An allergic reaction, an inflammation of the tongue or tumors in the area can cause an enlarged or swollen tongue, according to MedicineNet. Certain congenital disorders can also result in an abnormally large tongue present from birth, states WebMD. Those with an enlarged tongue may have difficulty eating or experience noisy and laborious breathing and snoring.
Allergic reactions can result in tongue swelling caused by angioedema, which is a build-up of fluid in tongue tissue, states MedicineNet. If the tongue becomes too large, it can lead to breathing problems and become a medical emergency. Steroids, antihistamines and epinephrine treat allergic reactions.
Glossitis is an inflammation of the tongue that causes the tongue to swell, change color and become abnormally smooth, according to Healthline. Those with glossitis should see a doctor to diagnose the cause, which may be a disease, low iron levels, an allergic reaction, dry mouth or mouth injury. Treatments vary depending on the root problem.
Certain tongue cancers can cause lumps in or swelling of the tongue, advises Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Surgery, radiation, chemotherapy or targeted drug therapy usually treat tongue cancer. Children born with an enlarged tongue may have a congenital disorder, such as Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome or Down syndrome, notes WebMD.