Why Is My Tongue Sore?
The discomfort of a tongue sore can be awful to deal with. Although mouth sores generally heal quickly, sometimes the pain can become so bothersome that you have to find a way to speed up the healing process. The key to treating a tongue sore—or any mouth sore, really—is to find out what kind of sore you’re dealing with and to apply the best form of treatment for that specific condition. We are going to talk about a few of the most popular types of mouth sores and what can be done to help them heal faster.
A healthy tongue is pink in color and covered with tiny nodules. These nodules are called papillae. Sometimes these papillae become enlarged due to inflammation. This can occur through several means, such as accidently biting the tongue, consuming too much citrus fruit or pineapple, or cutting into the papillae with hard candy or other food. Damaged papillae can swell up and turn red, forming a painful bump. General soreness in the surrounding area as well as intense pain when the papilla is touched are common symptoms of an enlarged papillae. Probiotic supplements can be taken to encourage fast healing of enlarged papillae. Gargling with peroxide can also help to clean excess bacteria from the area and reduce swelling.
Everyone experiences the odd canker sore every now and then. Canker sores appear as round, white or grey sores with a red surrounding area. These sores usually emit a dull pain while dormant and a stinging or burning sensation when touched. Food, especially salty or acidic foods, often intensifies the pain. The pain of a canker sore lasts a few days although it generally takes about a week for the sore to heal completely. The true cause of canker sores is not well known, although it is suspected that an increase in one’s stress level could cause the formation of canker sores. There are a few at-home treatments you can use to speed up the healing process. Some dairy products, such as yogurt, contain a substance called acidophilus, which helps to fight infections. Lidocaine and Oragel are fairly cheap numbing medications which can be applied to the area to ease the pain while you eat or talk.
Thrush is a fungal infection that causes a thick white coating and bumps to form on the tongue. Thrush is caused by an overgrowth of the fungus candida albicans. This fungus is naturally occurring in the human body but it is typically kept in check by “good” bacteria. When the body’s natural balance of fungi and bacteria becomes upset, the fungus can be allowed to proliferate. The problem with candida albicans is the fact that it quickly proliferates and can turn into a big problem. One o the causes is the prolonged use of antibiotics, which tend to kill all bacteria within the body—even the good—which results in the allowance of fungus to grow and spread. Tongue sores caused by thrush are red, although they are covered by a white substance that resembles cottage cheese. When this substance is scratched away, the red sores are revealed and can bleed when irritated or scratched. One may also notice a sweet or yeast-like smell or taste emanating from the mouth. Oral thrush can be treated using unsweetened yogurt, which has active bacteria cultures which works to restore the body’s balance of good bacteria. Sweet and sugary foods should be avoided, as sugar is the food source for candida albicans and it enables them to grow rapidly. If these measures do not improve the symptoms of thrush, it may be necessary to obtain a prescription antifungal medication.
If any of these conditions is accompanied by fever, flu-like symptoms, or if the sore does not go away after a period of three weeks, then a doctor should be consulted for a correct diagnosis and treatment recommendation.