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Mouth Diseases

Blood blister on my tongue

10/08/2008

Question:

Sometimes a blood blister the size of an M&M will form on the side of my tongue while eating. I didn`t bite my tongue or anything like that. The first time it happened I was eating a croissant. It`s also happened with fried chicken, potato chips, and most recently a Subway chicken sandwich. When it bursts it can be very painful. Why does this happen and what can I do to make it heal faster?

Answer:

It sounds like you may have developed a recurring mucocele, also known as mucus extravasation phenomenon. You can find additional information about mucoceles at the link below.

Essentially, spit or saliva produced by a small gland on the side of your tongue becomes damaged, possibly secondary to biting or physical injury. The saliva then escapes and forms a pool or blister that is usually clear or bluish, but with bleeding can appear reddish or purple. Any time you eat, the gland kicks into high gear and fills the blister through the damaged area but this rapidly deflates whenever it bursts.

While these occasionally heal on their own, you will likely have to have this treated by surgical excision of both the spilled saliva and damaged gland. Otherwise, you are faced with this cycle of blister formation followed by bursting indefinitely.

Good luck!

Related Resources:

Mucocele

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Go to the Mouth Diseases health topic, where you can:

Response by:

John R Kalmar, DMD, PhD John R Kalmar, DMD, PhD
Clinical Professor of Pathology
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University