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Mouth Diseases

Tongue Veins Easily Injured

06/23/2010

Question:

When eating, veins seem to easily rupture and cause a blood blister to appear that continues to grow larger until I pop it. THis at times will then produce white sores. WHat is causing this sensitivity. I am 52 years old, but this has been occurring for years.

Answer:

The tongue is very vascular, and the ventral (underside) has a large number of visible vessels (veins). With age, varicosities can develop, just like in other appendages and sites with large numbers of veins present. Thus the tortuosity and deep blue/red/purple coloration is normal.

I am surprised that you have a frequent “Blood Blister” formation occurring, and more concerned that you pop it to release the contents. There are a number of possible scenarios for the cause and frequency.

In your case you are possibly traumatizing the tongue and this results in a hematoma (collection of blood) to develop. You may be biting your tongue, rubbing against you lower front teeth, and sucking or creating negative pressure that results in extravasation of blood into the tissues. Are you on anticoagulants or aspirin for CVD prophylaxis? This could facilitate bleeding and hematoma formation.

The “white sore” are the result of you breaking the epithelial barrier to express the blood blister contents, traumatizing the surrounding tissues and increasing the chance for infection. What is happening, is that the blood blister has separated the tissue, you relieve the contents and the resultant void appears white and sloughs with time resulting in a localized ulcerative sore on the bottom of the tongue. 
 
I would be concerned with why this has been happening for years and you have not had it evaluated by your primary care physician or dentist.

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Response by:

Richard J Jurevic, DDS, PhD Richard J Jurevic, DDS, PhD
Formerly, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences
School of Dental Medicine
Case Western Reserve University