What Does It Mean When Your Tongue Feels Itchy?

Itching is a common symptom for many ailments, but sometimes the itch is in an unbearable spot you can't scratch — like your tongue. Scratching your mouth is nearly impossible, meaning relief can be difficult to figure out. But why does your tongue itch in the first place, and how serious can it be? Let's discuss.

An itchy mouth can be an indicator of an oral allergy that affects the mouth, tongue, and throat, according to Medical News Today. Impacting people with pollen allergies, this reaction can also be caused by specific foods like nuts, produce, fish, eggs, soy, milk, and more.

A mouth itch can also be a symptom of a more serious allergic reaction: anaphylaxis. This itching, tingling, or swelling in the mouth occurs after you are exposed to an allergen like venom, medications, or specific types of foods (via Healthline). Symptoms can progress into difficulty breathing, dizziness, rapid heart rate, vomiting, and even death in severe cases.

How you can treat an itchy tongue

Itchy tongues can also mean you have a viral or fungal infection (via Medical News Today). Sometimes when you get a viral respiratory infection like the cold or flu, it can create an itching sensation in your mouth because of the inflammation. 

An itchy tongue could also mean you are getting a cold sore, or have a yeast infection like oral thrush. Oral thrush is a fungal infection caused by overgrowth of Candida yeasts in the mouth (via Healthline).

So now that we know what it means, how can you treat an itchy tongue? Lesser oral allergic reactions can be treated with antihistamines, but anaphylaxis requires immediate medical care and epinephrine. Fungal infections would typically be treated with prescription medication. No matter what the cause of your itchy tongue may be, it is best to seek advice from your medical team to get a diagnosis and proper treatment.