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Inflammation of the tongue

Inflammation of the tongue: severe swelling of the tongue, often occurs due to tongue infection, allergic reaction, or trauma caused by biting and tooth irritation, and is sometimes painful. This problem may occur due to the use of some medicines. However, it is good to know that severe inflammation and swelling of the tongue cannot be a sign of cancer or a malignant tumor. However, it causes problems that need to be diagnosed and treated. In the following, we discuss the cause, symptoms, and complications of tongue inflammation. If you are looking for the cause of tongue enlargement in the mouth, reading this article can help you find the cause and how to treat it.

Inflammation of the tongue and its symptoms

The tongue plays an important role in eating and speaking. Therefore, the swelling of this member can be painful. This small organ consists of 8 muscles, all of which are covered with a mucous membrane. There are taste buds on the upper surface of the tongue. With the help of these ridges, you recognize the real taste of food (saltiness, sourness, bitterness, etc.).

A tongue that becomes swollen and inflamed is associated with certain symptoms, which include:

  • Pain under the tongue
  • Loss of tongue movement
  • Inability to chew food and speak
  • Heaviness in the tongue and mouth
  • Severe redness of the tongue or loss of color
  • Protrusion or lesions on the surface of the tongue
  • Possibility of bleeding
  • Fever

Note that the symptoms of severe swelling and infection of the tongue may appear only in this organ or in other parts of the body. Considering all the symptoms related to swelling of the tongue, experts determine the cause and treatment method.

Different types of inflammation of the tongue

Severe inflammation and swelling of the tongue or glossitis have different types that we will introduce below:

1. Acute glossitis

Acute tongue inflammation or acute glossitis is a type of inflammation and swelling in the tongue that appears suddenly and its symptoms are usually very severe. This type of glossitis is usually caused by a severe allergic reaction.


2. Chronic glossitis

Chronic glossitis is also a type of severe inflammation and swelling of the tongue that keeps recurring. This type of inflammation may be a sign of another disease and is one of the symptoms of that disease.

3. Atrophic glossitis

Atrophic glossitis, also known as Hunter’s glossitis, occurs when a large portion of the tongue’s villi are lost. This disease causes changes in the color and texture of the tongue. In this type of glossitis, the tongue will have a shiny appearance.

What is the cause of severe swelling of the tongue?

The cause of tongue swelling can be different for each person. Habits and lifestyle as well as environmental factors play a big role in the occurrence of tongue swelling. The causes of swelling of the tongue and the general causes of this condition are:

  • Trauma: burning, biting, piercing, or damaging the tongue.
  • Irritation: due to tobacco, smoking, alcohol, and spicy foods.
  • Acid reflux.
  • Allergies: reactions to food, some medications, bee stings, and other edible products.
  • Vitamin imbalance: lack of certain nutrients, especially vitamin B complex, vitamin C, and folate.
  • Types of tongue infections such as bacterial infections in the tongue or other parts of the body
  • The presence of diseases such as cancer starts from one part of the tongue with inflammation and swelling.
  • Metabolic: disorders in metabolic functions such as pituitary gland disorders.
  • The presence of hereditary problems such as Down syndrome.

The cause of tongue enlargement in traditional medicine

The cause of tongue enlargement in traditional medicine is not different from other sciences, in other words, traditional medicine considers the reasons mentioned at the beginning of this article to be the cause of swelling and enlargement of the tongue. But the most important and main cause can be considered muscle enlargement and vascular lesions. However, people without specific symptoms of another disease may report an enlarged tongue.

Complications caused by inflammation of the tongue

When the tongue becomes swollen and severely inflamed, it leads to two basic problems:

  • Loss of speech
  • Inability to chew and swallow food
  • Severe pain in case of infection

Who is most at risk of inflammation and severe swelling of the tongue?

People who have some of the following conditions may develop this disease:

  • Oral injury
  • Eating spicy food
  • Using braces (in orthodontics) or prostheses that stimulate the tongue
  • having herpes
  • Having low iron levels in the blood
  • Having a food allergy
  • Having a disorder of the immune system

Ways to diagnose and cause inflammation of the tongue

To treat severe swelling and infection of the tongue, the cause must first be determined. For example, when this complication is caused by an infectious disease, the doctor prescribes antibiotics. But when the reason is the consumption of foods containing spices or hormonal disorders, the use of such medicine cannot be effective. In any case, it is the jaw, mouth, and face specialist who treats the swollen tongue by observing the symptoms and causes.

Examinations are performed for the patient at the same stage of diagnosis, which include:

  • Observation of protrusions on the surface of the tongue (papillae or villi) that may be gone or swollen.
  • Examining the swelling of a part of the tongue or its complete inflammation.
  • Doing a blood test or using a biopsy needle (sampling) to diagnose the cause of the disease.

Oral and maxillofacial specialists diagnose the cause of the disease according to the initial examinations and then treat it.

Treatment of tongue infection with inflammation and swelling

As mentioned, tongue inflammation can be caused by tongue infection or some diseases. But in general, the treatment of swelling of the tongue is done in two stages. In the first stage, the patient must observe self-care tips. In other words, first of all, the level of inflammation and severe swelling of the tongue should be controlled with home methods. Important points before treatment are:

  • You should wash your mouth 3 times a day with mouthwash or a solution of water and salt. This work is used when the cause of severe swelling of the tongue is a bacterial infection.
  • Avoiding foods containing spices, salty nuts, or dry foods such as potato chips, is one of the points you should pay attention to.
  • Acidic foods such as vinegar, pickles, and even consumption of citrus fruits may increase the level of inflammation of the tongue. Therefore, you should avoid consuming them.
  • If you have suffered from this condition (tongue bite) due to a damaged or broken tooth, it is better to see a dentist in Richmond Hill.
  • Consuming a lot of fluids and a balanced diet can speed up the healing process.
  • During the period when the tongue is swollen, it is better to avoid drinking too cold or hot liquids. Also, drink liquids through a straw.
  • Stop eating any food that increases the pain of the swollen tongue. Instead, eat foods that are swallowed faster and do not require chewing; For example: soup, porridge, yogurt, milk, and gelatin.

However, if it is not possible to treat the tongue infection with only home care, you should visit an oral and maxillofacial specialist to treat the inflammation and severe swelling of the tongue.

Treatment of swollen veins under the tongue

Sometimes people go to the doctor because of the swelling of the vein under the tongue. First of all, we should note that the dark color of the vein under the tongue is not a sign of disease or a specific medical condition. But if these veins become swollen and painful, you should see a doctor. According to the cause of this complication, the way to treat the swelling of the vein under the tongue is also determined. Swelling of the sublingual vein or sublingual varicose veins can be caused by the following:

  • Canker sores or canker sores
  • Oral mucosal cyst
  • human papilloma virus (HPV)
  • Lymphoepithelial cyst
  • Sialolithiasis
  • Salivary gland tumor
  • Sublingual boil

The following methods can be used to treat the swelling of the vein under the tongue:

  • Freezing and freezing as well as interferon alpha-B drug injection
  • Laser and cryotherapy
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs or surgery
  • surgery
  • Radiotherapy and chemotherapy are also necessary

Taking medicine to treat inflammation of the tongue

Oral and maxillofacial specialist treats tongue inflammation according to symptoms and severity or mildness. In this case, if the amount of severe swelling and inflammation of the tongue is low, mouthwashes containing anesthetics or painkillers are prescribed to treat it. In cases where the tongue is severely infected, antibiotics or local anesthetics are used.

What is the relationship between inflammation of the tongue and oral cancer?

Oral cancer is an abnormal growth of cells anywhere in the mouth or lips. Many types of oral cancer begin in squamous cells, which are the thin, flat cells of the mouth. Oral cancer causes sores on the tongue or a constant feeling of numbness in the mouth.

Symptoms of oral cancer include sores or lumps that appear on the lips or other parts of the mouth. Sometimes, white spots may appear in the oral mucosa, which do not go away with cleaning. These symptoms are different from the symptoms of swelling and inflammation of the tongue and are considered serious oral problems. However, swelling of the tongue is not a serious problem if it does not block the airway and can often be treated with proper hygiene and diet.

Oral cancer treatment can include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy, or immunotherapy.

The cause of tongue pain and when to see a doctor

It was mentioned earlier that the cause of tongue pain can be caused by the complications of inflammation and swelling of the tongue. Therefore, please note that whenever the severe swelling of the tongue leads to pain and fever, it is necessary to visit an oral and maxillofacial specialist. In cases where this complication is mild, it will be possible to treat tongue pain within three days. But if the swelling and inflammation of the tongue lasts for more than 3 days, be sure to see a doctor. Skin rashes and severe weight loss are also signs of a dangerous inflammation of the tongue, and you should see a doctor.


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