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What are some causes and treatments for a sore tongue?

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Quick Answer

The most common causes of tongue soreness are minor irritations or infections, according to MedlinePlus. Biting or injuring the tongue can lead to the development of painful sores. While multiple infections heal on their own, medicine might be prescribed for certain mouth ulcers and other sores.

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Full Answer

Mouth ulcers, smoking habits, enlarged papillae and specific health conditions are other causes of tongue soreness, notes WebMD. Heavy smoking often irritates the tongue and makes it painful. A mouth ulcer, also known as a canker sore, is a common condition that worsens during times of increased stress. When a taste bud becomes inflamed, it can swell into a sore bump. A sore tongue is also a symptom of multiple health conditions, such as diabetes and anemia.

Minor canker sores often heal on their own after a week or two, according to Mayo Clinic. If a patient is suffering from multiple sores, doctors may prescribe a mouth rinse that contains a steroid called dexamethasone. Both prescription and over-the-counter topical products with active ingredients such as hydrogen peroxide, benzocaine and fluocinonide are taken based on a doctor's recommendations. Patients with mouth sores caused by nutritional deficiencies can also be given supplements, including vitamin B-6, zinc, folate or vitamin B-12. When canker sores do not respond to topical treatments, oral medications may be given.

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