What Causes Tongue Sores?


Majority of tongue sores are usually not serious. Most often, they are caused by an accidental injury or a slight inflammation of one of the taste buds or “papillae”.

A sore that does not heal within two weeks should be evaluated by a physician. It could be a symptom of an underlying illness. Below are some of the things that could cause the problem, followed by a few home treatments.


Braces and other dental appliances may cause the formation of a sore by constant rubbing. A scrape with the toothbrush could cause an irritation. You might not even be aware that an injury has occurred. It could be hours before the soreness is felt.

Sharp foods such as potato chips or hot foods straight out of the over can cause a slight injury that leads to the formation of a sore. People that grit their teeth often develop sore spots on the sides of their tongues.

Chemical compounds such as aspirin or common ingredients in toothpaste can cause soreness. If you experience the problem often, you might consider changing your toothpaste or your diet.


Bacteria, yeast, parasites and viruses can cause swelling or soreness of the mouth, as they would in any other part of the body. Usually, tongue sores are not caused by an infection, but sometimes an infection occurs after the sore has formed.


Any disease affecting the function of the immune system is accompanied by an increased risk of mouth ulcers. In addition, any nutritional deficiency will lead to poor immune system function and could be the underlying cause of tongue sores.

Autoimmune diseases such as lupus are sometimes accompanied by the symptom. Usually, a person would be aware of the illness, before the sore developed.

Treatment for cancer and other diseases can damage the immune system temporarily and cause mouth or tongue sores. Doctors sometimes recommend a specific kind of prescription mouthwash for patients receiving these kinds of treatments. The washes help to relieve the pain and aid in healing.

Alcohol-based mouthwashes are generally not recommended. They can actually cause increased soreness.

Home Treatments

It is important to continue with regular brushing and flossing in order to reduce the risk of infection. There are a great many bacteria living in the mouth. The easiest way to keep them under control is by brushing. If the toothpaste you are using causes irritation, choose a milder brand. Other irritants, such as tobacco and salty or spicy foods should be avoided as well.

Licorice root is sometimes beneficial and is available over the counter. 1 mg of vitamin B12 dissolved under the tongue helps to speed healing.

A chronic lack of vitamin C can cause mouth and tongue sores and those on the tongue specifically. But, citrus fruit may cause irritation. A good daily multi-vitamin may be beneficial for prevention and for treatment.

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