What Causes the Sensation of Burning on Your Tongue?

Your tongue has the sensation of burning but you haven't burned it lately. If you are consistently bothered by this then you have come to the right place. This sensation may result from a number of different causes, several of which we will explore here, in addition to some helpful ways to ease your discomfort.

Causes of Burning Sensation on Tongue

Medical conditions

  • Oral Thrush - This is most likely the case if the sensation is accompanied with white oral sores. These sores are painful and will manifest usually on your inner cheeks or tongue, but may be on the roof of your mouth, gums, tonsils, or even on the back of your throat.
  • Menopause - A burning tongue can be a symptom of menopause, with around 40% of females suffering from this during menopause. Additionally, it may appear before, during, or after menopause. The symptom occurs during menopause due to a hormonal imbalance, specifically low estrogen levels. During menopause, a woman's hormones dramatically shift and there is a stark decrease in estrogen. This decrease in estrogen reduces the amount of saliva and also disturbs the bitter taste buds situated towards the back part of the tongue. These dramatic changes can result in this burning sensation on the tongue.
  • Geographic tongue - This describes a tongue with lesions, patches, and extreme soreness. This soreness may be perceived as burning. If you have geographic tongue there will be unusual patches on your tongue's surface that change in appearance daily.

Human Action

An iron or B12 vitamin deficiency has been linked with a burning sensation on the tongue. An iron deficiency is caused by a decrease in red blood cells. People can acquire an iron deficiency from a poor diet that is low in iron-enriched food, from poor absorption of iron, or from major blood loss. Iron deficiency can cause a painful, red and shiny tongue, which may manifest in a burning sensation. Vitamin B12 is an important vitamin that aids in creating our genes and maintaining the amino acid homocysteine. A deficiency can be caused by poor absorption, excessive alcohol consumption, autoimmune disorders, or the long-term use of acid-reducing drugs. This type of deficiency can cause a noticeably sore tongue that may feel like it is burning.

Food allergies are another major cause of this burning tongue sensation, in addition to sensitivity to certain mouthwashes and toothpastes. Smoking and excessive alcohol intake can also have detrimental effects upon your tongue.

Relief and Treatment Options

There are a few actions you may take to dull the burning sensation on your tongue. Drinking plenty of water is one such option to produce more saliva, which will subsequently reduce the burning for a short time period. Individuals who are experiencing this condition should also avoid certain foods and beverages that will intensify the pain. These include spicy foods, cinnamon, mint, alcohol, and tobacco. If your burning tongue discomfort is caused by food intolerance then you will need to first recognize which food is causing the harm. You can do so by removing the suspect food and noting whether or not the discomfort has dissipated. Once you have determined which food is causing this burning you must remove it from your diet. Similarly, if your toothpaste or mouthwash is the culprit, discontinue its use.

If there is an underlying medical condition or vitamin deficiency, medical attention is needed. Vitamin deficiencies will need to be rectified with supplements, either via injection or tablets. With thrush, there are two treatment avenues: medical or homeopathic. Doctors will prescribe either a liquid or pill to treat oral thrush. Geographic tongue will probably disappear by itself though antihistamine gel or steroid mouth rinses that are recommended for dulling of the pain.

This extremely uncomfortable burning sensation on your tongue may be due to a number of causes, and most of them are relatively harmless. Hopefully upon reading this article you have discovered the cause of your pain and have learned how to treat it.

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