Tongue Ulcers

Do you have tongue ulcers? It is rather unfortunate that most people suffering from this condition do not even know they have it. For this reason, it is important to learn about the causes, symptoms and treatments to be able to deal with the problem.

Also referred to as aphthous ulcers, this is a condition characterized by sores on the tongue's surface. Tongue ulcers appear as light colored inflamed areas on the tongue. In other cases, tongue ulcers seem sunk on the tongue's surface and are very sensitive to cold or hot substances. There are several health issues that lead to tongue ulcers.

Causes of Tongue Ulcers

Common causes

  • Emotional stress
  • Hormonal imbalances during menstrual periods
  • Oral hygiene
  • Physical trauma
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Lack of sleep
  • Food allergies such as to citrus fruits
  • Medication side effects
  • Vitamin deficiency (iron, Vitamin B12)
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate toothpaste side effect

Medical conditions

1. Oral thrush

This is a condition where there is an accumulation of fungus Candida albicans on the lining of the mouth. This causes creamy white cuts on the inner cheeks and tongue. These cuts can be painful and may bleed. This thrush can move to the tonsils, gum and back of the throat.

Symptoms: The symptoms are not evident in the beginning. They develop suddenly and may take long to disappear. They include pain, cream-white lesions in the inner check, tongue and mouth roof, tonsils and gums, mild bleeding, redness and cracking of the corners of the mouth, loss of taste as well as feeling cottony in the mouth.

Treatment: Treatment aims at inhibiting the spread of the fungus which varies with age, cause and individual health. Nursing mothers and children need special care. For normal adults, antifungal medications can be prescribed.

2. Oral cancer

This condition can appear in varying mouth and throat parts. This cancer starts from the tongue and mouth floor. Risks are higher in males over 40 years who use alcohol and tobacco.

Symptoms: They include earache, lose teeth, bleeding in the mouth, mouth sores that do not heal, ulcers in mouth cavity, neck lumps as well as swallowing pains.

Treatment: This can include radiation therapy, surgery as well as chemotherapy.

3. Crohn's disease

This is a bowel inflammatory disease that causes the swelling of the digestive tract lining.

Symptoms: abdominal pain, malnutrition, severe diarrhea, blood in stool, ulcers and weight loss. Others include fever, arthritis, skin disorders, mouth sores and liver and bile duct inflammation.

Treatment: Different treatments work differently for every patient. Treatment works to reduce swelling. Anti-inflammatory drugs include mesalamine, sulfasalazine and corticosteroids will be prescribed.

4. Celiac disease

This is an immune reaction for eating gluten which is a protein present in wheat, rye and barley. Eating gluten triggers an emergency immune response in the small intestine. This reaction causes swelling that causes damage to the lining of the small intestine.

Symptoms: The most common signs are diarrhea, constipation, anemia, bone density loss, joint pain, dental enamel damage, fatigue, headaches, tongue ulcers and weight loss.

Treatment: Avoid taking foods with gluten. Doctors may refer one to a dietician. The absence of gluten in foods lessens the inflammation in the intestines. Vitamin supplements like Vitamin B12, D, K as well as zinc supplements are also recommended. Medication is prescribed in case of severe intestinal damage.

5. Behçet's disease

This is a rare disorder that leads to blood vessel inflammation. This syndrome is associated with symptoms that may seem unrelated in the beginning. The causes are not conclusive.

Symptoms: mouth sores, skin rash, eye inflammation, genital sores, swelling of joints and pain and skin lesions.

Treatment: Treatment is administered to reduce the symptoms and stop the pain. Skin gels, creams and ointments can help relieve rashes while mouth rinses can ease the mouth and tongue ulcer pain. Systematic medications to boost the immune system can also be prescribed.

6. Oral lichen planus

This is a developing inflammatory condition affecting the mouth mucous membranes. These lichen planus look like white patches, red tissues that are swollen and open sores. The cause remains unknown.

Symptoms: White or red swollen lesions in the mouth, on the gums, palate, tongue and the lips inner tissues. Pain, sensitivity to hot substances, bleeding, gums inflammation and taste changes are also symptoms.

Treatment: The treatment administered involves medication meant to reduce the discomfort caused by the symptoms. A doctor may increase or reduce dosage depending on development. Anti-inflammatory drugs like corticosteroids can be prescribed.

7. Herpes simplex

Herpes virus can cause infections affecting the nervous system and skin. This leads to blisters on the skin's mucous membranes, including tongue ulcers.

8. Gingivostomatitis

This is a condition caused by a combination of stomatitis and gingivitis. This causes the swelling of the gums and the mucus membranes inflame causing tongue and mouth sores.

Tongue Ulcers Remedies

Things to use

  1. Yogurt. This contains acidophilus that stimulates the body's immunity.
  2. Fruits. This hastens the healing of the sores.
  3. Pure coconut oil. A teaspoon of coconut oil daily is advisable. It is known to cure various ulcers.
  4. Rinsing with salt water. This gets rid of the stickiness caused by the ulcers.
  5. OTC ointments. Examples include Orajel and Anbesol which contain anesthetic that numbs the tongue temporarily.
  6. Ice. This numbs the tongue and eases the pain.
  7. Hydrogen peroxide. A mixture of water and hydrogen peroxide in the ration of 1:1 can be applied to the tongue directly on a daily basis. This speeds up the healing.
  8. Milk of magnesia. It should be applied on the tongue using a swab. It can be mixed with the hydrogen peroxide mixture or can be applied separately. It soothes the sores. You can combine this with mouthwash and used to rinse the mouth. Do not swallow.

Things to avoid

  1. Smoking
  2. Excess alcohol consumption
  3. Excessive intake of tea and coffee, spicy food, etc.
  4. Use of toothpaste and mouthwash containing harsh chemicals
  5. Prescribed medication and supplements that may induce mouth sores

Prescribed medications and supplements

In case the ulcers do not heal, medication may be recommended.

  • Prescription of anti-inflammatory, collagenase inhibitors or antibiotics is common
  • Pain relievers like debacterol are also prescribed. This seals the tissues thereby shortening the time taken to heal
  • Supplements like zinc and vitamin supplements like Vitamin B12 and B6 as well as folic acid are also prescribed
  • As a last result steroids are prescribed
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