritate the surface of the tongue. Poor oral hygiene, alcohol abuse, hormonal imbalance due to menopause, and injuries from bites or cuts, burns, nerve damage too can be the triggering causes of the sensitive tongue. Tobacco products too can be harmful to the tongue. Studies have shown that taste disturbances and sensitive tongue are more common in smokers and the intensity is also linked to the intensity of smoking.1
Although rare, an allergic or toxic reaction to certain foods, foods additives, medicines, supplements or herbs can be localized to the tongue resulting in tongue sensitivity. Other possible causes of the sensitive tongue are yeast infection, such as thrush, a viral infection like oral herpes, burning mouth syndrome (BMS), non-infected ulcers called aphthous stomatitis, and severe dry mouth due to decreased saliva production. Systemic diseases like mouth ulcers, diabetes, thyroid disease, and oral cancer too can be some of the causes of the sensitive tongue. Even vitamin or mineral deficiencies, especially of B12 or iron can trigger tongue sensitivity.
Ways to Get Rid of Sensitive Tongue?
The doctor would inspect the patient’s tongue and mouth to determine the exact cause of tongue sensitivity. The doctor can also check for any abnormal growths on the tongue, although these are very rarely a cause of a sensitive tongue.
Most often no specific cause of sensitive tongue is identified. However, there are some effective ways to get rid of the sensitive tongue. So for treating sensitive tongue, the general advice to the patients are as follows:
Maintain Proper Oral Hygiene – The best approach for treating the sensitive tongue is to rule out those conditions which are easily treatable. One should start with improving oral hygiene by brushing their teeth twice a day with plain or mild saline water, floss with plain water and swish their mouth with a mild, alcohol-free mouth wash after every meal. Patients suffering from sensitive tongue should avoid all possible irritants, and get their mouth checked by their doctor for any gum problems or tooth decay that can worsen tongue sensitivity. Just maintaining good oral hygiene is one of the best ways to get rid of the sensitive tongue.
Consume More Vitamins: People with a sensitive tongue can also get their blood tested to check for vitamin and mineral deficiencies, which can be treated naturally with a well-balanced diet, or through supplements. The best dietary sources of vitamin B 12 and iron are fish, beef, seafood, legumes, spinach, eggs, and cheese. Consuming vitamin-rich foods is one of the effective natural ways to get rid of the sensitive tongue.
Use Medications: Allergies are treated by avoiding substances or irritants, which trigger tongue sensitivity. In severe cases, antihistamines can be prescribed to relieve the allergic reaction and get rid of the sensitive tongue. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) maybe used to treat a sensitive tongue. However, as they may be associated with certain risks and side effects, it is best to follow medical advice. Many menopausal women also take natural supplements to balance their hormones. Phytoestrogens like red clover or soy are hormone-regulating supplements, which prove effective in alleviating an oversensitive tongue and other menopausal symptoms, like mood swings and hot flashes. While nutritional supplements and medicines are one of the ways to get rid of the sensitive tongue, it is best to consult a physician and follow their advice.