What It Really Means When The Roof Of Your Mouth Itches

Most of the time, when you have an itch, it's no cause for concern. It's easy to pinpoint the cause, whether it's a mosquito bite, dry skin, or exposure to spring pollen — but what about when the roof of your mouth itches? If you're pretty sure you can rule out insect bites and dry skin, what could be causing an itch in what seems like a pretty strange place?

Itchiness inside of the mouth is actually a common symptom that can have a number of different possible causes. It can be a symptom of a viral infection — the type that can cause an ordinary cold or bout with the flu — or a fungal infection, like oral thrush, which affects the mouth and throat (via MedicalNewsToday). According to Healthline, it can also be a symptom that precedes the development of cold sores.

Probably the most common cause of an itchy mouth though is an allergic reaction. Oral allergy syndrome is a condition in which the body reacts to proteins in certain raw fruits and vegetables that have similarities to the allergenic proteins found in some types of pollen. The body mounts an immune system response to the offending protein, in a process called "cross-reactivity." And a common symptom of this allergic response? You guessed it — an itchy mouth. Other common allergy symptoms, like watery eyes and swelling, can also occur.

Cooking produce can help prevent an allergic reaction

In an interview with the University of Utah Health, Dr. Cynthia L. E. Gellner explained how an allergic reaction can emerge from consuming uncooked produce. "It causes reactions pretty much immediately after eating uncooked fruits and vegetables," Dr. Gellner told the publication. "And the main symptom is itching and swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, and throat. This is because of cross-reactivity with pollen. Oral allergy syndrome is sometimes called pollen fruit syndrome for this reason."

If you're experiencing itchiness on the roof of your mouth, treatment depends on what is causing the symptom. In the case of oral allergy syndrome, simply cooking the produce can prevent an allergic reaction, since the high temperatures used in cooking work to break down the proteins.

Often, allergic reactions that include itchiness are mild, short-lived, and resolve on their own or with the help of an over-the-counter antihistamine. However, it's important to monitor symptoms closely. A mild reaction can quickly escalate into anaphylaxis, which can be life-threatening (via Healthline). If you experience serious symptoms or suspect progression toward anaphylaxis, stay calm, administer epinephrine if it's available, and call 911 to get medical help as quickly as possible (via Everyday Health).