Tongue burning – causes, treatment

Tongue burning

Most often, tongue burning does not occur as an independent disease, but as a symptom. Therefore, a targeted cause research is often necessary.

What is tongue burning?

In medical terminology, tongue burning is assigned to the so-called sensory or emotional disorders. In such sensory disturbances, healthy perception in an affected area is disturbed. Those affected who feel a burning sensation in the tongue often also report itching or stinging on the tongue.

Also, the tongue can feel sore when burning the tongue. Often, parallel to the burning of the tongue, there are also similar sensations on the palate or on the inside of the cheeks.

Other symptoms that often occur in addition to tongue burning are dry mouth or taste disorders: Dry mouth refers to the subjective feeling that the mucous membrane of the mouth is too dry or that too little saliva is formed.

In medicine, one speaks of a taste disorder when the healthy sense of taste is impaired; Flavourings, for example, are perceived as less intense or alienated.


There are many possible causes underlying tongue burning. For example, irritation (including sharp-edged teeth) or inflammation of the mucous membrane of the tongue and mouth can lead to tongue burning. Tongue burning can also develop as an allergic reaction to various substances or foods. Even various fungal infections are considered the cause.

However, there may also be more complex causes of tongue burning, such as various physical diseases. These diseases include, for example, the so-called sugar disease (diabetes mellitus), anemia (a lack of red blood cells), various infections or deficiency symptoms such as lack of vitamins or iron.

Furthermore, tongue burning can be a side effect that can be observed when taking various medications. Psychological factors are also considered an important possible cause: For example, depressive moods or a fear of illness can trigger tongue burning.

Diseases with this symptom

Diagnosis & course

The course of tongue burning usually depends strongly on the underlying cause. If a cause can be clearly diagnosed (for example, one of the diseases mentioned, an allergy or substances that irritate the mucous membrane of the tongue), the burning of the tongue usually disappears or reduces after treatment.

It is more difficult to prognosis the course if psychosomatic causes are behind the burning of the tongue. If a tongue burning (rarely) is accompanied by visible changes in the mucous membrane, a visit to a doctor is recommended.

The causes of tongue burning can be diagnosed primarily by appropriate specialists such as dentists, neurologists or ear, nose and throat specialists. The clearest possible diagnosis of the causes is an important prerequisite for targeted treatment of tongue burning.


A burning sensation of the tongue can have many different causes and symptoms that need to be treated differently. If you do not treat your tongue burning, you have a relatively good chance that the burning will occur on its own. It often occurs when foods have been eaten that are not particularly well tolerated by the oral cavity, such as pineapples.

However, anyone who feels a burning sensation in the tongue over a longer period of time and does not treat it can receive inflammation in the oral cavity. These are usually inflammations of the gums and the teeth themselves. Here an ENT doctor or a dentist should be consulted. Treatment is necessary even if the burning of the tongue occurs spontaneously, without other changes being noticeable.

In the treatment of tongue burning, drugs that have an antibacterial effect are usually used. Thus, in a few cases, the gums can be attacked and also burn something. As normal side effects, the sore throat is also considered here. If the treatment with antibiotics takes place, general symptoms of weakness similar to a fever illness are to be expected. This impairs the body’s immune defense.

When to go to the doctor?

Tongue burning can have many triggers and should therefore be clarified by a doctor. Medical advice is required at the latest when accompanying symptoms such as toothache, inflammation or bad breath are added. If you have a denture or a tongue piercing, you should talk to the responsible doctor if you burn your tongue. There may be irritation or inflammation that needs to be treated immediately to prevent further complications.

If an allergy or a herpes infection is suspected, the dermatologist must be involved. The same applies if the tongue turns yellowish and smells unpleasant, because then there may be a fungal attack of the oral cavity. Tongue burning during menopause is usually due to hormonal changes and does not necessarily need to be treated.

However, serious metabolic diseases such as diabetes, autoimmune or salivary gland diseases, digestive problems, deficiency symptoms or pregnancy can also be the cause. Therefore, a burning tongue should be examined in any case. This is especially true if the symptoms persist longer than usual or increase in intensity over the course of the disease. Patients who regularly take medication should discuss changes in the oral cavity with the family doctor and, if necessary, switch to another preparation.

Treatment & Therapy

Since tongue burning is usually a symptom of an underlying disorder or disease and not an independent clinical picture, a therapy of tongue burning usually aims to combat the respective cause. For example, the treatment plan for diabetes mellitus can be revised or deficiency symptoms can be countered by targeted food or Since the burning tongue .

If the burning of the tongue hides a side effect of certain medications, it may be useful to replace the drug with an alternative medication in consultation with the attending physician.

If the tongue burning is based on mental illnesses or complaints, for example, various psychotherapeutic procedures can contribute to alleviating the psychological problems and thus also to alleviating the burning of the tongue.

If no clear cause of tongue burning can be determined and an affected person suffers greatly from tongue burning, it is also possible to initially treat only this symptom: For example, the tongue burning can then be alleviated by various drugs or rinsing solutions. However, physicians recommend that you continue to look carefully at possible causes.

Outlook & Forecast

A burning sensation on the tongue can have many different causes and therefore does not always have to be treated by a doctor. Often the tongue burning occurs as a result of an allergic reaction or an intolerance. For example, many people suffer from tongue burning after consuming a large amount of pineapple. In this case, the tongue burning usually disappears after a few hours on its own and there are no further complaints. However, if the allergic reaction is severe, a visit to a doctor is definitely worthwhile.

A permanent burning sensation on the tongue can also be a lack of certain vitamins or nutrients. In this case, it is also advisable to consult a doctor.

If the tongue burning is still not treated, it can lead to complaints on the gums and teeth. With inflammation, fever may also occur. The inflammations are and he usually fights with the help of antibiotics. Even with diabetes, burning on the tongue can occur due to lack of trace elements. In most cases, however, the symptom can be treated well and does not lead to further complications.


If the cause of tongue burning is known and it could be successfully combated, it is easier to prevent a renewed tongue burning than with an unclear cause: If, for example, an allergy has been diagnosed as the cause, it is advisable to avoid contact with appropriate agents or (if possible and desired) to have desensitization carried out.

If there are neither underlying organic diseases nor psychological problems, consistent Oral hygiene can, among other things, prevent possible risk factors for burning tongue.

You can do that yourself

Tongue burning can have various causes and must be clarified by a doctor in any case. In addition, the symptoms can be alleviated with the help of some home remedies and measures. A proven remedy are extracts from .

Teas made from lime blossoms, marshmallow roots or mallow leaves contain soothing substances that immediately reduce burning. A similar effect has tinctures of aloe vera or locally applied oral mucus therapeutics from the pharmacy. Basically, attention should be paid to good and regular oral care. Bacteria in the mouth and especially on the tongue can be removed with the help of a tongue scraper.

It is possible that the burning sensation is also triggered by a certain care product. It is therefore advisable to note the occurrence of the symptoms and to eliminate possible triggers. If the oral cavity feels dry, a diet with sufficient and plenty of water-rich fruit helps. Some fruits and vegetables, such as melon or cucumber, can be frozen beforehand to relieve tongue burning. However, fruits with a high acid content should be avoided as well as alcohol, nicotine and other stimulants. Effective remedies from homeopathy include the anti-inflammatory marum verum and the pain-relieving .

Lisa Newlon
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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.