Sore On Tongue – Causes, Picture, Symptoms and Treatment

Sore tongue refers to the pain you feel in the tongue. You may feel pain in your tongue due to various conditions related to tongue such as bumps, ulcers, abnormalities, infection. The pain continues to occur due to visible bumps, swelling, and redness. Usually, the sore tongue is harmless but frequent soreness accompanied with ulcer or bumps could be a sign of oral cancer.

Continues suffering from sore tongue can restrict the person from eating and swallowing. Any infections of throat, tooth, gums, and tonsils can affect tongue function as the nerves connect with each other.

Causes of Sore on tongue

A sore tongue is difficult to ignore which create discomfort during speaking, eating. Here are the possible causes of the sore tongue.


Hardly biting your tongue can create extreme pain in the tongue. Eating hot stuff also causes to burn your tongue suddenly. Possibly you may experience blister on the tongue. Teeth grinding and holding hard can also create pain on the outer sides of the tongue.

Tongue injury also won’t go immediately just like when you get hit on leg or arm. The soreness remains in tongue until it gets to heal.


Overgrown papillae are a cause of a sore tongue. It may occur as red or white bumps are also referred to as transient lingual papillitis and lie bumps. It causes painful swelling in taste buds of the tongue. These bumps commonly disappear in a few days

Oral thrush is a kind of yeast infection which cause sore on tongue. You may notice white patches which are similar like cottage cheese on the tongue. Oral thrush is common in older adults and babies. It affects in individuals, who have a weak immune system. It may grow after taking antibiotics, or steroid inhalers use in asthma patients. Certain oral infection can also create sore tongue such as

  • Syphilis
  • Mouth disease
  • Human papillomavirus

Mouth ulcers

When you notice ulcers in the mouth, the pain may occur in a specific spot. You may notice oval shape canker sore or ulcer in your mouth. The color of the ulcer may range from whitish, yellow, red and gray.

These bumps grow for various reasons which includes

Mouth ulcers can heal after one or two weeks without treatment. You can take the pain relief medicines to reduce the discomfort. Avoid eating spicy foods which can irritate your tongue.

Food allergy or sensitivity

You may get allergy or sensitivity after eating a certain food. You may experience the oral allergy syndrome which describes as a pollen-food syndrome. This condition occurs due to raw fruits, tree nuts, and vegetables.

During food allergy, you may experience the following symptoms with a sore tongue.

  • Itchiness in mouth
  • Scratchy throat
  • Swelling in tongue, lips, and mouth

Oral sensitivity syndrome occurs in young adults, teenager, and older children. If you get a chronic reaction, then your doctor may advise you take an epinephrine auto-injector.


Excess smoking can cause sore on tongue. Smoking can put in a higher risk of growing throat and mouth cancer. Smoking can create some other problem in the mouth such as

  • Tooth decay
  • Bad breath
  • Stained teeth
  • Yeast growth
  • Hairy tongue
  • Brown spots on gums
  • Thick white patches on upper mouth

Anemia and Vitamin deficiency

Lack of folate and vitamin B-12 you may encounter a sore tongue. Your tongue resembles like beefy red. The burning sensation can arise in tongue due to low levels of zinc. You may undergo vitamin deficiencies with the following symptoms.


  • Dizziness
  • Tingling and dullness in your hands and feet

Vitamin insufficiencies usually grow after a long time which increases slowly. You can manage with well-balanced diet, supplement and vitamin injections.

Burning mouth syndrome

Burning tongue syndrome also causes a sore tongue. You will feel burning sensation in the mouth and inner parts such as gums, lips, palate, and cheeks. Your tongue may get burn after eating hot foods. The burning feeling can occur suddenly or increase after some time. Its other symptoms include thirst, dry mouth, and loss of taste.


It is a condition of nerve damage and irritation. Neuralgia can be one reason for the recurring of tongue pain without infection or trauma.

Neuralgia can cause you intense pain such as electric shock. This pain can occur in throat, tonsils, tongue, and ears. Neuralgia is more prone in people with throat and neck cancer. In some cases, the causes are unknown.

This condition is curable with medication to relieve the nerves and another option in surgery.

Lichen planus

It is a severe skin condition which causes lacy white patches and itchy rashes. The mild occurrence of this condition will not cause discomfort. It may have other symptoms such as burning while drinking or eating and white patches in the mouth. Even this condition may have red gums with pain.

Behcet’s disease

It is a disorder of blood vessel inflammation in the whole body. It is a rare cause of tongue pain, but it produces tongue sores like canker sores. These sores resemble as raised and round area of irritation. Behcet’s sores persist for three weeks. It may reoccur later after some time.

It may have the potential symptoms such as

  • Lumps on skin
  • Acne sore
  • Digestive issues
  • Joint pain
  • Genital ulcer

Moeller’s glossitis

Moeller’s glossitis also describes atrophic glossitis and smooth or bald tongue. It is a kind of inflammation in the tongue. It causes irritation, burning and pain sensation in the tongue. Since the tongue taste buds have atrophied, it has a smooth and glossy appearance. This condition occurs due to celiac or vitamin B12 deficiency.

Certain medications

According to some studies, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as naproxen (Aleve) and beta blocker causes sore tongue and ulcer. Mouthwash also irritates tongue and creates sores.

Pemphigus Vulgaris

It’s a rare disease which causes painful sores in the mouth as well as genital parts. Pemphigus Vulgaris sores may appear as blisters in the mouth. They may rupture and discharge which cause to develop an infection. It makes eating and swallowing more difficult. This condition can cure with medications and therapies which uses for chronic burns.

Oral cancer

Oral cancer is an uncommon cause of a sore tongue. Apart from other conditions cancer also a remote chance. You may encounter painful sores and a lump which doesn’t go quickly will want medical help.

It may have other symptoms such as

  • Bleeding sore
  • Loose teeth
  • Painful chewing
  • Painful swallowing
  • Thickening of mouth skin

Initially, oral cancer doesn’t cause pain.

It’s a better idea to have checkups even if you get lumps without pain.

Symptoms of Sore on Tongue

Sore on the tongue can have discomforting symptoms which can determine with its cause for the treatments. Here are the symptoms.

Red sore tongue

There are various causes which show a symptom of the red sore tongue. If your food contains more acid, then it may temporarily cause a red sore tongue. But if red tongue accompanied with pain can associate with a severe problem in the mouth. However, the red sore tongue also relates to strep infection (scarlet fever) or vitamin deficiency.

Tingle pain

When you lose sensation in tongue due to damage of nerves, it shows symptoms of numbness, tingling, and pins.

Tingle pain occurs when you put pressure on your tongue while sitting uncomfortable or sleeping on an arm. Often tingling feeling occurs in tongue due to a specific allergic reaction also.

In some cases, some severe health conditions such as stroke also affect tongue functions. Therefore be aware of all symptoms for better treatment.

Small Bumps

It’s true that we never pay attention to our tongue until it begins to hurt. Then we check our tongue in the mirror and find out there are unusual bumps. The sore tongue also has symptoms of small bumps. It may occur anywhere on the tongue. These bumps occur due to many things such as

  • Allergic reaction
  • Herpes simplex virus complex
  • Canker sores
  • The early stage of syphilis
  • Tuberculosis
  • Bacterial Infection
  • Immune system problem

Difficulty in tongue movements

When you have sore on tongue, you may feel difficulty in talking, speaking, eating and swallowing. These symptoms can be hardly noticeable and very restrictive in some cases.

Taste change

During the sore tongue problem, you get symptoms of taste change or complete loss of taste in some cases. Due to the pain or injury in the tongue taste buds stop responding which makes you unable to detect taste.

Swollen Tongue

A sudden reaction of medication may cause swelling, which is a symptom of the sore tongue. Other reasons for swollen tongue include a tumor, build up fluid, cancer, chronic injury. More enlarged tongue make difficult to breath in some cases.

White Patches

It is also a symptom of a sore on tongue. White patches occur on tongue surface due to fungi or bacteria and dead cells dues to injury or infection.


Consult your doctor if you experience tongue sore for a long time or frequent occurrence. You may notice sores remain with any recovery. Several chronic infections and ailments require detail checkups with a previous health history.

Check with your doctor if you have the following conditions.

  • Large sores than earlier
  • Constant tongue pain
  • Sore tongue problem persists more than two weeks
  • Tongue sores which don’t improve with medications
  • Tongue sores with high fever
  • Extreme trouble while eating and drinking

Your doctor examines your tongue’s health in detail. You need to tell all the symptoms and your lifestyle.

Your doctor might ask you the following question.

  • How often are the specific symptoms occurring?
  • What type of pain occurring?
  • Do you have a difficulty with recognizing taste?
  • Do you feel the problem with tongue movement?

You may require giving a blood sample to decide the related disease.


The treatment of the sore tongue is unexplained. Generally, it is managed with painkiller antibiotics to prevent acute pain. The sore on tongue occurred by oral thrush have treatment of anti-fungal medication in the form of liquid or gel. You can apply it directly to the injured part of the tongue. These anti-fungal medications can found in the form of capsules and tablets. You need to take it only after getting doctor’s prescription.

You can also use topical creams which can be beneficial for a sore on tongue treatment. It is more effective cream when you have a sore tongue occurred by the cold. Acyclovir is a well known topical cream for treating cold sores.

Home remedies of Sore on Tongue

There are some popular home remedies to reduce the symptoms of the sore tongue. Find out in details information about most important home remedies for the sore tongue.

Sore tongue difficulty does not happen due to oral habits. However, managing your mouth hygiene can help to treat the infections and conditions in the initial stage. Follow the points for good oral care.

Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste two times a day with flossing at least one time a day.

  • Discuss your oral health with your dentist in every 6 months.
  • Brush your tongue as advice by a doctor.
  • Avoid aggressive brushing which can damage the tongue papillae.
  • If you have a sensitive mouth, then avoid alcohol-based mouthwash.
  • Avoid spicy food which can irritate your tongue.
  • Skip smoking and tobacco.
  • Avoid too much hot tea/coffee and eating food.

Natural Home Remedies of Sore on Tongue

Learn about the most active natural home remedies to avert a sore on tongue.

Aloe Vera

Its anti-inflammatory features which aid to reduce the tongue soreness. Use the aloe vera gel on your tongue directly. Rinse your mouth by its juice to lessen inflammation.


It is a natural antiseptic for overcoming tongue’s inflammation and pain. Take 1 glass of lukewarm water and mix 1 tsp salt and rinse your mouth. It helps to soothe painful tongue sores.

You can also use a small amount of salt directly on affected part on the tongue.


It is an amazing healing and medicinal roots which relieves sore on tongue. Make a paste of licorice root with water and apply on the tongue. Rinse your mouth after few minutes with lukewarm water. This remedy requires repeating 3 – 4 times a day.

Licorice also helps to sooth bronchitis, sore throat, and cough accrued by virus and bacteria.

Baking soda

Baking soda can be a natural treatment for sore tongue which relieves inflammation. Make a paste of half tablespoon baking soda by mixing water in it. Apply this paste on sore tongue affected parts.


It’s an amazing natural remedy for many health problems as well as the sore on tongue. You can directly apply honey on the sore tongue for fast recovery. It is the best remedy when you get the frequent short-term sore tongue. You can also rinse your mouth with honey and lukewarm water.

Lavender oil

It is an effectual healing herb which can reduce tongue pain and injuries. You need to rinse your mouth with lavender oil and water.


Eating an adequate amount of important vitamin is important for preventing tongue sores like a canker. Vitamin B12 is vital for healing sore conditions. Taking regular diet and supplement can be effective for fast recovery.

Apart from the above symptoms and treatment, notice other symptoms also. According to research stress and canker sore causes sore tongue. Maintain a habit of yoga and breathing exercise to prevent stress. It is important to avoid spicy food and drinks which can worsen the tongue condition.

Consult your health care professional if your sore tongue symptoms won’t go in 2 weeks of time.

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