The tongue is an important part of the human body and one of the most complex muscles we have. This muscle helps us to chew food and it is the primary organ of taste, allowing to sense whether a certain type of food or liquid is sweet, bitter, salty or sour. The tongue receptors are also known as the taste buds and they are spread throughout the entire surface of the tongue. This muscle is kept moist by the continuous production of saliva and it has a lot of blood vessels and nerves coming into it.
As the tongue comes into contact with different types of foods and liquids, plus air, it is only normal that this muscle is constantly exposed. As a matter of fact, it seems that, after gums, the tongue is the second most affected tissue in the oral area affected by different pathologies. The fact that it has these small crevices in which food debris, dead skin cells and bacteria can gather is one of the major risk factors. One of the most common problems that one can have is an itchy tongue. Let’s see what are the causes of this problem.
Causes of Itchy tongue
These are the most common causes that can lead to the appearance of the itchy tongue:
This is the number one reason that can make your tongue itch, especially if you know yourself to be allergic in general (for example, you have hay fever). This is also known as oral allergy syndrome.
- A recent study has shown that the proteins found in some fresh fruits and vegetables are almost the same as the proteins that cause other types of allergies (for example, pollen or birchweed)
- Some of the most common fruits and vegetables that can cause itchy tongue as an allergic reaction are: peaches, nectarines, apples, cherries, plums, pears, melons, kiwis, bananas, carrots, celery, cucumbers, zucchini
- Nuts are also responsible for the appearance of the itchy tongue, the main culprits being hazelnuts and almonds
- Other types of foods can cause allergic reactions that are accompanied by itchy tongue, among others: fish, shellfish, soy, eggs, wheat, milk
This can lead to the appearance of itchy tongue, after the tissue has entered into contact with harmful or irritating chemical substances. The same goes for certain cosmetics or any other product in the health care category. Contact dermatitis can appear if you use a toothpaste that contains powerful, allergenic ingredients. It can also appear as an allergic reaction to different types of medication.
Bacterial, viral and fungal infections in the oral area can cause the tongue to become itchy.
Burning mouth syndrome
An itchy tongue is one of the accompanying symptoms.
Treatments for Itchy tongue
These are the most common courses of treatment undertaken for itchy tongue:
- Anti-allergy medication in case of allergies (anti-histamines)
- Emergency epinephrine or adrenaline in case of a severe allergy reaction, followed by anaphylactic shock
- Corticosteroids can help reduce the inflammation and calm down the itchiness in the case of contact dermatitis. However, they should not be used as a treatment for a prolonged period of time or they can lead to serious side-effects.
- Anti-bacterial medication for bacterial infections (broad spectrum antibiotics)
- Anti-viral medication for viral infections
- Anti-fungal medication for fungal infections
- Antiseptic mouthwash
- Anti-inflammatory medication to help with the additional swelling
When suffering from an itchy tongue, using certain home remedies can help just as much as taking medication, if not even more. These are the most common home remedies you can use in case of an itchy tongue:
- Butterbur herb – the natural substances contained in this herb can help not only with the itchiness but also with the additional inflammation.
- Gargling – this is especially recommended if you have an infection in the oral area. Be sure to mix some warm water with salt and gargle at least two or three times a day for the best results.
- Honey is recommended for its anti-bacterial properties.
- Baking soda is indicated for oral care.
- Yogurt can help bring some probiotics into the area.
- Chewing ice chips can help with the itchy tongue. However, you should refrain from keeping your tongue cold for too long, or you might have circulatory problems.
- Chewing mint leaves can also help, reducing the intensity of itchiness.
- Lavender oil is also recommended for such problems.
- Glycerin can help reduce the intensity of the symptoms and also to repair any existing lesions.
As you can see for yourself, there are medical treatments and home remedies available for itchy tongue. It might for the best to take the medical treatment that the doctor has prescribed you and use the home remedies in order to alleviate the itchiness and other upsetting symptoms.