Problems tackled: 43,462

Tongue problems

In the olden days doctors were very keen on asking patients to put out their tongue, and made all sorts of diagnoses from its appearance. It is true that some conditions can alter the appearance of the tongue (for example, a smooth, red, sore tongue may be a sign of anaemia), but the appearance of the tongue normally varies a lot between individuals.

What is normal?

Papillae. Although the tongue feels smooth most of the time, it is actually covered with many tiny projections called papillae that contain the taste buds. If you could examine them under a microscope you would see that the papillae are tiny folds of the surface of the tongue. Each is surrounded by a trench, rather like a castle surrounded by a moat. In each trench, there are several clusters of cells sensitive to various tastes; these are the actual taste buds. If we did not have any papillae, the tongue would be very smooth and slippery, and not very efficient at moving food round the mouth. Some animals (such as cats) have very prominent papillae, which is why their tongues feel so rasping. 

There are two different sorts of papillae on the tongue – flat ones and slender ones. The slender type are paler in colour. The flat type are bright red in colour and slightly shiny. Noticeable swellings in a line across the back of the tongue are normal – these are larger papillae. 

Taste buds. Each taste bud detects one type of taste best – sweet, salt, bitter or sour. The sweet and salt taste buds tend to be at the tip of the tongue, the sour taste buds tend to be at the sides and the bitter taste buds are at the back of the tongue. The number of taste buds gradually reduces as we get older, which may be why food always seems to have tasted better in our youth!

Bald sides of the tongue. It is normal for the sides of the tongue to look balder than the middle. The main surface of the tongue is covered by the pale, slender papillae. The flat, shiny papillae cover the sides and tip of the tongue (with a few scattered on the main surface of the tongue, looking like small red spots). Therefore it is normal for the edges of the tongue to look flatter and more shiny.

Sore swollen tongue

The tongue can become swollen and smooth (glossitis) if you have anaemia, vitamin B deficiency or herpes simplex infection (cold sores). Other things such as dentures, too much alcohol or spicy foods, or smoking, can also cause your tongue to swell. If these factors don't apply to you, or if the sore tongue persists after reducing alcohol or smoking, ask your doctor about the likely cause. It may be that eating a better diet or taking tables for anaemia or a vitamin deficiency will improve your sore tongue and make you feel generally better.

Dark swollen tongue. If your tongue suddenly becomes dark in colour and swells up, see your doctor straight away to check the condition of your temporal arteries. Narrowing of these arteries can reduce blood supply to the tongue (British Medical Journal 2008;336:728).

Red patchy tongue

The cells on the surface of the tongue normally have a short lifespan, and are quickly replaced by new cells. About 2% of people have a patchy appearance of the tongue, called ‘geographic tongue’ in which the cells of the papillae are lost more rapidly than usual, leaving a bare red patch on the tongue for a few days. This sometimes runs in families. The patches are red areas with a distinct margin, and in these areas the slender papillae are reduced. It looks a bit like a map, which is how it got the name ‘geographic’. In some people, the papillae are lost only from the sides of the tongue, or the sides and tip. The papillae usually grow again but this can take a long time and, meanwhile, a new patch may form on another part of the tongue. As new papillae grow, the patch appears to move across the tongue. Geographic tongue is not a sign of disease – it is normal and nothing to worry about.

Furred tongue

Instead of looking pink, your tongue may seem to have a greyish-white coating. This is not a sign of disease. It is more common in heavy smokers, people who breathe through their mouth rather than their nose (look at the section on snoring) and people who eat mainly soft foods (perhaps because they do not want to wear their false teeth). Debris, bacteria and dead cells collect between the papillae and build up into a coating. Eating more high-fibre foods such as vegetables can help or you can discuss it with your dentist, who may suggest that you obtain a tongue scraper (look at the section on bad breath).

Black hairy tongue

Very occasionally, the tongue appears to be black and hairy. This condition is very imaginatively called 'black hairy tongue'. It is caused by the papillae of the tongue growing longer than usual and becoming brown in colour. No one knows exactly why this happens, but it may be made worse by taking antibiotics, smoking, alcohol or poor oral hygiene. Black hairy tongue is harmless but lasts a long time. Try using a tongue scraper, or gently scrub the tongue with mouthwash using a toothbrush. Drugs are available that may help, but they have significant side effects. Discuss this with your doctor or dentist, who will tell you what treatments may help and will advise you about the downsides. 

White patches

There are two main causes of white patches.
  • White patches on the tongue and inside of the cheeks may be caused by thrush, a fungal infection that is common in babies and also in adults who have been taking antibiotics or have been unwell. These patches can be scraped off to leave red, sore areas underneath, and can be improved by special lozenges from your doctor.
  • White patches that are not sore, cannot be scraped away and do not go away on their own (leukoplakia) are sometimes an early warning sign that the area could become cancerous in the future. These patches should be checked by your doctor or dentist so they can be removed before they develop further.

Ulcers and lumps on the tongue

Most people have ulcers on their tongue from time to time. Usually they are very sore, but so small that they are difficult to see. These 'apthous' ulcers are harmless and probably caused by a virus. They will clear up in a day or two without any treatment. However, you must not ignore a lump on the tongue or an ulcer that doesn’t heal, even if it is painless, because it could be a cancer of the tongue or mouth. These larger ulcers are more likely to occur in someone who has been a heavy drinker of spirits or a smoker.
Any ulcer that does not disappear on its own within 2 weeks should be checked by your doctor. Cancer of the tongue is unlikely under the age of 50.

Tongue piercing

Tongue piercing is normally safe, but it is theoretically possible that it could lead to infection with hepatitis B, hepatitis C or HIV, and it can cause other health problems. So think very carefully about the risks before having it done.
Obviously you must make sure that the person doing the piercing is experienced and that the piercing parlour is hygienic. This may be difficult, because there are no official qualifications or training standards for body piercers in the UK. Check the piercer uses clean needles for each person, disposable gloves and antiseptics, and has a ‘sharps’ box (as in a doctor’s surgery) for disposing of each used needle. The jewellery is not sterile, so ideally the piercer should sterilize it in an ‘autoclave’ (as in a doctor’s surgery). Usually, however, the jewellery is wiped with antiseptic or boiled before insertion; this lessens the risk of infection but not as absolutely as autoclaving. Ask about all of this before you decide to have it done.
Bleeding. There is a very slight risk of serious bleeding when you have the piercing done. This is because the tongue contains lots of blood vessels. Because you naturally swallow the blood, you may not realize how much you are bleeding. Doctors at the London Hospital, UK, have given the following advice to anyone having a tongue piercing (British Dental Journal 2000;188:657–8).
  • Reduce the risk of swelling by sucking ice cubes hourly for the rest of the day.
  • If your tongue swells, making it difficult to swallow or breathe, go to the nearest Accident and Emergency Department straight away.
  • Every 4 hours, and after eating, give yourself a salt-water mouth bath to help prevent infection. This means dissolving 1 teaspoonful of salt in a glass of hot water, and immersing the site of the piercing for at least 2 minutes. This is awkward but possible – you have to fill the glass fairly full.
  • If the area round the jewellery becomes red and tender, you may have an infection. Go to your doctor or an Accident and Emergency Department.
  • If part of the jewellery becomes dislodged and you may have swallowed or inhaled it, go to your nearest Accident and Emergency Department.
  • If the piercing bleeds, press it firmly with a clean cloth (for example, a clean handkerchief) for half an hour. If it continues to bleed, go immediately to the Accident and Emergency Department.
Other problems. Bleeding is the most serious, but tongue piercing can cause other problems.
  • The jewellery may damage your teeth and gums. A study from Ohio State University found that almost half the people wearing a tongue stud for more than 4 years had chipped teeth, and 35% had receding gums because of the stud banging against the gum (Journal of Periodontology 2002;73:289 –97). The longer the stud had been present, the worse the damage.
  • The pierced site could become infected, but this seems to be fairly unusual in the tongue compared with other parts of the body (maybe because of its good blood supply). Resist the temptation to fiddle with the newly inserted stud.
  • Because different parts of the tongue are sensitive to different tastes, some people find that a piercing affects their sense of taste. It can also cause slight difficulty in speaking clearly. If you need an operation, you will be asked to remove the tongue jewellery, because it can cause difficulties with the anaesthetic.
  • Allergy is another problem, because the metal may not be pure. You may think that you have pure gold or steel jewellery, but it may contain substantial amounts of nickel, which can cause a sensitivity. When scientists in Finland tested body jewellery, they found that 11 of the 12 items they tested exceeded the EU safety limits for nickel. Surgical stainless steel with the mark 316L is of good quality and is unlikely to cause sensitivities. Niobium is an expensive metal, but is least likely to cause sensitivities.
  • The piercing can allow bacteria to enter the bloodstream. In a recent case in the USA, the bacteria from a tongue piercing damaged the valves of the heart.

Written by: Dr Margaret Stearn
Edited by: Dr Margaret Stearn
Last updated: Friday, June 9th 2017


598 people have
tackled this problem!

Tell us your thoughts

Did you find what you were looking for?

Add a comment

Please note we cannot answer your questions directly. If you are concerned, please talk to your doctor.

Share your stories, tips and solutions here to help others tackle it, move on. As all comments are moderated, there will be a delay before your comment appears.

Discussion content reflects the view of individual participants only. Health Press Limited bear no responsibility for accuracy of participant comments and will bear no legal liability for discussion results. Comments will be moderated before posting and Health Press Limited reserves the right to delete any material. See About our site for our moderation policy

Comments on this article

Posted by Optional on 10/01/2018 at 11:33

I got my tongue pierced about 3 months ago but I now have a small numb on the right side of my piercing and the right side of my tongue is sore like I bit it, it’s been like this for 2 days. I also have unusual brown lines on the bottom of my tongue what should I do?

Posted by Optional on 05/11/2017 at 03:28

I have a question I quit smoking almost three weeks ago and now have three lumps on the back of my tongue and a burning sensation in my throat what can that mean?

Posted by kelvin on 16/07/2017 at 11:04

i saw white patches down my tongue and a bump on my anus, pls what kind of infection is this? And what is the name of the infection.

Posted by Optional on 02/03/2017 at 08:10

Hi Iv got a problem with my tongue and its not something that i developed now, iv been like these since i was born. My tongue looks like the geographic type, and sometimes it has little bumps on the side and sometimes its painful but it heal it self sometimes its nice,smooth and pink tongue. I dont know what the problem may be. Please assist. And how do i clean my tongue and keep it healthy?

Posted by Optional on 20/09/2016 at 08:09

for those asking about "these white lines on the side of my tongue" It's Lichen Planus. It's an autoimmune condition where your body is attacking the mucus membranes in your oral cavity. lichen planus can progress to cancer. (mine did). If it turns into a greyish canker sore type ulcer. It's already cancer. Trick is get it early. have it Biopsied ASAP, and keep watching it. It won't go away.

Posted by Frazer on 17/12/2015 at 09:04

Got spots on my tongue tiny white ones that hurt the most and small red ones. I've been sleeping with my tongue hanging they hurt so much when they touch my teeth or anything. And now the pain is a bit less but I have the sorest of throats I've ever had. No cough though. I saw the doctor about it and he swabbed it and its currently being examined. The spots literally had me in tears. Since seeing the doctor my throat has become a lot worse as I mentioned, and now quite worryingly I have lost a lot of taste; chocolate spread tastes like butter, peanut butter tastes like butter, apple juice tastes like it's been watered down 1/10. I'm pretty sure my taste will come back when the spots go away. I'm sure this is catchable as my brother in law which I live with is having the first signs and my sister. no one else in the house though, (2 kids and my mum). Was wondering if anyone has ever encountered this. Hopeful for the return of taste. Really took it for granted. aha :S

Posted by Amy on 03/11/2015 at 04:26

Could you feature something about "cracked" tongues? There's probably a formal name for it. Basically, most people have nice thin, smooth tongues. Mine is weirdly thick, and has 'cracks' all over it. Like fissures. They don't hurt and I've always had them. They're especially obvious if I gently bite my tongue (like in the middle). It's a weird quirk and I've always been self-conscious of it. Does this sound familiar to anyone else?

Posted by abdulamin on 01/11/2015 at 06:16

hello there....l had toung spots which reachs 1 cm diameter one or two times over my tounge, there is no hard pain, but feel buring when i took spicy or hot dring like milke.....and 3 years since i had the sore. it look like smooth, sckrached and punched, there possilbe cure plese?

Posted by girlfromnorway on 29/09/2015 at 07:45

hello. i got my tonge pierced for almoust 2 weeks ago and i cant feel half of my tonge. i wonder if this is normal. please reply to me.

Posted by Optional on 15/07/2015 at 05:51

I have these white lines on the side of my tongue. Like just straight a white line lining up on the side of my tongue, also on the sides of my mouth. Is it possible it could be some sort of stretch mark since I have been stretching my tongue a lot recently.

Posted by Optional on 28/06/2015 at 01:29

Okay I look through these comments and everywhere else but can't find my problem, so I'll post it SOME FEEDBACK WOULD BE GREAT! When I was younger about 10years ago, the tip of my tongue a tastebuds was swollen and kind of white also painful, so I tried biting the tastebuds off, I probably bit more than just that one tastebud, it started bleeding and hurting really bad. Then awhile later the spot it bit turned black now it's just this black dot on my tongue for 10 years!! How can I get rid of it????!

Posted by hemalatha on 23/05/2015 at 05:16

recently i have got a hole on my tongue and i have consulted many doctors there where unable to tell whats the problem is so,please kindly help me what's the problem is actually

Posted by Optional on 20/05/2015 at 05:33

I have red spots sound my tongue piercing and they are very tender and hard for me to eat...What are they?!?

Posted by Optional on 08/04/2015 at 03:33

I just got my tongue pierced 3 days ago and my tongue ferls dry....please tell me why!!! Thanks

Posted by Mp on 19/01/2015 at 10:45

I have black spots on my tongue and it's been there for over years now and it's not pink like it should be but everytime I went to doctors they haven't really said anything about my tongue what could be the issue

Posted by Optional on 23/11/2014 at 08:04

my tongue is black and has white spots all over that hurt ,also there is always a bad taste in my mouth.whats wrong with me?,please help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Sally on 27/10/2014 at 01:09

I cannot locate anything online. My tongue actually changes it shape. The outline sides is lumpier and the surface is somewhat sloughing off skin and then becomes shiny and smooth

Posted by Optional on 11/09/2014 at 01:20

Struggling with painful canker sores on my tongue. I almost cant eat anything, acidy foods, spicy, citric fruits, all my fav's and even stress apparently. Its horrible but how to treat it for good!? ( It started off as geographic and worsened over the years )

Posted by Worried on 06/09/2014 at 08:59

Ok so I'm really worried I think I have tonsil stones but not sure. Anyways my tonsils aren't getting holes in them and they aren't getting larger but I still get them. Anyone tell me what I can do to fix this? Thx

Posted by Optional on 03/09/2014 at 11:26

First time on this & I liked this site, has lots of information. Scrolling thru the problems until I found mine.

Posted by Oconcerned dad on 22/08/2014 at 05:01

my s.on gets a blister on the tip of his tongue that turns into a hole happens every 3 or 4 months and he's had it for about 10 years now.has anyone ever heard of this? he is 12 years Old

Posted by Optional on 21/08/2014 at 10:33

My tongue is still white and I have tried oil pulling, tongue scraping ,drinking water, I have been on a healthy diet for a week, in brush my teeth and tongue twice a day

Posted by Michael on 11/08/2014 at 02:46

I fell asleep sitting up for five hours,during this time the tip of my tongue rested between my teeth and that weight cut off the blood supply to my tongue and it has been 24hrs and the tip of my tongue is still completely numb. No feeling what so ever, will the sensation ever return to the tip of my tongue?

Posted by Anonymous on 24/07/2014 at 11:42

Hi, I am 14 years old and for about 4 days I can not taste food with my tongue.It is like my stomach is hungry but my mouth and tongue are not.Please someone help me.I have braces but I don't think that is a side effect I've had them for a year almost now and this is the first time it happened.

Posted by nieshs on 01/12/2013 at 09:26

I got my tongue pierced 6 years ago and wen he did it, I was bleeding big blood clots and he said he put it in the wrong spot so he immeditaly took it out and did it over in another spot of my tongue. I was spitting up lots of blood for about an hour. The bleeding finally had stopped dat day but the tip of my tongue was a lil numb. Ihave no infections or bumps on my tongue but I can still feel the nerve part where he pierced it at sonetimes. Should I be concerned even if this happend 6 years ago?

Posted by Lizé van Dyk on 26/10/2013 at 10:06

Hi, I am 18 years old, and I have what you call a fissured and geographic tongue. I only found out what it was today, and I've had it since I was a baby. I can't eat tomatoes because it makes my tongue hurt :'( ... I'm very shy about my tongue, and I can't believe my boyfriend isn't disgusted. Is there any cure? I can't live with this. I'm literally in tears right now!

Posted by Kelsi on 01/10/2013 at 06:22

My 19 mson has a indention in the middle of his tounge. Almost like its missing a layer of skin. It started out red at first. It was re for about a week but this morning it looked like that. What is wrong with his tounge. It doesn't seem to bother him but its concerning me.

Posted by Optional on 05/09/2013 at 12:33

Hi, i've a painless white pea size bump at the tip of my tongue. it has been there for a year now. what could it be?

Posted by Optional on 14/08/2013 at 01:00

I have red/pinkish bumps for about a month if not longer.....they are not painful,they round and are located right at the back of the tongue

Posted by Jodie on 22/07/2013 at 07:53

Hi I have a 22 month old and she has been out of sorts for 4 weeks not sleeping so I have finally just let her sleep with me, we got a diagnosis of hand foot and mouth disease but that has cleared now for the last 4 days she has had very runny nappies and after 2 days of runny nappys she vomited in her sleep quite a lot and I did notice that her tongue has been white a lot abs her breath very smelly the last few days does anyone know what the whiteness is on the tongue? And how to get rid of it? And also is there anything I can give my daughter to pick her back up again? She isn't a sick child but over the last couple of weeks she just seems to be so down and low of herself

Posted by Optiona l liz on 08/06/2013 at 09:49

ii have a red shinny spot under my tounge an a split down the middle of my tounge i am from fla lee county

Posted by Couch Drop Causes Pain on 26/03/2013 at 10:30

I recently had the fever and I took so many cough drops I completely destroyed the papillae on the back of my tongue. The cough drops also inflamed my taste buds where the papillae was destroyed. And to top it off I have thrush because of this.

Posted by Amanda on 23/03/2013 at 12:32

I have had three lumps on my tongue for 19 years and have been told they are sucking blisters,I have one on the tip of my tongue and people always comment when I speak. can you tell me whats wrong with me and how to get rid of them??

Posted by Optional on 19/03/2013 at 06:49

my sons tounge is twisted to the side he has been crying al day

Posted by mahesh saraff on 27/02/2013 at 06:22

i am suffering for mouth problems from two months my problem is some small white spots in my toung so i donot eat any spicy food. for treatment our doctors give me b-complex cap+fluconazole 200+candid mouth paint+defzalacort tab+folic acid

Posted by Cindy on 23/02/2013 at 03:08

I feel like there is a lump in my throat during evening and I keep biting my tongue

Posted by Optional on 09/01/2013 at 03:13

my tongue has lines all over that dont clear ,,from birth i have had this lines on my tongue and dont know whats wrong with me

Posted by Optional on 27/12/2012 at 10:55

hey i am 17 and i have 3 red lumps at the back of my tounge and they are really irratating me and loads of people online said it might be lung cacer or caner cells but i dont somoker or never even had one fag ect freaking out xx (help)

Posted by anon on 22/12/2012 at 07:12

I have a cracked tounge with white stripes allover my tounge what could it be I have red all kinds of stories by haven't got my answer jet could someone please give me an answer

Posted by Optional on 29/09/2012 at 01:37

my tounge have cracks in it with white cracked stripes and small white sirkles on it what could it be?

Posted by laydee on 26/09/2012 at 12:55

On the tip of my tongue I am experiencing mild swelling, and I've noticed two new brown spots. Also, when i wake up in the morning is when my tongue feels the most swollen Well on your site it says for swollen dark spots see your doctor. I am unfortunately without health insurance. So I found no answer here :-(

Posted by Optional on 24/09/2012 at 08:24

i french kissed a boy and now i have a smooth flat red spot on my tongue .i don't know what it is but geographic tongue does not run in my family.can u please help me because i am very scared and want to get rid of it fast .Thank u :)

Posted by Janine on 29/08/2012 at 10:34

My tongue is white/grey looking which has no coating over it, and the sides of my tongue on top have indents like ridges (like imprints) and my tongue seems to be always feeling dry and this feeling always makes me want to sip on water or mints, chewies etc, and has been lingering for months now, I do not have diabetes. I would appreciate your advice ASAP as i have absolutely no idea of a cure, many thanks. Janine

Posted by Betty on 14/08/2012 at 02:06

The tip of my tongue is red and swollen what remedy can l use to cure the problem,it happens on occations....thanks

Posted by denise on 13/07/2012 at 08:24

hi my tounge feels like iv burnt it in the middle it looks white and iv been like this for a few mounths also when i eat i get a feelin like im going to be sick but diont actually feel sick any ideas

Posted by Rebel101..jk:D on 08/02/2012 at 04:05

what does it mean if my tongue is still swollen and sore but the tongue ring is hitting the roof and bottom of my mouth?

Posted by Optional on 02/02/2012 at 12:51

I'm 14 an have my legs show my veins? Is there anyway I can get rid of them showing, and I had a tongue ring and got a slit in the front of it so I took it out 3 months ago and still not closed? Anything I can do to help that?

Posted by Optional on 02/02/2012 at 02:35

My tong takes on color of what ever I drink but is always coated with a thick coating I scrap it etc but never goes away uncomfortable and anoying

Posted by Optional on 31/01/2012 at 07:57

I have got quite large splits and cracks on my tounge do you no what this is ?

Posted by Optional on 20/01/2012 at 06:39

My son has patches on his tongue and when I brush it it bleeds,what should I do

Posted by abc on 04/01/2012 at 07:28

i had a tounge prieceing and it was irratated and when i took it out my tounge got white and now over the hole is a red sore thing is it infected?

Posted by andrew on 29/12/2011 at 02:46

i like the research and comments. My question is,can i get infected with HIV if i kissed an infected person because i have a scrotal/cracked tongue?

Posted by Rosie on 19/12/2011 at 03:46

I have a beautiful fluffy cat and I love him to bits, however I have developed White spots at the back of my Tongue. The doc has checked them out and they are not suspicious but I wonder if there is a lozenge or meds I can take to get rid of it! The cat stays so I would like to find a remedy if possible. Any ideas very gratefully received please. Thanks. Rosie

Posted by jake on 13/11/2011 at 07:24

I got my tounge percied two weeks ago and pus. Comes out by the bottom hole & on top.of my tounge is white. I'm very scared and don't know what do please help me!

Posted by lindsey cappotto on 28/09/2011 at 05:09

i got my tounge pierced 6 days ago and the swelling is fine but their is a sharp pain only underneath my tounge and it kills could this be a pinched nerve?

Posted by Optional on 08/09/2011 at 09:30

after eating some salted mixed nuts my tongue has become ultra sensitive as well as my throat my tongue has become very patchy looking and my throat has little red sores on it

Posted by Optional on 05/09/2011 at 03:05

For now about a month I have a white fungus on my tongue and a sense of burning in my throat.My doctor gave me a prescription called Hydroxyzine HCL 25mg tablet.After a week there is no change and my throat is still burning and my tongue white with fungus. What should I do..............

Posted by Optional on 24/08/2011 at 09:20

Hi. I have a white tongue and very sticky saliva. I can make stings of my saliva that look like a spider web. I have a horrible taste in the morning and during the day I have to chew gum to not have a bad taste in my mouth. also other body fluids have become very sticky. it's embarrasing. Please any info or advice will be highly appreciated. thank you

Posted by julesOptional on 08/08/2011 at 03:48

My tougue is quite patchy and sore when I eat my throat seems quite inflamed but no soreness. Had on going for a month now. Tryed mouth wash pain killers still there. Lacking iron about to start taking them. Many thanks.

Posted by Optional on 07/08/2011 at 07:14

Still not found a reason why skin came off my tongue some 3 years ago and hasnt recovered?

Posted by Optional on 03/08/2011 at 06:06

i have splits on my tongue ? What causes this problem

Posted by Optional on 23/07/2011 at 08:28

I have been suffering from a sore tounge and at the moment have an ulcer underneath I also have an ulcer on the back of my throat and one just under my bottom lip. My tounge is quite sore. It's been like it a good week when it clears up I can go for a few weeks then get more ulcers and it all starts agin. Been taking b vitamins and c vitamin each day. Any help would be welcome.

Posted by Optional on 08/07/2011 at 06:53

I have a tongue, that is white, in the morning and when scrapped off it will go away and come back during the day!!! i did go to a doctor he says he could not detect a fungus. what could be the cause, i have suffered for more than a year now i practice good oral hygiene, but i have this morning nausea which is really bad all the time which prevented me from eating breakfast!!

Posted by Granny on 03/06/2011 at 08:14

I have discovered a round bead-like lump inside my tongue. It doesn't hurt, but it has been there for two weeks and hasn't changed at all. When I first discovered it, it was because the tip of my tongue felt sore or like it had a little sore on it and it didn't, so I started feeling my tongue for a sore spot and discovered the lump.It is about in the area where you kids get pierced. Is this anything to worry about? What type of Dr.?

Posted by sambo79 on 30/05/2011 at 02:19

my throats always dry and i find it hard 2 swollow,but i also have spots or small lumps on the back of my tounge and there goin down my throat,ive been 2 the docs twice and 2 dufferent docs said was through eatin spicy food but im not convinced its realy startin 2 bother me and its makin me feel run down so im worried

Posted by deepak on 08/04/2011 at 11:47

i dont know how people treat these ulcers on tongue. i have been suffering from it from 7 months. after applying lots of medicines it has not been cured. now my doctor has adviced me to use "oraflora" tablets and apply its gel on tongue twice a day. now i am relaxed a bit in 3 days

Posted by jacque on 30/03/2011 at 07:41

i have a very sore tip of my tounge,and big cracks that have been there many years,but the burning ,sore tip is a new developement in the last 2/3 months,i also have a red face that is hot and dry,with a tight feel,i dont know what is causing this ,

Posted by Optional on 25/03/2011 at 05:16

anyone know what i have? my tongue appears whitish grey on the top with growing bald spots on one side. no pain associated yet at least

Posted by DB on 20/03/2011 at 08:00

My tongue felt awful in the evening, especially after a drink of tea, feels swollen, though isn`t, horrid taste in mouth and slightly furry tongue. Recently it is happening more frequently and earlier in the day, and still happens if i cut out tea/coffe drinks. It even wakes me up. The dentist recently examined me and found nothing obvious. It is really bad after garlic and alcohol, so I avoid them

Posted by Daniel on 15/03/2011 at 02:33

Hello, I'm HIV postive for 16 years and for the past 8 years or so, I'm haveing trouble tasteing the flavor of my food, and the Doctor say there is nothing that he can do about me not being able to taste my food, is this problem because of the HIV?, What can I do to restore my taste, Food don't taste good too me and I'm loseing weight, Please Help me!!

Posted by karen on 05/12/2010 at 02:54

almost a week ago i noticed a small light pink colored bump on the back of my tongue,just in front of taste is a little sore.i wondered if you could tell me what it might be.

Posted by dave starkey on 09/11/2010 at 12:23

i have had a problem with my tongue now for about several months, every now and again i get what i believe is an ulcer which appears under my tongue and always in the same position.It goes after about a day or two but always comes back. Any ideas?

Posted by Vee on 24/10/2010 at 02:40

I have 2tongue piercings and still have darn near perfect teeth. It's all about how u choose to take care of your piercing and ur teeth. Common sense tells u if u play with it 24/7 and it hits ur teeth, they're going to become damaged, duh.

Posted by Optional on 09/10/2010 at 07:44

Can anyone tell me what it means, I keep having from time to time a large reddish bupm on the side of my tongue then the entire tongue swells. Today I was leaving work and I felt the hughe bump when it came up and as I was driving home the entire right side of my tongue is swollen. What causes this. It sells as thoough I have been to the dentist and got a novacaine shot or something and that is not the case at all. The last time it did that was two months ago for the first time in my life. I woke up one morning and my tongue had swollen I though I was having a stroke of some sort.

Posted by Optional on 07/10/2010 at 08:30


Posted by fran on 27/09/2010 at 10:31

i have my tongue pierced and my dentist doesnt like it but he keeps telling me that it hasnt seemed to have affected my teeth like other and the reason that is, is because i dont run my tongue bar along my teeth or play around with it so if your worried about weather to have it peirced or not go for it if you know you wont mess around with it but they aint the only one to damage your teeth and gums lip peircings do too i had my lower lip dont and it rubbed my gums right down but when it was a ring it was find as long as your sensible your teeth and gums will be fine

Posted by Andrew (from UK) on 24/09/2010 at 05:53

I would like more information on ulcers on the tongue; what they may look like and how to check & treat.

Posted by aisha kapoor on 21/09/2010 at 01:38

ur site is very gud . . And by ur site i got to knw more bout ma mouth problems

Posted by Sammy on 16/09/2010 at 05:21

Once my tounge went pale. I went to the doctor and they said nothings wrong with me. I said it was impossibe but they were sure nothing was rong. Any way, the Belarus doctors arnt great ones either... Usually when i eat something cold, in afew seconds it turns nearly completely white. So it permits me from having ice cream cold drinks and other stuff. This mite sound like a strange (STRANGE!!!!) ONDITION BUT THE DOCTOR TOLD ME HE HAS NEEVR SEEN ANYTHING LIKE IT BEFORE SO IM SCARED THAT WHAT HE MENT WAS THERE IS NO CURE.... NO JOKES.... SERIOUSLY....

Posted by Optional on 04/09/2010 at 05:42

i have about 8 red spots going around the side of my tongue with one being very painful. i have very tingly cheeks that feel very heavy and swollen when you look at them there not and my bottom lip has swollen a little bit too it is very painful and i also have gum disease which is being treated and my gums arent bleeding when brushing t present. also im findin that i have a very very dry mouth which makes it hard to get any saliva in my mouth any few on what it could be i phone a doctor a he said it sounds like a viral infection that should clear up in a few days i keep thinking i have mouth cancer im really scared any info on what this could be im 23 .

Posted by ?? on 15/08/2010 at 02:23

i had my tongue done a few months back, but it was removed by a doctor only three days after being peirced because of an allergy. now about four months on, i still have a hard lump on the end of my tounge near too the scar. is that just hard scar tissue?

Posted by Optional on 13/08/2010 at 07:55

I have 4 black odd shaped spots on my tongue, over the yrs they have increased in size....what could it be?

Posted by Melody on 12/08/2010 at 04:18

Hi, my problem started one morning when I felt like I had a piece of popcorn stuck on my tongue. I opened my mouth and looked and my tongue was brown starting from halfway back on my tongue. I took an object and scraped the brown areas and my taste buds came off with it. After using peroxide and an antiseptic mouth was and keeping it scraped it goes away in a day or two but then weeks later it comes back. I drink ALOT of tea with fresh lemon in it, could the acid in the lemon be burning my taste buds? I'm confused, PLEASE HELP ME!!

Posted by Optional on 09/08/2010 at 09:52

I have one pea size lump on the side of my tongue and is tender -what can it be?

Posted by Geraldine on 28/07/2010 at 10:35

Some Dr. Say cotting of the tongue ca n come from the stomec.

Posted by zoe on 15/07/2010 at 02:15

i have a reddidh blosh on the left side of my tounge. what is it? is it serious?

Posted by Fairoz on 09/07/2010 at 09:39

Dear Sirs/Madams, My son ,is facing a small proplem,his tounge front side came flat now,he is only 3 weeks now, Let me know it creates any problem? Regrds Fairoz

Posted by Optional on 07/07/2010 at 11:38

The Tongue gets heavy in the late afternoom followed by general body weekness

Posted by Optional on 06/07/2010 at 06:20

I have a small, hard lump on my tongue. It has been there about 2 months. It is sore at times, and it sometimes looks pink and sometimes it looks white. I went to the dentist and he said it was something to do with a papilla and it would go away, but it still hasn't 2 months later. Should I be worried and ask him again?

Posted by Paul on 16/06/2010 at 03:55

You write on Patchy tongue "Geographic tongue is not a sign of disease – it is normal and nothing to worry about." Geographic tongue is one of the primary symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency. This is a serious disease called pernicious anemia and is deadly if not treated. Ignore a geographic tongue can cause serious never and spinal cord damage. Please update your web site and learm more about pernicious anemia. Thanks, Paul for further info refer to:

Posted by madhu on 16/06/2010 at 04:08

last six months I have the following problem. some red dots appear on the edge of the tongue. the inner walls of mouth/cheek also has some problem. I can feel it. spicy food irritates. a few days less and then increases and then partly subsides.

Posted by Optional on 14/06/2010 at 12:48

Hi i had hot food last nite now the side of my tonuge hurts

Posted by Clayten on 09/06/2010 at 01:50

Hi, please help me out with determining what illness or desease i could be having, about a month a ago i got severe headaches, nausia, vomiting blood and lost a few kilo's. I have been to the docter twice and have been admitted in emergency where i was told i got a stamach ulcer.. I have tested for HIV through testing and through my urine.. Urine being clean and no sign of infection, my tongue now turns white with coating at the back when i wake up and my taste has become poor, and these headaches just don't want to go away! I also have pain in my legs sometimes cramps which are painful.. I have a strange looking bean that popped out a month ago on the top of my hand, my left knee also pains at times when i walk or just ly down without doing any activities.. Please help me please

Posted by Optional on 07/06/2010 at 11:08

every year i frequently used to have red sore on my tongue which gives me huge burning sensation and my tongue dried up often.

Posted by Optional on 31/05/2010 at 01:54

on the tip of my tounge approx the size of a dime is a bright red spot surrounded by a thin but obvious darker area, somtimes it is very sensitive to heat & cold, its been there about two weeks, what could it possibly be, incidentally it is flat

Posted by Optional on 29/05/2010 at 07:02

Had everything I needed to know, thank you.

Posted by Optional on 27/05/2010 at 10:40

funny taste in my mouth tongue feels like its been burned feels like got ulcers on the tip of tongue to

Posted by Optional on 22/05/2010 at 11:19

To all those that are thinking about getting a tongue ring, DON'T DO IT! To those of you who already have one, TAKE IT OUT! Get something else pierced. I am a registered dental hygienist and I've seen many patients that have chipped their teeth or cracked pieces of them off. I've also noticed gingival recession (gums that have receeded) and grooves wore in the back of the anterior teeth from constant rubbing.This will cause extreme sensitivity and tartar will have an easier time building up due to the root exposure. I've also read about it causing periodontal disease. If your goal is to keep the teeth God gave you while your here on earth, my advice to you is to pierce anything but your tongue. If you choose to do so, you'll have a future filled with dental bills from trying to keep your teeth(if you have insurance or lots of money).

Posted by ANNIE on 17/05/2010 at 03:04

I have white pimples on top,peeling on left side ,and a clusterlike pimples on the right side of my tongue. Iwas told that they are ulcers, or my taste buds are swollen .Help

Posted by Optional on 08/05/2010 at 07:54

I sometimes get one small blister on the underside of the tip of my tongue. It seems to occur usually when I'm eating crap or drinking a lot, but I'm not sure if diet is related. They're uncomfortable, but popping them usually makes them go away and feel better quite quickly. What causes these?

Posted by Optional on 08/05/2010 at 05:18

i have had a white ulcer on the side of my tongue for about 2 weeks which is very painful any possible suggestions for a cure

Posted by Rose on 07/05/2010 at 12:01

Hello, I have just recently felt that i got black spot on my tongue and i feel pain when i try to talk, I am very worried what to do? Please advice.

Posted by Optional on 06/05/2010 at 01:11

White tongue,but mine is black due to smoking. Apart from tongue scraper and stopping smoking, is there any medication I can take? I have false teeth. Thank you.

Posted by optional on 18/04/2010 at 10:05

what is it when there are white patches on your tongue and on the side of your mouth? What can i do to get it to go away?Why does it hurt so bad when i talk or even eat?

Posted by Jaadsz on 14/04/2010 at 03:32

- Yeah , this helped me out , buut can i still use my ordinary toothpaste that i use now if i want to get my tongue peirced , like for example colgate , annd for a mouthwash can i use corsodyl.. ?

Posted by Optional on 28/03/2010 at 10:28

Hi i have recently pierced my tounge aprox 5 days ago. Out of no were on one side of my tounge has become raw what do i do.

Posted by Lea on 25/03/2010 at 07:38

i got my tongue pierced a week ago and still can hardly eat or drink as everything stings. i think i might have ripped it whilst eating as the hole is bigger than it was and is alot more painful than it was a few days ago. can anyone help?

Posted by Vijay on 24/03/2010 at 08:32

Sirs, I have been suffering very cronic ulcer on my left side of tongue and I cunsulted so many/different doctors and done biopsy twice, after all everybody prescribing multivitamins and antibiotics but so far no any cure, still it is increasing with very painfully. so, what is the ultimate remedy and whom I cunsult properly. please let me know. Thanks and your valued information would be very delightfull and appreciable. Vijay

Posted by Frosty on 24/03/2010 at 07:46

woke up one morning, (after a weekend of too much sugar) and i noticed a thin white line along the right side of my tongue at the front. i had something similar 3 years ago, it was removed and not cancerous. looks like this ----- but white, same length and same thickness any ideas? i will be seeing the doctor in one week if this doesn't go away. no pain no discharge. it's just there.

Posted by Nana on 24/03/2010 at 02:05

I have black dots on my tongue, what does that mean?

Posted by Optional on 23/03/2010 at 06:40


Posted by Optional on 23/03/2010 at 05:17

I use to bite my tongue with my grinding teeth , and everytime small skins get teared out, I like this , this has become my habbit. what should I do ? Is it dangerous ?

Posted by Optional on 22/03/2010 at 12:29

i have white tounge since a long time now. i think its been there for years now. since the last one week i have been trying hard to get rid of it. i know that i have started off late. but i am hoping for a miracle to happen that would turn my tounge into pink healthy colour.

Posted by Harpreet on 22/03/2010 at 01:34

excellent explanations of every thing related to the problem

Posted by Kirstie on 16/03/2010 at 06:31

ive had my tongue pierced just over a year and in the past couple of days ive had a titanium bar in. i had to take it out because its started to swell up so i changed it back to the stainless steel one. but the swelling still hasnt went down. is there anything i can do to make it go down?

Posted by Nicole on 16/03/2010 at 01:36

umm... so i got my piercing like for christmas so i had it for 3-4months, and its been fine. i've been looking things up on the internet and im like thats never happened but everyones different. and so i would say if you want the piercing just go for it because you can take it out but make sure you think it through and dont just let any piercer pierce you make sure they check your tongue and make sure they dont hit a vien or so. and it doesnt hurt when they pierce it, it does hurt after tho like when the swelling comes, but it works. and you have to eat like water.ish things like yogurt or ice cream and cold things mostly for 2weeks or 1 depends. and stay away ! from hot foods or drinks like soup coffee ect. and i've had mine no problems so just because some things scare you dont worry bcuz theres a small chance it will happen to you, and just remember its a piercing you can always take it out. FOR DATERS~ you can take it out (duh!) and my boyfriend loves it, he did get used to it considering we kiss (haha) and now he says he loves it, my guy friend kissed me (hahaha) to see what it felt like he liked it and then he kissed a normal girl (aka. no piercing) and he was like wow the piercings a bit more fun. and now he wants to get one (ahahahahah) but ya i love it, my bf loves it (espically the kissing part) (aahahhaha) and ya. and sorry bout the ( ) parts i just want them to be there insted of saying hahaha anyways so ya, if anyone has question just say HEY NICOLE I GOT A QUESTION FOR YA. (haha) and btw it does not cause cancer, other shit does. ~ hope i helped and any question ? ~

Posted by Optional on 12/03/2010 at 02:00

I want to get my tongue pierced but does it cause cancer? x

Posted by Optional on 06/03/2010 at 08:05

i got mine done and my eye keeps twiching i dnt no whyy :(

Posted by Optional on 05/03/2010 at 06:13

My mother told when I was born that I had a skin that came off of my tongue. The whole skin came off and left my tongue raw like. I've been having my whole life with tongue, anything I eat or drinks bothers me. My grandmother took me to the doctor, but he said he never seen anything like this before. So, he gave me some drops to put on it, but it stills bothering me. Recently, how ever the crack has split to the tip of my tongue. It doesn't hurt, but it's kinda of disturbing looking. I don't know what to do, I opinion before going to the doctor again.

Posted by Optional on 04/03/2010 at 04:22

iv had my tounge done now for over a year, i love it. took me years to get corrage to get it done. anyway the place where i went was great, nice girl did it. she told me everything before & after. i had time to look into this coz i was scared off having it done for over 4 years. lol my dad went mad but mum was bit better, anyway i was old enough & its my body. it didnt really hurt , just uncomfy. it was over in a jif. it did bleed {trust me} but stoped. she said id have to take it out if it didnt stop. anyway everything was fine, i drunk cold ice drinks,sucked on ice cubs etc etc. but now iv notticed iv got something under the bottom bar bit,its like extra skin or something & my piercering is a littel feels bit like iv just had it done. im scared to go to doctors just in case i have to take it out, but im going to go on monday. i dont want it to get worse or anything & im not telling my parents either. : [ some peopel to might think we all stupid for getting it done but stupid peopel is the ones who dont get it done by experts, like doing it themselves or a m8 doing it. getting tounge piecerd is no joke

Posted by Optional on 03/03/2010 at 11:04

I have a sore tongue which stings, and there are a lot of cracks and splits at the end. Even sensitive toothpase stings, and special mouthwashes

Posted by Anonymous on 17/02/2010 at 07:42

Had tongue done 6 days ago, going to get bar changed tomorrow, no problems, yeah i struggled to talk when it was swollen i find it difficult to eat with the bigger bar in, no expert but yeah it will bleed and puss, the peircer should have warned you about this

Posted by Optional on 17/02/2010 at 01:52

My problem is a stromg yellowing of the tongue and bad breath

Posted by colin mcmillan on 10/02/2010 at 06:42

there is a patch on my tonuge that is red raw the doctors say it is not thrush?

Posted by Anonymous on 07/02/2010 at 02:27

I have white tounge with red smooth looking areas and the tounge feels more sense to hot drinks and less sense of taste, at the same time i have a sore throat and mouth ulcers. What should i do?

Posted by rob on 06/02/2010 at 12:01

i have a yellow lump on my side of my tongue half the size of a finger nail been there 2 years i bit my tongue at the time 2 years ago and its been there ever since

Posted by ~Dj~ on 02/02/2010 at 04:06

ight so i pierced my tounge myself and for the first week or two it was swollen and it was hard to also discharged a little but that's perfectly normal....for anyone with questions the best i can tell you is talk with a docter an understanding, adult, your piercer, and go to google and look it up on your own....thats the best way to decide wheather or not you still want it. Look up the dangers and pics of what infections look like that way you also know if you get one.

Posted by samantha on 01/02/2010 at 10:28

my tongue feeld like iv burnt it, but i havent. it looks very pale and as what looks like little tiny cracks on my togue. what could is be?

Posted by maddison on 21/01/2010 at 05:18

I just had mine pierced last week and was so freaked out when I researched it online. I went in with a huge list of questions and my piercer and I went over each one it detail. He made me feel so much better about having my tongue pierced. They will check your tongue and make sure you don't have any veins in the way. I ended up closing my eyes tight and humming to myself and before I could get halfway through my child's favorite nursery rhyme, it was over! It was really swollen the next day but i could still eat solids just in smaller bites and taking more time.

Posted by paige on 20/01/2010 at 09:44

Im about to have my tongue done for my birthday next week. My moms not keen on the idea and had asked me to research it b4 i do it. Ive looked it up on the net and have read all kinds of stories about paralising and trouble breathing? Im not sure i want it done now ... its really put me off. Is there any1 out there who actually never experienced problems? I was soo set on gettin this done ...

Posted by Anonymous on 17/01/2010 at 12:20

My tongue has little cuts/cracks on the side and on the top for as long as I can remember. It looks more painful than it actually is, yet sometimes they burn a little or feel like ulcers. what is is??

Posted by Abbiee on 12/01/2010 at 03:04

I had my tongue pierced in october and for about a week i found it hard to eat with the long bar in but after i got it changed to a smaller one i couldnt even tell it was in my mouth, i got a big of greenish discharge coming out of it for about 2 weeks but thats normal so dont worry. if it carrys on for more than 3 weeks after you got it pierced though you might want to get it checked out at the hospital. i had to block mine up about 5 weeks after i got it done due to work, and i really miss it loads, so getting it done again soon. a tip after getting it pierced is keep sucking on icebubes too keep the swelling down and keep eating soft food for about 4 days, and keep taking painkillers in the recommended amount of times apart for around 4 days too. Also be careful not to catch forks on the bar after just getting it pierced, trust me, it hurts! Hope this helps x

Posted by anonymous on 12/01/2010 at 02:51

i have a light red patch on center of tongue, no pain or sensitivity when eating or brushing it. its shaped almost like a diamond. Been 6 months now & has not gone away..going to doctor today to check it..will write again w/ results..stay tuned.

Posted by vampiress on 11/01/2010 at 10:16

hello i had a friend tell me that its not good to have your TONGUE PIERCED cause it has been proven to be very unhealthy for you with all the bactirea and stuff. it may cause heart problems cause i have mine done so is all this true?

Posted by Anonymous on 31/12/2009 at 10:29

i got my tongue done yesterday it is swollen and i ave noticed puss can any 1 help

Posted by anonymus on 29/12/2009 at 10:57

I've had my tongue pierced for about two months.After the first month my tongue began getting this really sticky film and yellowish color.I have to constantly brush my tonge,Ive also had cracks around my piercing.I'm worried I might have an infection,could you please help me?

Posted by Stephany on 16/12/2009 at 10:08

I got my tounge pierced a week ago and I got this like bold spot on the side of the tounge pierce, it is not on the hole but is like next to it... Is it infected? =[

Posted by Worried on 14/12/2009 at 06:43

I have small but wide cracks on my tongue and a big white blister. What could this be????? it's sore...)-:


Tongue problems

Related articles

embarrassing problems
View what people have said about tongue problems

Fascinating facts

We each probably have about 10 000 tastebuds on our tongues Tastebuds on the tongue can detect only four tastes - sweetness and saltiness at its tip and centre, acidity at the sides and bitterness at the back. Sense of smell helps to increase our range of tastes, which is why we lose our sense of taste when we have a cold

The tongue is one of the most touch-sensitive organs in the body; for example, it can detect tiny hairs that our fingers are unable to feel

Without our tongues, we would not be able to chew, swallow, taste or talk

The tongue doubles in length, width and thickness between birth and adolescence

embarrassing problems

Latest updates

Dr Phil's latest video
1st July 2020

Anal itching (itchy bottom);
1st August 2018

Nail biting;
23rd April 2018

Nail problems;
23rd April 2018

Varicose veins;
19th April 2018

29th January 2018

embarrassing problems