ZocdocAnswersIs my diet causing my sore tongue?

Question

Is my diet causing my sore tongue?

My tongue is sore almost constantly. Especially the sides. Should I change my diet? What could cause this?

Answer

Soreness of the tongue happens from time to time and there are a variety of causes. Fortunately, the majority of tongue problems are not serious. You've asked whether or not your sore tongue has anything to do with your diet. But what exactly is in your diet? In general, a diet that is deficient in folic acid and vitamin B-12 may cause your tongue to appear reddish and painful. That said, minor infections or irritations are the most common cause of tongue soreness. Grinding and clenching your teeth as you sleep can irritate the sides of the tongue and cause it to become painful. An inflamed taste buds can swell and form a painful bump on your tongue. Heavy smoking can irritate the tongue and make it painful. The herpes virus (HSV-1) that is the typical culprit to give you "canker sores" can cause painful ulcers on the tongue. Most sore tongues are nothing to worry about. In some instances, however, a painful tongue can indicate more serious conditions. It may be a symptom of certain medical conditions including AIDS, diabetes, and anemia or may be due to your immune system. The most worrisome is oral cancer. You should consult a primary care doctor or ENT if you have a lump or sore on your tongue that doesn't go away within a week or two to rule out tongue cancer or a serious medical condition. Good luck.

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