Itchy tongue is a common symptom associated with different conditions. Itching, burning, numbness tinging or r soreness inside mouth can be some of the underlying signs of medical condition for example an STD. some people may also experience itching on tip or side of tongue after eating fruits or acidic foods.
In this article, we attempt to explain some of the causes of itchy tongue, some of the available superstitious meaning of this itching, treatment and how to get rid of the itching at home with simple home remedies.
Itchy tongue meaning
An itchy tongue can mean a lot of different things. If the itching is not caused by an allergic reaction from eating or drinking acidic foods, then it could most likely be an indication of a more serious underlying health or medical condition such as diabetes or oral cancer.
Your tongue is an important part of the human body. The tongue is one of the complex muscles you have in the entire body. It is though this organ that we are able to taste foods and drink. Different parts of your tongue are responsible for testing whether the food you ingest is sweet, sour, bitter or salty.
The test function of a human tongue is done with the help of taste receptors spread all over the surface of the tongue. This taste receptors are what are called taste buds. Your tongue is kept moist by the continuous production of saliva. The tongue has a lot of blood vessels and nerves coming into it.
Your tongue itches when the surface of the tongue comes in contact with different solid and liquid foods. The small crevices on the tongue in which food debris, dead cells, and bacteria accumulate are the major cause of tongue itching.
When your tongue only itches after eating a specific food, then it is safe to assume that you are allergic to that food. Food allergy is one of the common cause of oral itching and it could affect not only the tongue but also other parts of your oral linings. In cases of food allergy, the itch can also be felt on the roof of the mouth, on the floor of mouth, on the inner cheek and along the through.
If you have had the itchy for more than a day or two and you are unable to identify what the underlying cause of the itching is, it is important you have the condition checked out by a doctor. Professional health care providers can be able to tell your health by simply examining your tongue.
Itchy tongue superstition
For a long time now, people have developed different superstitions to try and explain what an itchy tongue could mean. Superstition is this case means a widely held but unjustified belief in supernatural causation leading to certain consequences of an action or event.
The superstitious interpretation of a burning tongue will vary from one geographical location to the other. A good example of superstitious interpretation or meaning of itchy tongue is in India, where it is believed that, if you have an itchy tongue, then it is probably because somebody is speaking ill of you. The superstition holds that whoever is speaking ill about you will bite his tongue. Do you believe this?
As mentioned, superstition will vary, so we do not expect everybody to believe this. These interpretations are carried from one generation to the other. The older people will tell this to their children who will then tell it to their, what that means is that this superstitions have been there for long.
Another superstition is that placing an emerald under one’s tongue will also allow them to conjure evil spirits.
Itchy tongue symptoms
Depending on what the underlying cause of an itchy tongue is, the itching will in most cases be accompanied by different symptoms. Itching is often accompanied by tingling and a dry mouth sensation.
Depending on what the underlying cause of the itching is, you are likely to experience the following symptoms:
- Tingling and dry mouth sensation, this is common especially if the underlying cause of the itching is an allergic reaction to food.
- Allergic reaction may also cause your tongue to develop painful fluid-filled blisters
- Some people may develop red bumps on tongue instead
- Panful tongue swelling, this is especially common if the itching relates to food allergies
- Soreness on tongue and on the inside of mouth
- Severe cases of itching may lead to the formation of ridges. This is often referred to as geographic tongue
Itchy tongue causes
There are an array of causes that could lead to the itching of your tongue. Your tongue has small crevices in which food particles, dead cells, and bacteria can accumulate in. you are also more likely to have itchy tongue if you have any kind of food allergies.
Food allergy is the most common cause of tongue itching. This kind of allergies can trigger burning of the tongue, peeling of the inner lining of the mouth, and formation of red bumps and painful fluid filled blisters. Itching can be as a result of eating raw fruits, vegetables or spicy food. What happens is that your immune system recognizes this food as pollen protein, this may result in burning and itching of the tongue.
Food allergy can be life threatening is appropriate measures are not taken. To prevent complication, especially if you are not sure what the cause of the allergies is, have a doctor examine and prescribe the right treatment option to use.
Apart from food allergies, other common causes of the itchy tongue might include the following:
1. Smoking and excessive alcohol intake
Smoking and heavy alcohol consumption are some of the major cause of itchy tongue for those who use these products. Apart from giving the feeling of itching and burning sensation on the tongue and inside mouth, smoking may also lead to the formation of painful sores on tongue, on the roof of the mouth, on the floor of mouth, along the throat lining and on the inner cheek.
Continuous smoking and heavy alcohol consumption are harmful to your health. A common danger for long-term use of these products would include Lung disease, Lung cancer, Asthma attacks, and liver cirrhosis among many others.
2. Oral thrush
Also known as oral candidiasis, oral thrush is a yeast infection that occurs inside the mouth. This condition is caused by candida fungus (a yeast infection). This yeast infection can also occur on other parts of your body. Oral thus causing itchy tongue can occur in anybody, it is, however, common in children and adults with weakened immune system.
The condition can be shown with the following symptoms:
- White, slightly raised areas inside mouth
- Panful and bleeding patches on tongue, palate, and inner cheek
- Painful swallowing
- In severe cases, you are likely to experience high fever
In healthy children and adult, the condition can easily be treated. The condition can, however, be worse and hard to treat in people with weak immune system. For treatment, your health care provider is likely to prescribe antifungal medication that is to be taken for 10 to 14 days.
3. Oral cancer
Oral cancer or mouth cancer is the other possible cause of itchy tongue. In most cases, oral cancer is linked to heavy smoking and alcohol consumption. This form of cancer is also believed to be associated with human papillomavirus that can be passed through oral sex.
Common signs of oral cancer will including:
- Itching inside mouth,
- large painless bumps on inside mouth,
- white patches on inner cheek, on tongue and on gums,
- White patches keep spreading and increasing in size.
Once diagnosed with oral cancer, your doctor will prescribe the most effective treatment you can use. The treatment for oral cancer will depend on the type and stage the cancer is in. surgery is said to be the most effective treatment for this form of cancer. Other treatment options will include chemotherapy and radiotherapy where a high-frequency beam is used to destroy the cancerous cells.
4. Canker sore
Cancer sores are the other likely causes of an itchy tongue. Also known as aphthous ulcers, this is small, shallow lesions that develop on the soft tissue of your mouth or at the base of the gum. A major difference between these sores and cold sores is that, unlike cold sores, canker sores do not occur on the surface of the lips and also they are not contagious.
A canker sore can be painful a cause lots of difficulties when eating. Mild cases of cancer sores will go away on their own without the need for medical treatment. However, the itching on your tongue persist for more than a week, please have the condition checked out by a professional health care provider.
Canker sores can be shown by the following symptoms:
- Sores with oval shape and red edges
- Painful bump on tongue, inner cheek, floor and roof of mouth
- Major canker sores may take more than a month to heal
- High fever along the canker sores
A mild case of canker sores can be treated at home with simple home care remedies. A baking soda paste applied on the mouth is one of the simple remedies you could try out. The pain caused by these sores often lessen in a few days. In most case, no treatment is required as the sores heal on their own. If they fail to do that, then that could mean that the sores are s symptom of an underlying health condition
5. Lichen planus inside mouth
Lichen planus is an inflammatory skin condition characterized by itching, non-infectious rash, and flat-topped lesions often on arms and legs but can also occur on different parts of the body include inside mouth.
When affecting the mouth, the condition is referred to as oral lichen planus. It is an ongoing chronic inflammatory condition that affects the mucous membranes inside the mouth. Oral lichen planus can be shown by:
- White, lacy patches
- Red swollen tissue
- Painful open sores
- Pain, itching, and burning inside of mouth
Oral lichen planus s not contagious as such it can’t be passed from one person to the other. This condition is considered as an autoimmune disorder, it occurs when your immune system mounts an attack against cells of the oral mucous membranes for no given reasons.
Medical treatment for this condition is essential for the management of painful, erythematous, erosive lesions. Corticosteroids may be used to reduce inflammation related to this condition. The medication can be administered as either topical, oral or injection.
Other treatment options will include immune response medicine, and dealing with the trigger of the condition.
Itchy tongue STD
The itchy tongue could also be a sign of a sexually transmitted disease STD. oral sex, for instance, can lead to the spread of human papillomavirus which could be the underlying cause of symptoms such as the itchy tongue. Human papillomavirus or HPV is an example of an STD.
For HIV-infected people, the itchy tongue can also be accompanied with white spots not only on the tongue but also on the roof of the mouth, the floor of mouth, along the throat and on inner thighs. These patches can be painful and cause a lot of discomfort and difficulties when eating or talking.
Other common sexual transmitted infection that could be causing the itching are herpes and cold sores. This can be transmitted through kissing and oral sex. Understanding the underlying STD causing the itching and other symptoms inside the mouth can be very important. It will help get clear the symptoms, prevent future attacks and minimize the spread of the infection from one person to the other.
Itchy tongue after eating
Itchy tongue after eating is most likely to be as a result of an allergic reaction to that food. Allergy is a sensitive reaction to a substance known as an allergen that comes in contact with your skin or your body. An allergic is an immune system response to an unwanted element in the body.
Allergic reaction to food or drugs can be life threatening if appropriate health precaution is not taken. According to the University of Maryland, an allergic reaction is common and most of this reaction happens soon after contact with the allergen.
If the cause of the itching tongue is an allergic reaction, you are more likely to notice the following symptoms:
- Itchy hives especially over the neck and on face
- Nasal congestion
- Severe itching all over body
- Swelling of face, tongues, and eyes
- Difficult breathing and wheezing in severe cases
You need to contact your health care provider as soon as possible once you notice the symptom’s above.
Itchy tongue after eating pineapple
Itchy tongue after eating pineapples is an example of food allergy that could be causing the itching inside the mouth. Pineapples allergy you not be taken lightly, remember, even though you might experience mild cases of allergy, when not handled properly, this kind of allergies could turn life threatening.
Apart from itchy tongue, you are also likely to experience the following symptoms if you are allergic to pineapples:
- Itchy bumps on face minutes after eating the fruit
- Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
- Swelling and burning sensation inside mouth
- Mild to severe swelling of the tongue, lips, and eyes
- In severe cases, you would experience a sudden drop in blood pressure
Itchy tongue sore throat
Sore throats are could also be the underlying cause of the itching inside the mouth. These sores are common and are often nothing to worry about. In most case, these sores will clear on their own within a week or two.
If a sore throat is the cause of the tongue itching, you can relieve the pain and soothe your tongue at home by doing the following:
- Gargling with saline solution
- Avoid spicy or acidic foods and drinks
- Cut down on smoking and use of tobacco products
- Make sure you drink plenty of fluids especially water
- Chewing some ice cubes might also help keeps thing under control
Itchy burning tongue
A feeling of burning mouth or burning mouth syndrome may also be associated with the itching tongue and the inside of the mouth. Burning mouth syndrome is described as an ongoing (chronic), burning in the mouth with no obvious cause.
The burning sensation might also be felt on the gums, roof of the mouth, inside the cheek, the floor of mouth, or inside the entire mouth in some cases. These feeling may appear suddenly or develop gradually over time. If the symptoms persist for more than a week, it would be nice you have it checked out. You can have the condition under better control by working with your doctor.
Itchy tongue and roof of mouth
An itchy can also be felt in different parts of the inside of your mouth. This will in the most case depend on what the underlying cause of the itching is in the first place. Apart from the tongue, itching can also be felt in the following areas:
- On the roof of mouth also known as the palate of mouth
- On the floor of mouth
- On the inner sides of cheeks
- On the surface of the tongue
- On the tip of tongue
- Under the tongue and
- Along the throat
If the itching spreads to other parts for example to the lips and on the face, you need to seek help as soon as possible.
Itchy tongue in child
Just as in adults, children are also at the risk of developing itchy tongue. Canker sores are the main cause of itchy tongue in children. Canker sore as said appear inside the mouth, they can be painful causing a lot of discomfort and difficulties in swallowing and talking.
Children are likely to experience:
- Itchy tip of tongue
- Itchy tongue and lips
- High fever
- Vomiting and
- Painful fluid-filled blisters
Itchy tongue treatment
The treatment for itchy tongue will vary depending on what the underlying cause of the itching is. Different cause of itching can be treated differently, some causes unless severe will require no treatment since thy clear on their own within a week or two.
To treat itchy tongue, your doctor can prescribe either a topical treatment option, oral pills or an injection, all this will depend on how severe the symptoms accompanying the itching are or what the underlying cause of the itching is.
Some of the treatment options are discussed above under individual causes of itching.
How to get rid of itchy, burning tongue
The following are some of the common ways you can use to get rid of itchy or a burning tongue.
- Yoghurt can help relief the itching or burning feeling on your tongue
- Cold apple juice is effective in soothing irritation and itching on the tongue
- A mixture of Aloe Vera and raw honey can reduce the pricking feeling on your tongue
- Use lavender oil to alleviate the tingling on the tongue
- Chewing mint leaves is also another way to get rid of itching
- Gargle your mouth and tongue with warm salty water to reduce the itching.
Sources and references
- Oral lichen planus: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/oral-lichen-planus/home/ovc-20196706
- Most likely causes of itching, burning, numbness and tingling: http://symptomchecker.webmd.com/multiple-symptoms?symptoms=itching-or-burning%7Cnumbness-or-tingling%7Csore-tongue%7Csoreness-or-burning-inside-of-mouth&symptomids=129%7C164%7C540%7C365&locations=7%7C7%7C7%7C7
- Sore and painful tongue: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/tongue-pain/Pages/Introduction.aspx
- Itchy tongue: http://www.medhealthdaily.com/itchy-tongue/
- Itchy tongue cause and meaning: http://www.healthyhowto.org/tongue/itchy-tongue/itchy-tongue-causes-oral-allergy-syndrome-symptoms-and-treatment/
- Pineapple allergy: http://allergysymptomsx.com/pineapple-allergy.php