Itchy Tongue

An itchy tongue refers to itchiness of the tongue. It may occur due to varied causes, as discussed below.

Symptoms of itchy tongue

A few common signs and symptoms that may accompany a case of itchy tongue are mentioned below:

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  • There may be dryness of throat, mouth, and tongue as well as tingling sensations.
  • The tongue may experience soreness.
  • The symptoms may vary in severity and extent according to the conditions or factors that cause an itchy tongue. For example, hay fever may cause itching in the tongue, lips, throat, and other areas of the oral cavity.
    • Eating spicy foods or raw veggies may result in burning and stinging sensations on the tongue
    • Blistering and bleeding may occur in cases of itchy tongue caused by reactions to allergens. Food allergy and/or oral allergy syndrome patients may also suffer from hot or burning sensations of the tongue.
    • Red bumps may develop on the tongue. The bumps may form with swelling and itchiness, particularly after eating food.
    • The lips may suddenly become swollen. The mouth may also experience swelling along with swollen and itchy tongue. These symptoms often occur due to food allergy reactions.
    • Ridges, cuts, or fissures may form on an itchy tongue. This condition is called geographic tongue. Allergies to different kinds of spices and foods may trigger the development of skin-breaks on tongue, which then causes geographic tongue.

Causes of itchy tongue

Itchy tongue may occur as a symptom of some minor underlying condition or severe disorders. Some common causes are as follows:

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  • Food allergies and other kinds of allergic reactions can cause an itchy tongue along with burning sensations. Common types of food allergies include spices, nuts, gluten, etc.
  • Oral thrush is a yeast infection of the mouth. It causes bitter or metallic taste in mouth; redness, itchiness, and/or bleeding in mouth or tongue; pain or discomfort in mouth; irritation of tongue; discolored or dark blobs on back of mouth, tongue, throat, inner cheeks, or lips; whitish or yellow coat with creamy texture on tongue; and or cracks on corners of lips
  • An itchy tongue is also common in diabetic patients. They may also elicit yellow or whitish furry layer on tongue, burning sensations, and increased susceptibility to occurrence of oral yeast infections such as oral thrush.
  • Aphthous ulcer of the oral cavity is a condition marked by formation of ulcers on tongue or other parts of mouth. The ulcers may develop due to increased anxiety, stress, accidently biting tongue or cheek, and intake of foods with sharp borders or hard eatables.
  • Itchy throat and tingling sensations in mouth may also occur as a symptom of Candida or oral herpes infection. Oral herpes may also cause adverse symptoms on the lips and other areas of mouth.
  • Excessively drinking alcohol and smoking may lead to itchy tongue, soreness, and dryness of mouth. Chemicals present in alcoholic drinks and tobacco smoke cause irritation of tongue and mouth, which then creates the right conditions for ulceration, infections, etc.
  • Hormonal imbalances and fluctuations in pregnant women may cause swollen lips, itchy tongue, and burning sensations in mouth.
  • Canker sores are white or yellow open sores that develop in the oral cavity. The sores may feature infections in surrounding areas. The condition occurs due to tears or beaks on skin of the gums, inner cheeks, tongue, lips, or mouth. Canker sores are more common in people with increased stress, vitamin deficits, impaired immune systems, or underlying viral infections.
  • There are naturally occurring small gaps on the tongue. Bacteria, dead cells, and food debris, etc. can buildup in these gaps and cause an itchy tongue.

Treatment of itchy tongue

An itchy tongue is treated as per the underlying causative condition and factors. Some treatment options for common causes of an itchy tongue are listed below:

  • Proper dental hygiene can help prevent accumulation of food and other debris in the tiny gaps present on tongue.
  • Tongue inflammation can be alleviated by using an antiseptic mouthwash to clean tongue and mouth.
  • Swelling can be eased with corticosteroids and other anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Avoiding allergy foods can help prevent allergic reactions. Antihistamines and other kinds of anti-allergy meds help find relief from varied symptoms of allergic reactions. Severe cases of itchy tongue and other anaphylactic allergic reactions require emergency care.
  • Treatment of canker sores involves avoiding spicy and hot cuisines; iron supplements; intake of diet full of vitamin B12, iron, and folic acid; using milk of magnesia on tongue; topical use of hydrogen peroxide on tongue to temporarily ease pain; and salt water gargles to decrease chances of infections.
  • Antibiotics, antifungals, and antivirals are used for treating itchy tongue caused by bacterial, fungal, and viral infections.

Home Remedies for Itchy Tongue

  • Home remedies for itchy tongue and associated symptoms are:
    • Hold cold apple juice in mouth to ease throat pain, burning sensations, and tongue irritation and itching
    • Topical use of yogurt and flax seed powder paste
    • Chewing cold ice chips
    • Topical use of raw honey, aloe vera, or lavender oil on tongue.
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