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Dental and Oral Health Center

Tongue irritation

10/22/2007

Question:

Hi. My tongue has been irritated for a few days now. The top of my tongue feels almost rough. The sides of my tongue hurt and burn. The inner part of my lips hurt as well (like they are chapped, even though they are not). Whenever I drink soda or anything acidic, my tongue burns. My doctor said he didn't see any infection, but that I should see my dentist, which I can't afford right now. Any suggestions? Thanks.

Answer:

I agree that you should see you dentist if only to rule out other problems associated with your described symptoms.

You may have traumatized your tongue by burning it (chemical versus thermal injury). You also may have a localized allergy to something that came in contact with your tongue (milk products, such as certain types of cheese, acidic foods like citrus or tomatoes, and toothpaste all can be sources of what is sometimes referred to as a "lichenoid reaction").

Based upon your description of drinking soda or acid and the burning sensation you experience, it may be related to a previous irritation and possible ulceration of the tongue surface as a result of trauma. 

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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