Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Can bad oral hygiene give you problems with your tongue?"
Haven?t been to the dentist in forever, but I do brush and floss. Could this be why my tongue hurts? It hurts like on the bottom where it attaches to my mouth. Does not getting my teeth clean make my tongue hurt?
It is highly unlikely that not going to the dentist would be the cause of your tongue pain. That being said, if you have any infections of any teeth or any inflammation of the gums, which could be problems associated with not regularly seeing a dentist, then the pain associated with those conditions might be confused with tongue or mouth pain in general. It is always a good idea to be up to date with your dental check ups! Otherwise, the tongue is mostly a muscle, so it is susceptible to muscle strain, just like any other muscle. Common causes include chewing on tough food for example. Similarly, it is common to accidentally bite the tongue while eating, and this can cause bruising or swelling that can take a few days to improve. Finally, there is a condition called glossitis, which causes redness and discomfort of the tongue. This is most often caused by mechanical or chemical irritation (say from a pierced tongue or from frequent spicy food), but it may also be caused by various nutritional deficiencies, including iron deficiency and B vitamin deficiencies. Start by talking with your primary care doctor if symptoms persist, as they will be able to help you figure out what is going on.
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