What Really Causes A Sore Tongue

At one point or another, you've probably experienced a sore muscle or two after an intensive workout. Of all the muscles that can become sore, did you know the tongue is also one of them? While our tongue doesn't get sore from lifting weights or doing squats like our leg or arm muscles do, there are still certain health conditions that can lead to the development of tongue soreness and pain.

Located along the floor of the mouth, the tongue aids in digestion through swallowing (via Journal of the South African Dental Association). Additionally, the tongue plays a crucial role in speech and enables our sense of taste. Just like any other area of the body, our tongue is also susceptible to injury, and trauma can be one of the foremost common causes of a sore tongue (via Healthline). Such trauma can include the grinding of your teeth along the sides of the tongue, biting down painfully on the tongue's surface, or damage or blistering incurred from a burn. Oftentimes, the tongue will remain sore as it heals.

Injury isn't the only possible cause of a sore tongue. In some instances, the taste buds on the surface of the tongue can become enlarged and inflamed, causing tongue pain (via Healthline). Inflammatory infections including oral thrush, syphilis, or hand, foot, and mouth disease can all lead to a sore tongue. Additionally, soreness experienced on particular areas of the tongue may be the result of mouth ulcers or canker sores.

Stress and singing can cause a sore tongue

Certain food items may be to blame for your tongue pain. For those with oral allergy syndrome, raw vegetables, fruits, and some tree nuts can trigger a sore tongue as part of an allergic reaction (via Healthline). This condition is most commonly seen amongst older children, adolescents, and young adults.

However, a sore tongue can be attributed to alternate causes outside of physical health conditions. New singers, for example, may find themselves experiencing a sore tongue from holding tension in the muscle (via Sing Wise). Improper vocal form such as jutting out the lower jaw, keeping the mouth open too widely, or excessive over-articulation can all result in tongue tension and soreness. Certain vocal exercises are designed to help loosen the mouth, lips, tongue, and jaw to help relieve this tension and prevent pain.

Lastly, certain side effects of emotional stress may also cause a sore tongue. According to MedicalNewsToday, the body's response to anxiety can include tingling in the tongue due to the constriction of blood vessels that takes place when stressed. Additionally, if one's stress response includes tongue chewing or sucking motions within the mouth, this can also cause injury or soreness to the tongue.