Tongue Problems (cont.)
Donna S. Bautista, DDS
Dr. Donna S. Bautista, DDS, completed her undergraduate studies at the University of California, San Diego with a bachelor of arts in biochemistry and cell biology. During her time at UC San Diego, she was involved in basic research including studying processes related to DNA transcription in the field of molecular biology. Upon graduation, she went on to attend dental school at the University of California, San Francisco. In addition to her formal dental training, she provided dental care for underserved communities in the Bay Area through clinics and health fairs. She also worked toward mentoring high school students interested in the field of dentistry.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- 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?
- What specialists treat tongue problems?
- 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?
- Find a local Doctor in your town
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.
Is it possible to prevent tongue problems?
Some tongue problems are preventable by practicing good oral hygiene and eating a healthy, nutritious diet while some tongue conditions cannot be prevented at all, but symptoms may be managed with treatment. Other tongue problems may be a byproduct of an underlying medical condition that needs to be addressed. For example, signs of an HIV infection (or final stage of HIV infection, AIDS) often appear in the mouth along with other bodily symptoms. HIV testing is important in determining if HIV treatment and care is needed.
Exercising moderation or altogether quitting the habit of smoking and drinking alcohol will decrease the risk of developing oral cancer. A vaccine for HPV is being studied, and it may help in guarding against oral cancers, as well. Oral cancer screenings should always take place during routine dental visits. Screenings can also take place with an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) physician. These oral cancer screenings involve an examination of all the soft tissues in the mouth, including the tongue, floor of the mouth (under the tongue), palate (roof of the mouth), inside of the cheeks, and throat area.
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