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Dental and Oral Health (Adults)

Tongue Very Sensitive on Both Sides

12/14/2010

Question:

both sides of my tongue feels really sensitive like i have bit down hard on it plus most foods i eat on a regular basis seems like it is very spicy and burns my tongue what can it be thank you so very much

Answer:

Without being able to gather a medical and dental history, and perform an oral exam; I can only speculate on what may be occurring. If this problem persists, I would strongly suggest that you have it evaluated by your primary care provider and or dentist. 

With that said, are you under a lot of stress at the present time? How is your sleep, do you awake frequently or get less than 5 hours of continuous sleep? Do you smoke or chew gum? Have you changed mouth rinses, toothpaste, or oral appliance (whitening strips)? Has your diet changed? Have you been placed on any new medications, either OTC or prescribed? All of these listed could relate to your problem. You may in fact be biting your tongue during the night or subconsciously, the resultant trauma may be the source of what your complaints concerns. You also may have a contact allergy (as suggested on the questions dealing with medications or change in dental care products or diet). 

You also could be describing a more complex oral complaint, “Burning mouth” or BMS. The cause (etiology) is complex as is the diagnosis and associated treatments. BMS can present as a generalized oral chamber burning or pain sensation or as a localized area of burning sharp pain. The pain can be continuous or only related to contact stimulation (eating, drinking, touching) and the symptoms can last for years. Treatment can range from allowing it to “burn out”, use of topical medications (local anesthetics or antimicrobials) to systemic medications (corticosteroids, anti-depressants, neurotropic agents). 

Based upon you initial complaint of bilateral discomfort and symptoms related to food contact tend to make me think that you are experiencing the effects of trauma to the tongue. Again, if this persists or symptoms worsen you need to have it evaluated. 

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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