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Learn about your tongue numbness, including causes, treatment options and remedies. Or get a personalized analysis of your tongue numbness from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

Tongue Numbness Checker

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Your Tongue Numbness May Also be Known as:
Can't feel my tongue
Numb tongue
Numbness of the tongue

Tongue Numbness Symptoms

Numbness is a loss of sensation in a body part. Many people have experienced this sensation upon falling asleep for too long on a crooked arm or typing for too long on a keyboard. However, symptoms of tongue numbness are not as common an occurrence and can be very frightening. Furthermore, the numbness may be associated with other symptoms that may feel strange and disconcerting.

For example, symptoms you may also experience that accompany your tongue numbness include:

These symptoms may occur in the tongue or close to the tongue such as around the mouth. These tongue numbness symptoms are often temporary, but unlike being able to find quick relief for symptoms such as hand numbness, tongue numbness may be more difficult to resolve. As a result, it is important to follow up with your doctor and get appropriate care as soon as you notice tongue numbness symptoms.

Tongue Numbness Causes Overview

Numbness is generally the result of injury, compression or irritation of a nerve or a branch of one of the nerves in the body part effected. The tongue is composed of nerves and small blood vessels that begin higher up in the face and brain. The nerves and vessels branch off in various directions to give blood flow and sensation throughout the tongue.

Furthermore, the tongue is one of the first body parts that comes into contact with the outside world – whether it is food, drink or other substances, the tongue is a gateway for protecting the body from harmful elements. As a result, the tongue is very sensitive, and a common defense mechanism it utilizes to protect the body includes numbness.

There are many causes that can affect the nerves and blood vessels in the tongue as well as causes that trigger a protective response from the tongue.

Inflammatory causes:

  • Allergic: If your tongue comes into contact with a food, chemical or substance that your immune systems recognizes as harmful, it may swell and become tingly and numb due to the reaction.
  • Autoimmune: Many inflammatory diseases that result in the body attacking itself can also affect the nerves in the tongue and cause injury that results in numbness. Conditions such as multiple sclerosis and lupus are examples of such autoimmune diseases.
  • Infectious: Bacterial infections such as Lyme disease and viral infections such as shingles can cause inflammation and nerve injury that results in numbness and paralysis of the face. This paralysis can spread to also include the tongue and around the mouth.

Environmental causes:

  • Vitamin Imbalance: There are certain vitamins that are essential to healthy nerve function such as vitamins D and B12. Deficiencies in these vitamins over time can lead to nerve damage and injury. Conversely, exposure to too much Vitamin B6 can cause numbness.
  • Mineral Imbalance: There are certain minerals in the body such as calcium that are essential to the body's general functioning. Deficiencies in these minerals (hypocalcemia) can lead to tingling around the mouth that can feel very similar to tongue numbness.

Systemic disease causes:

  • Central Nervous System: Numbness of the tongue or around the month can often be the signaling symptom of central nervous system conditions such as imminent migraines or strokes.
  • Metabolic: Dysfunction in the processes that your body uses day-to-day, for example glucose regulation (hypoglycemia), can also affect the way your nerves function causing numbness and tingling in the tongue, the mouth and other body parts.
  • Vascular: Conditions that result in constriction of the blood vessels in the tongue can lead to tongue numbness because the tongue is not receiving the blood flow that it needs.

Top 7 Tongue Numbness Causes

  1. 1.Allergic Reaction (Not Life - Threatening)

    When the body encounters a harmful substance, it responds with inflammation and swelling that can be protective. In many individuals, the body responds this way to substances that are not normally harmful, like foods or pollen. This is the basis of allergy, or Type 1 Hypersensitivity.

    You should visit a physician to discuss the allergy and its severity, if you have not already been diagnosed. Your doctor may order an allergy screen to see what other substances produce the response. If you begin to feel tightness in the throat or difficulty breathing, get to an ER as soon as possible.

    Top Symptoms:
    swollen face, swollen lips, hives, red swollen bumps or patches with a pale center, lip numbness, history of allergies
    Symptoms that never occur with allergic reaction (not life-threatening):
    shortness of breath, throat itching
    Primary care doctor
  2. 2.Acute Viral Sinusitis

    Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinus spaces behind the nose and cheeks. These spaces produce mucus, which drains into the nose. If the nose is swollen or if the mucus does not drain, this can block the sinuses and cause pain or infection.

    You can treat your symptoms at home using ibuprofen (for pain) and Tylenol (for a fever). Antibiotics for this diagnosis are not helpful because this is likely a viral infection.

    Top Symptoms:
    headache, cough, sore throat, sinusitis symptoms, muscle aches
    Symptoms that always occur with acute viral sinusitis:
    sinusitis symptoms
    Symptoms that never occur with acute viral sinusitis:
    being severely ill
  3. 3.Influenza

    Influenza, or Flu, is an infection of the airway caused by the flu virus, which passes through the air and enters the body through the nose or mouth. The symptoms are similar to those of a cold, but the flu is usually more serious.

    If your flu-like symptoms are existing for less than 48 hours, it might be helpful to seek care by telephone or in a walk-in-clinic to get a course of oseltamivir (Tamiflu). Most people will get better on their own by drinking lots of fluids and taking an over-the-counter medication such as acetominophen (Tylenol) to help with aches or fever.

    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, headache, loss of appetite, cough, muscle aches
    Symptoms that never occur with influenza:
    headache resulting from a head injury
    Phone call or in-person visit

    Tongue Numbness Checker

    Take a quiz to find out why you’re having tongue numbness.

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  4. 4.Fibromyalgia

    Fibromyalgia is a disorder that causes widespread pain, tenderness, and fatigue.

    Fibromyalgia is treated symptomatically. Medication, therapy, and stress reduction may reduce symptoms.

    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, anxiety, trouble sleeping, depressed mood, headache
    Symptoms that always occur with fibromyalgia:
    hidden: arthralgias or myalgias
    Primary care doctor
  5. 5.Temporomandibiular Joint (Tmj) Dysfunction Disorder

    The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is located in front of the ear, and it connects the jaw to the side of the head. Temporomandibular disorder (TMD) is a painful condition which can be caused by excess tension in jaw mucles, faulty alignment between upper and lower teeth, arthritis in the joint, or injury of the jaw or face.

    You should visit your primary care physician. This is a complex condition to treat, because the causes are not always clear. Treatment may include resting the jaw with a soft diet, pain medications, and physical therapy.

    Top Symptoms:
    dizziness, history of headaches, pain, restricted movement, and clicking sounds from jaw, pain in the back of the neck, jaw pain
    Symptoms that always occur with temporomandibiular joint (tmj) dysfunction disorder:
    pain, restricted movement, and clicking sounds from jaw
    Primary care doctor
  6. 6.Mononucleosis Infection

    EBV Mononucleosis is a clinical syndrome characterized by fever, sore throat, and swollen lymph nodes.

    You should visit your primary care physician within the next 24 hours. Diagnosis is confirmed by looking for antibodies against EBV. Treatment involves supportive care (hydration, antipyretics, and analgesics, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen). Aspirin should not be given to children because of the possibility of Reye syndrome. It is also recommended that you do not do any strenuous physical activity and contact sports in the initial 3 to 4 weeks of illness due to the potential for splenic rupture.

    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, headache, loss of appetite, abdominal pain (stomach ache), cough
    Symptoms that never occur with mononucleosis infection:
    rectal bleeding
    Primary care doctor
  7. 7.Sarcoidosis

    Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory disease that most often affects the lungs and skin, but can als affect the joints.

    You should visit your physician to discuss your symptoms when convenient.

    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, headache, shortness of breath, loss of appetite, joint pain
    Primary care doctor

Tongue Numbness Treatments and Relief

Tongue numbness is a symptom that necessitates prompt follow up with your doctor.

While you wait for you appointment, try these at home remedies in order to combat your tongue numbness symptoms:

  • Balanced diet rich in essential vitamins to keep the nerves healthy: Fruits, vegetables, grains and lean proteins can provide your body with the nutrition necessary to keep your nerves healthy.
  • Regular exercise: Maintaining an optimal weight with exercise as well as a balanced diet can prevent and also control metabolic diseases such as obesity and diabetes that can cause your tongue numbness symptoms.
  • Avoid foods that may trigger an allergic reaction: Take note of foods that seem related to your symptoms. Common foods that trigger allergies include nuts, fish and wheat. Some people are allergic to common fruits and vegetables such as melons or peaches.

Depending on the cause of your tongue numbness symptoms, your doctor may first suggest the following treatment options.

  • Supplementation: If your symptoms are due to vitamin or mineral imbalance, your doctor may prescribe supplements that you can take to help your body get back on track.
  • Medications to relax blood vessels: There are many different kinds of medication that can combat constriction in your blood vessels by dilating (relaxing) them and promoting circulation.
  • Migraine medication: If your tongue numbness has been a signal for imminent migraines, your doctor can prescribe medication to give you relief from your headaches.

If you experience any symptoms of speech difficulty, facial drooping, or weakness to the point you cannot other body parts call 911 immediately. These could be signs of a stroke.

Furthermore, if you experience tongue numbness in addition to wheezing or trouble breathing, difficulty swallowing, throat tightness or hives also call 911 immediately. These could be signs of a serious allergic reaction.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Tongue Numbness

  • Q.How numb is your mouth?
  • Q.Is your mouth numbness constant or come-and-go?
  • Q.How long has your mouth been numb?
  • Q.Have you been feeling more tired than usual, lethargic or fatigued despite sleeping a normal amount?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, check our tongue numbness symptom checker.

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Tongue Numbness Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced tongue numbness have also experienced:

    • 4% Headache
    • 3% Hand Numbness
    • 3% Fatigue
  • People who have experienced tongue numbness had symptoms persist for:

    • 46% Less Than a Day
    • 24% Less Than a Week
    • 15% Over a Month
  • People who have experienced tongue numbness were most often matched with:

    • 8% Allergic Reaction (Not Life - Threatening)
    • 3% Acute Viral Sinusitis
    • 2% Influenza
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

Tongue Numbness Checker

Take a quiz to find out why you’re having tongue numbness.

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