Diseases of The Tongue | Symptoms, Causes, And Treatment

Tongue Diseases
Pic Credit: Your.MD

There are multifaceted diseases of the tongue that can prevent it from functioning normally. The tongue is an essential organ of the body used for tasting, swallowing, and chewing food. It is made of a mobile group of muscles attached to the floor of the mouth. The organ has small bumps on its surface, known as papillae. The various taste buds to feel different tastes are in these papillae only.

The tongue has a significant role in the pronunciation of the words. However, you may not be able to use your tongue to its fullest potential due to several diseases of the tongue. Worry not! In this post, primary causes and symptoms of tongue diseases are described comprehensively. Proceed further to learn more!

Types of Tongue Disease

There can be a wide variety of diseases of the tongue. The below-given list covers some common tongue ailments:

1: White Tongue

Color change in the tongue can be a severe health condition when you may need to seek medical attention. White Tongue is one such condition that can be caused due to a removable coating of food debris or bacterial plaque. Some other common reasons behind the white tongue are stated in the below-given list:

Oral Thrush

Oral Thrush can crop us due to the overgrowth of yeast fungus in the mouth. However, you can scrape off the white surface to expose the original color of the tongue.


This tongue whitening issue is characterized by white patches that you may not be able to scrape off. The most common reason for Leukoplakia is the use of tobacco.

Oral Lichen Planus

The next one on the list is a chronic inflammatory condition of the tongue triggered by an autoimmune response. It is one of its kind of diseases of the tongue in which the immune system starts attacking its own tissue.

Linea Alba

Linea Alba can crop up due to the epithelium’s thickening due to irritation or trauma from chewing.

2: Burning Mouth Syndrome

Burning mouth syndrome is a common yet irritating disease of the tongue that causes a burning sensation in various mouth areas, including the tongue. There can be several reasons behind this tongue disease, such as allergies, nerve damage, hormone changes, and nutritional deficiencies.

3: Black Hairy Tongue

Black Hairy Tongue is a cosmetic problem rather than a medical problem. When you don’t shed the dead tongue cells from the top of the tongue, it causes the buildup. After that, the tongue looks like it has a coating of dark hair on the top of it. The use of antibiotics can also bring forth this tongue issue. Besides, taking a diet consisting of soft foods that don’t scrub the tongue’s surface can also evoke the Black Hairy Tongue.

4: Oral Cancer

Some oral cancers may develop on the tongue. When it occurs, one can feel pain in the tongue and feel it difficult to move the tongue or jaw. It forms a visible spot on the tongue. Chemotherapy can be used for the treatment of the oral cancer along with the right drugs. 

5: Glossitis

The next form of tongue disease is Glossitis, in which the tongue gets swelled up. The same symptoms can be seen in Thrush also. The geographical tongue is an example of the Glossitis that can make the tongue look like a map.

Symptoms That Show Your Tongue Is Not in Optimal Health

The below-given signs and symptoms can indicate several diseases of the tongue:

  • You may experience smooth, irregularly shaped patches on the top or side of your tongue red in color.
  • Pain in the affected area of the tongue.
  • Pain, discomfort, or burning sensation in the tongue, especially when eating acidic or spicy food.
  • You may have trouble tasting food properly in certain diseases of the tongue.
  • Change in the color or texture of the tongue also depicts some kind of tongue disease.
  • In some tongue diseases, you may develop swelling on the tongue.
  • Difficulty in eating, speaking, or moving the tongue.
  • Bad breath can also be a sign of tongue trouble.

Possible Causes Behind Diseases of The Tongue

The below-given list describes the most apparent reasons behind the diseases of the tongue:

  • Trauma caused due to biting down hard on your tongue. Besides, if you eat something very hot, it can burn your tongue and even cause blisters.
  • Intake of the antibiotics can cause inflammation on the tongue.
  • Mouth ulcers can cause pain in the tongue around a specific area.
  • You may also develop diseases of the tongue due to food allergy or sensitivity.
  • Smocking can also cause pain in the tongue and can make you prone to oral cancer.
  • Deficiency of certain essential vitamins in the body can also promote trouble in the tongue.
  • Burning sensation on your tongue or the other areas of the tongue can also promote the burning mouth syndrome.
  • If you are taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, it may make your tongue sore by causing ulcers.

Final Words

The tongue disorders can vary from mild to severe. You need to take good care of your tongue hygiene as it is one of the essential parts of your body. If anything on your tongue looks out of the ordinary, you need to take immediate medical attention.

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