Do you ever feel an uneasy sensation on your tongue? It might be Tingling Tongue.
Almost everyone around you might have experienced a tingling tongue or a feeling of “pins and needles” on the tongue.
Perhaps maybe while you were kneeling on the floor for a little long and upon standing up you realize your legs were asleep.
Or maybe you woke up with a numb hand after spending the night with your arm in an awkward position.
This tingling feeling is known as paraesthesia and often occurs in your hands and feet.
However, it can also occur in other parts of your body like your tongue.
Let’s learn about the potential causes of tingling tongue and when you should see a medical or mental professional about your symptoms.
Tingling Tongue: A Cause of Concern?
If you think that a tingling tongue is a cause of concern, then worry not.
In most cases, it is not a cause of concern and it will resolve on its own.
However, there are a number of reasons for a tingling tongue. One of the possible causes can be Primary Raynaud’s Phenomenon.
This disorder affects the blood flow to your fingers. toes, and in some cases, to your tongue and lips.
When your tongue gets cold or if you are under stress, the small arteries and veins can get narrower.
In this condition, this reaction is exaggerated and the blood flow to these areas reduces temporarily.
Moreover, this causes your tongue to change its color and look blue, very red, or very pale.
During or after an episode, your tongue mat tingle for a short period of time.
Primary Raynaud’s can be annoying, however, is not dangerous.
There is no known cause and it does not mean that you have a serious health problem.
If you have tongue symptoms, then they will almost always go away if you drink something warm or relax to relieve your stress.
Furthermore, this condition can cause repeated episodes and if you notice changes to your tongue, then take a picture to share with your doctor to confirm your diagnosis.
They can make sure that whether you are experiencing primary or secondary Raynaud’s.
On the other hand, secondary Raynaud’s is a related disorder that can cause similar symptoms, however, it is not due to an underlying medical condition with the immune system.
These can be lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or scleroderma.
Reasons to Visit Your Doctor Immediately
In some cases, tongue numbness or tingling can be a sign of stroke or a transient ischemic attack, TIA.
TIA is also known as ministrokes.
Thus, you should seek medical attention if you are experiencing any of these symptoms in addition to tingling tongue:
- weakness or numbers in your arm, leg, or face, or on side of the body
- loss of vision
- difficulty understanding or confusion
- trouble speaking
- facial droop
- dizziness or loss of balance
- severe headaches
TIA symptoms may last for a few minutes only, however, they are very serious.
A TIA and stroke are both medical emergencies and therefore, call your local emergency services if you suspect a TIA or stroke.
Now let’s learn about other conditions causing tingling tongue.
Damage to a Nerve during a Dental Procedure
Your lingual nerve is responsible for the feeling in front of the tongue and it is possible to injure this nerve during a dental procedure or surgery.
Damage to the lingual nerve occurs most often when removing a wisdom tooth or the third molar in your lower jaw.
This can lead to a feeling of numbness, a prickling sensation, and in some cases, a change in you you taste foods and drinks.
Moreover, it may affect one part or side of your tongue or extend to your lips and chin.
Furthermore, about 90% of these nerve injuries are temporary, so you should get back to normal within 8 weeks or so.
However, if the symptoms persist longer than 6 months, the nerve injury is permanent and you will need medical treatment.
Allergic Reaction causing Tingling Tongue
The food you eat can cause an allergic reaction, and it can also be due to exposure to a certain chemical or a drug. It can cause or make your tongue swell, itch, and tingle.
Food allergies occur when your immune system attacks the cells of its own by mistake and thinks of them as harmful.
The most common food allergies are eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, milk, wheat, soy, etc
In some cases, if you are allergic to pollen, you can also get a swollen or tingling tongue from oral allergy syndrome.
Moreover, the allergy makes you react to some of the common raw fruits and vegetables like melon, celery, or peaches.
It causes mouth irritation and can also make your mouth, lips, and tongue tingle, swell or feel irritated.
Therefore, if you notice your mouth or tongue-tingling after eating certain types of foods, make sure to avoid them in the future.
If you experience any of the following, call 911 or 988 and seek medical attention as soon as possible.
These can be the signs of severe and life-threatening allergic reactions:
Wheezing or trouble breathing, hoarseness or throat tightness, lip or mouth swelling, itching, hives, and difficulty swallowing.
Drug allergies can also cause your tongue to swell, itch, and tingle. While antibiotics often cause these reactions, any drug can trigger allergy symptoms.
Thus, if you have any unusual symptoms after starting a new medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Canker Sores are small, oval-shaped, shallow sores that can form on or around your tongue, inside your cheeks, or on your gums.
Though what causes them is not clear, factors like minor injuries or food sensitivities play a role in their development.
Moreover, factors like hormonal changes, viruses, inadequate nutrition, allergies can also cause them. They are painful, however, often go away by themselves in about a week.
While you have a canker sore, make sure to avoid spicy, sour, or crunchy foods, as they will irritate the sore.
For pain relief, try rinsing your mouth with a solution of 8 ounces of warm water, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 tsp of baking soda.
Furthermore, you can also try applying an over-the-counter remedy like benzocaine or Kanka.
Tingling Tongue due to Hypoglycemia
Hypoglycemia occurs when your blood sugar drops below a safe level. Moreover, if you have diabetes you can become hypoglycemic if you skip meals or take too much insulin or certain medications for diabetes.
Although it is primarily associated with diabetes, anyone can experience this condition.
Other symptoms are:
Feeling very shaky, weak, or tired, feeling hungry, breaking into a sweat suddenly, dizzy, being irritable or tearful or confused.
Eating or drinking something with sugar in it, like a piece of candy or some fruit juice can help return your blood sugar to normal if it is too low.
Hypocalcemia causing Tingling Tongue
Hypocalcemia is a condition in which the level of calcium in your blood drops far below normal.
Though it may cause tingling in your tongue and lips, you are more likely to experience other symptoms of low calcium first.
Muscle twitching, cramps, and stiffness tingling around your mouth and in fingers and toes, dizziness, and seizures are signs and symptoms of this condition.
Hypocalcemia has a lot of possible causes and includes:
- kidney disease
- low vitamin D level
- a complication of thyroid surgery
- cancer treatment medications
- pancreatitis or inflammation of the pancreas
- low parathyroid hormone
- low magnesium level
Thus, if you have any of these symptoms or conditions, and this hypocalcemia is causing a tingling tongue, then visit your doctor.
With the help of a simple blood test, they can diagnose your condition. Moreover, this condition will go away when you start taking calcium supplements.
Vitamin B Deficiency
If you have low levels of vitamin B12 and vitamin B9 or folate, then it can make your tongue sore and swollen and this will affect your sense of taste.
Moreover, you might also have a tingling sensation on your tongue and in your hands and feet.
At the same time, you may also feel tired all the time, because both of the B vitamins are important to make red blood cells and keep your nerves healthy.
However, low levels of these vitamins can lead to anemia.
Vitamin B12 or folate deficiency can either be due to not due to enough of these vitamins in your diet or an inability to absorb these vitamins from your food.
Your stomach becomes less acidic as you get older, thus, age can also be a factor.
In some cases, certain medications can keep you from absorbing B vitamin and this includes:
Metformin, esomeprazole, lansoprazole, famotidine, and ranitidine.
Food sources of B12 include fish, meat, eggs, and dairy products.
On the other hand, vegans can also become deficient if they are not eating fortified foods like soy, or nut milk, cereals, bread, or grains, or using nutritional yeast r taking supplements.
While good sources of B9 are leafy vegetables, most green vegetables, beans, peanuts, and tomato, and orange juice.
If you do not get treatment for both vitamin B12 and folate, its deficiency can be serious and can cause permanent damage to your nerves.
Thus, it is important to get treatment for both. A simple blood test can tell about the levels of B vitamins.
The treatment mainly consists of taking high-dose supplements, however, in some cases, you may need vitamin shots.
Migraines leading to Tingling Tongue
One of the warning symptoms or aura of a migraine headache can be a signaling sensation in the arms, face, lips, and tongue.
Other aura symptoms can be dizziness and visual disturbances.
These visual disturbances can be zigzag patterns, flashing lights, or blind spots.
Aura symptoms are often followed by migraine.
When this happens, you can have a severe headache on one side of your head, along with nausea and vomiting.
Let’s discuss some of the less common causes of the tingling tongue:
Burning Mouth Syndrome
A burning mouth syndrome can cause a constant feeling of burning or discomfort in your tongue, lips, and mouth.
Moreover, the symptoms can vary from one person to another, and include changes in the sense of taste, dry mouth, and a metallic taste in your mouth.
However, burning mouth syndrome can also be a sign of other health conditions like vitamin B12 deficiency, a yeast infection, or diabetes.
Researchers are of the view that this condition may be linked to problems with your nerves that control the area.
Furthermore, this condition affects about 2 out of 100 individuals and most women who are postmenopausal.
It is important to note that this syndrome has no cure, however, you can improve the symptoms by avoiding alcohol, tobacco, and spicy foods.
Local anesthetics to numb the tongue may also help, as well as medications that help with chronic pain.
Hypoparathyroidism Causing Tingling Tongue
Hypoparathyroidism is a rare condition and occurs when your parathyroid glands top producing enough parathyroid glands.
There are r parathyroid glands that are present behind your thyroid gland in the neck. Moreover, this gland controls the amount of calcium in your blood.
When your calcium level drops too low, you might have muscle cramps, weakness, seizures, dizziness, and tingling in your hands, feet, and face.
In some individuals, the reason for the development of this condition is unknown.
However, for most of them, one or more parathyroid gland stops working as the gland is damaged in some way.
With the help of surgery, your doctor will remove it or by other neck surgery.
No matter what the cause of this condition, the treatment is the same, i.e. lifelong supplementation with calcium and vitamin D.
Tingling Tongue due to Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis or MS is a chronic condition in which your nervous system is affected.
Inflammation causes the messages between the brain and the body to disrupt, thus, leading to a wide range of symptoms.
These are weakness, fatigue, trouble walking, and vision problems.
Other common symptoms are tingling and numbness in your face, and mouth, body, arms, or legs.
It is important to note that MS is a rare condition, and affects about 400,000 individuals in the United States alone.
If you are someone especially a female between the age of 20 and 40, you are more likely to get this condition, however, males can also develop this disease.
Moreover, this condition occurs when the immune system attacks the nerves and their protective covering: Myelin.
To this date, there is no cure for this condition, however, a variety of medications can help to control the symptoms.
When you Should See your Doctor
Numbness or tingling tongue can come on suddenly and also affects your face, arm, or leg, on one side, and can also be a sign of stroke. Facial droop, trouble walking, or talking can be signs, and any of these require immediate medical attention, therefore, call emergency services.
Tingling can only happen now and then when you connect to something like an allergy, canker sore, however, it goes away on its own. If it still persists, see your doctor as it could be a sign of an underlying medical condition.