An itchy tongue is normally brought about by something obvious and very visible, although there are a few less obvious reasons that you should be aware of that might require treating.
If the pain is much persistent and you haven’t accidentally bitten or even burnt the tongue, see the doctor or dentist. There can be an underlying problem that requires treatment and the doctor or dentist can be able to advise you on pain relief while you wait for it to get better.
It’s not unusual for an individual with seasonal allergies to have an itchy nose. But it can appear surprising that some of the hay-fever sufferers will get an itchy feeling in their mouths, throats or lips when they begin to take certain foods.
The condition is called oral allergy syndrome or pollen-associated food allergy syndrome, and it’s the most common form of food allergy amongst the adults. It happens due to proteins that are found in some fresh fruits as well as vegetables are similar to allergy-causing proteins that are found in pollens, such as ragweed and grasses.
Not long after some people who have seasonal allergies eat uncooked vegetables and fruits, as well as some nuts and spices, the people’s immune systems realized a similarity between the food and pollen’s proteins. This is known as cross reactivity.
Here are the tips for people who have hay fever and may have oral allergy syndrome.
Know your worst foods. Apples, peaches, plums, nectarines, almonds and carrots are the most common food culprits of the oral allergy symptoms. It should be noted that apples are a common offender for people who are allergic to the birch pollen, and foods such as celery and other raw fruits that have pits, as these fruits and vegetables are botanically close to the birch.
Often, it’s just one or two foods on the list that might lead to oral symptoms in some people with birch pollen allergies.
Melons, honeydew, along with cucumber, zucchini, and banana, might trigger cross reactions in people who are very sensitive to ragweed pollen. And people with grass pollen allergies can be bothered by the tomatoes, melons and oranges.
Beware of common symptoms. Oral symptoms, like an itchy tongue and tingling in the mouth and throat, and slight swelling in the lips, can happen within seconds or minutes of putting the food in the mouth. Some people might get so much swelling of the mouth, tongue and lips that swallowing might be uncomfortable.
What Causes your Tongue to Tingle?
The following conditions can cause you tongue to itch
Also known as benign migratory glossitis or the oral erythema migrans, geographic tongue is a very common condition that leads to irregular red patches that is surrounded by white lines that develops on the tongue, thus giving it a map-like appearance. In some other people, the red patches can feel sore or sensitive to some foods and drinks.
You might notice that after a few days, weeks or even months the position of the lines and patches change. They can disappear and re-appear later on a very different part of the tongue.
Some other people find out that the condition improves over time, while for others it can be much persistent. See the doctor or dentist if you have any persistent discolored or painful patches on the tongue.
It’s not very clear exactly what leads to geographic tongue and there is no given treatment for it, but you can be able to manage the pain through taking of over-the-counter painkillers (speak to the pharmacist for advice) and avoid anything that makes it worse, like acidic, spicy or hot foods.
Oral thrush is an infection that is found in the mouth brought about by a fungus, which can lead to a coated or white tongue and other areas of soreness.
You are more likely to have oral thrush if you:
- have recently taken antibiotics
- have very poor oral hygiene
- wear dentures particularly if they don’t fit well
- have a much weakened immune system
- have diabetes
You should see the doctor if you think you have oral thrush. If left untreated, the symptoms can persist and the mouth continues to be uncomfortable.
Oral thrush is treated using antifungal medicines that are taken for around one week. These usually come in the form of gels or even liquid that you apply directly inside the mouth, although the tablets or even the capsules are sometimes used.
Aphthous mouth ulcers
Aphthous mouth ulcers are very are painful sores that can happen anywhere within the mouth and are much common on the underside of the tongue.
Most of the mouth ulcers are brought about by damage to the mouth, such as from accidentally biting the tongue or eating something that is hard and sharp.
Ulcers that keep recurring have been related to things like stress, hormone changes, certain foods and stopping smoking.
Most mouth ulcers heal within one week or two and you can be able to manage the pain in the meantime by taking of over-the-counter painkillers and avoiding of anything that worsens it, like spicy foods.
See the doctor or dentist if you have an ulcer that doesn’t heal within a few weeks or if you develop ulcers more regularly
This is the first reason that can make the tongue itch, more especially if you know yourself to be allergic in general (for instance, you have hay fever). This is also known as as oral allergy syndrome.
- A recent case has indicated that the proteins found in some fresh fruits and vegetables are almost the same as the proteins that leads to other types of allergies (for instance, pollen or birch weed)
- Some of the most common fruits and vegetables that may lead to itchy tongue as an allergic reaction are: peaches, apples, cherries, pears, melons, bananas, carrots, cucumbers, zucchini
- Nuts are also said to be responsible for the appearance of the itchy tongue, the main culprits are hazelnuts and almonds
- Other types of foods can lead to allergic reactions that are accompanied by itchy tongue, among others: fish, soy, eggs, , milk
This can cause the appearance of itchy tongue, after the tissue has entered into contact with the harmful or even irritating chemical substances. The same goes for some cosmetics or any other product in the health category. Contact dermatitis might also appear if you use a toothpaste that have powerful, allergenic ingredients. It may also appear as an allergic reaction to the different types of medication.
Why do I have an Itchy Tongue
The following are some of the causes
- a viral infection – like an infection by the viruses that lead to hand, foot and mouth disease or even cold sores
- vitamin deficiencies and anaemia – a sore tongue can sometimes be a symptom of iron deficiency anaemia as well as vitamin B12 or folate deficiency anaemia
- median rhomboid glossitis – where a smooth, inflamed patch normally develops on the middle or even at the back of the tongue, thought to come from a fungal infection
- Glossodynia or “burning mouth syndrome” – a burning pain that develops at the tip of the tongue that is normally seen in people who have depression.
- glossopharyngeal neuralgia – repeated episodes of very itchy tongue pain is believed to be brought about by nerve irritation
- lichen planus– a long-term skin condition that leads to an itchy rash and might also affect the mouth, leading to a white lacy pattern and also painful patches on the tongue
- Behçet’s disease – a rare condition that leads to inflammation of the blood vessels and might also cause painful mouth ulcers
- pemphigus vulgaris – a rare and serious condition that leads to the painful blisters to develop on the skin, and inside the mouth, nose, anus and genitals
- medications – painful mouth ulcers can also be a side effect of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and beta-blockers, and some mouthwashes can lead to tongue pain in some people
- Moeller’s glossitis – a type of inflammation of the tongue
- cancer of the tongue – although this is rare
Itchy Tongue Superstition
People in most parts of the world have very different beliefs about an itchy tongue. In India for instance, when you have an itchy tongue, it implies somebody is speaking ill of you. Then whoever is talking bad about you will thus bite their own tongue!
Placing an emerald under one’s tongue will also allow them to conjure evil spirits.
Itchy Tongue Yeast Infection
Oral thrush is a fungal infection of the mouth. It is not in any way contagious and is normally successfully treated using antifungal medication.
It is also known as oral candidiasis as it is brought about by a group of yeasts called Candida.
Symptoms of oral thrush may include:
- white patches (plaques) that are found in the mouth that might often be wiped off, thus leaving behind red areas that may bleed slightly
- loss of taste or an unpleasant taste in the mouth
- redness inside the mouth or throat
- cracks at the corners of the mouth
- a painful and burning sensation in the mouth
In some other cases, the symptoms of oral thrush can even make eating and drinking difficult.
Low numbers of the fungus Candida are normally found in the mouth and digestive system of many people. They don’t usually lead to any problems, but can cause oral thrush if they multiply.
There are a number of reasons why this can happen, including:
- taking a course of antibiotics, especially over a long period or at a very high dose
- taking inhaled corticosteroid medication for asthma
- due to poor oral hygiene
- having a dry mouth, either because of a medical condition or a medication you are taking
- having chemotherapy or radiotherapy to treat cancer
Babies, young children and even the elderly people are at a particularly high risk of developing oral thrush, as are people who have certain underlying conditions, that includes diabetes, an iron deficiency, vitamin B12 deficiency, an underactive thyroid and HIV.
As most people already have Candida fungi that lives in their mouth, oral thrush is not very contagious. This implies it cannot be passed to others
What does it mean when your Tongue is White and Itchy
Whitening of the tongue might happen when there is a buildup or a coating of bacteria and also debris on the surface of the tongue because of mild dehydration, illness (when there is less use of the tongue for talking or even eating), or dryness of the mouth.
A whitening of the top layer of the tongue or the presence of the white spots or the patches on the tongue may also be observed with the infection, irritation, or the chronic inflammation of the surface of the tongue.
Why does my Tongue Itch after Eating
In a person with a food allergy, the immune response is very oversensitive. When it recognizes an allergen, it launches a response. Chemicals like histamines are then released. These chemicals leads to allergy symptoms.
Any food can lead to an itchy tongue. The most common food allergies are:
- Eggs (in children)
- Fish (children and adults)
- Milk (people of all ages)
- Peanuts (people of all ages)
- Shellfish like the shrimp, crab, and lobster (people of all ages)
- Soy (in children)
- Tree nuts (people of all ages)
- Wheat (people of all ages)
In very rare cases, food additives, such as the dyes, thickeners, as well as the preservatives, can lead to a food allergy or intolerance reaction.
Some people already have an oral allergy. This is an allergy type syndrome that only affects the mouth and tongue after they eat certain fresh fruits and vegetables:
- Melons, apples, and other foods have substances that are very similar to some other pollens.
- The reaction most often happens when you eat a raw form of the foods. How severe the reaction is depends on how much of the food that an individual ate.
If the child has a problem with a cow’s milk formula, the medical provider can suggest trying a soy-based formula or something known as an elemental formula, if it is available
What Causes Itchy Tongue in Child
Scarlet fever is brought about by an infection with group A streptococcus bacteria (usually strep throat). The bacteria make a toxin (poison) that can cause the scarlet-colored rash that gives this illness its name.
Not all streptococci bacteria make this toxin and not all kids are sensitive to it. Two kids in the same family may both have strep infections, but one child (especially the who are sensitive to the toxin) may develop the rash of scarlet fever while the other doesn’t.
Usually, if a child has this itchy tongue and other symptoms of strep throat, itchy tongue that can be treated by use of antibiotics. So if the child has these symptoms, it’s important to call a doctor.
How to Treat Itchy Tongue
These are the most common courses of treatment that are undertaken for itchy tongue:
- Anti-allergy medication in case of the allergies (anti-histamines)
- Emergency epinephrine in case of a severe allergy reaction, that is then followed by anaphylactic shock
- Corticosteroids can assist to reduce the inflammation and also calm down the itchy tongue in the case of contact dermatitis. But, they should not be applied as a treatment for a prolonged period of time or they can cause serious side-effects.
- Anti-bacterial medication for the bacterial infections (broad spectrum antibiotics)
- Anti-viral medication for the viral infections
- Anti-fungal medication for the fungal infections
- Antiseptic mouthwash is also crucial.
- Anti-inflammatory medication to help with the additional swelling due to itchy tongue
When suffering from an itchy tongue, use of certain home remedies can assist just as much as taking of medication, if not even more. These are the most common home remedies that you can apply in case of an itchy tongue:
- Butterbur herb – the natural substances that are found in this herb can assist not only with the itchiness but also with the additional inflammation.
- Gargling – this is especially recommended if you have an infection in the oral area. Be sure to mix some warm water using salt and gargle at least two to three times a day for the better results.
- Honey is also recommended for its anti-bacterial properties that can get rid of itchy tongue.
- Baking soda is also indicated for oral care.
- Yogurt can assist to bring some probiotics into the area.
- Chewing of ice chips can assist with the itchy tongue. But, you should refrain from keeping the tongue cold for very long, or you can have circulatory problems.
- Chewing mint leaves might also assist, reducing the intensity of itchy tongue.
- Lavender oil is also recommended for the problem.
- Glycerin can assist to reduce the intensity of the symptoms and also to repair any existing lesions.
As you can see for yourself, there are several medical treatments as well as the home remedies that are available for itchy tongue. It is for the best to take the medical treatment that the doctor has already prescribed you and use the home remedies so as to alleviate the itchiness and all other upsetting symptoms.