- Shocking Diseases of the Mouth
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- Patient Comments: Tongue Problems - Describe Your Problems
- Patient Comments: Tongue Problems - Treatments
- Patient Comments: Tongue Problems - Infants and Children
- Patient Comments: Tongue Problems - Hairy Tongue
- Patient Comments: Tongue Problems - Oral Cancer
- Patient Comments: Tongue Problems - Leukoplakia
- Find a local Doctor in your town
- Tongue facts
- What are common tongue problems?
- What causes tongue problems?
- What are the risk factors for tongue problems?
- White tongue
- Red tongue
- Black tongue
- Increased size or tongue swelling
- Growths on the tongue
- Abnormalities of the tongue surface
- Tongue pain
- Altered sensation of the tongue
- Taste problems
- Problems with tongue movement
- What are tongue problems in infants and children?
- What are tongue problems in pregnancy?
- How do health-care professionals diagnose tongue problems?
- Are there home remedies for tongue problems?
- What are the treatments for tongue problems?
- Is it possible to prevent tongue problems?
- What is the prognosis for tongue problems?
Quick GuideDental Health: Top Problems in Your Mouth
What are tongue problems in pregnancy?
A small percentage of women experience a sore tongue while pregnant. This may be related to the hormonal changes taking place during pregnancy. The soreness could also be in combination with geographic tongue where bare areas are present and disappear as well as reappear. These conditions usually resolve after the pregnancy ends.
How do health-care professionals diagnose tongue problems?
During an examination with a physician or dentist, information based on symptoms and clinical appearance is collected. Based on this information, a diagnosis is made. However, if there isn't a unique sign or symptom to distinguish the tongue problem, a differential diagnosis is reviewed. A differential diagnosis lists all the possible causes of the signs and symptoms. It is a systematic process of weighing the probability of one disease versus that of other diseases that may account for the tongue problem. For example, a white tongue lesion may have the differential diagnosis of lichen planus, leukoplakia, or contact inflammation from dentures. Each of these causes can be carefully considered based on what is observed. Subsequently, a plan of treatment can be made.
For many tongue conditions that might be cancer, a special dye called toluidine blue has been useful to aid in diagnosis. Toluidine blue staining is able to help in early identification of precancerous or cancerous lesions.
A more definite diagnosis requires a biopsy. A biopsy is a procedure whereby a sample of cells or tissue is evaluated under a microscope. Optimal treatment requires a precise diagnosis.
Are there home remedies for tongue problems?
For pain related to the tongue, over-the-counter pain-relief medications such as ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve) may help. "Burning tongue" pain may be alleviated with sucking on ice or bathing the tongue in cold water. Such home remedies, however, may provide only temporary relief.
For the most part, tongue conditions that appear to have no known cause (such as an obvious injury) should be evaluated by a physician or dentist for appropriate diagnosis, monitoring, and possible treatment.
What are the treatments for tongue problems?
The treatment of a tongue problem depends on the underlying cause. For some tongue problems, no treatment is necessary whereas for other conditions, medications, surgery, or radiation may be needed. If the tongue issue is a result of an underlying medical condition, treatment of the underlying problem can be key to solving the problem.