Tingling tongue can be described as a pins and needles sensation. Tingling is typically due to a loss of sensation after damage to the nerves. Usually, it is not a cause for concern and will go away on its own. There are conditions, though, associated with a tingling tongue, and some can be quite serious. Additional symptoms will typically present alongside a tingling tongue if this is the case, so be aware of any other bodily changes. If tingling tongue persists, patients should be sure to seek out the attention of a doctor to rule out the following conditions.
Vitamin B Deficiency
A vitamin B deficiency is one of the most common causes of a tingling tongue sensation. Specifically, low levels of vitamin B12, which can lead to anemia, are known to play a role. Anemia is also characterized by the experience of tingling in the hands and feet, along with feeling tired all the time. Often, making the conscious decision to consume more vitamin B can fix this deficiency. However, some bodies are unable to absorb these vitamins from food. In this case, medications or vitamins may be necessary to facilitate its absorption. When left untreated, a deficiency of this crucial vitamin can cause permanent damage to the nerves, making it important to seek medical assistance as soon as possible.
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A sudden tingling in the tongue can also be brought on by hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. Patients with diabetes are particularly at risk and should monitor their blood glucose carefully. Skipping meals or taking too much insulin can cause a patient's blood sugar to drop below a safe level, resulting in a hypoglycemic state. While it is primarily associated with diabetic patients, it can affect anyone. In addition to a tingling tongue, individuals experiencing a hypoglycemic episode may feel weak, tired, shaky, or dizzy. Being excessively hungry can cause a person to become irritable or confused, and breaking into a sweat in the absence of excessive heat is also common.
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Canker sores are small ulcers that develop on the inside of the mouth, on the lips, or on the tongue. Sometimes, they can cause a tingling sensation in the nearby area. The exact cause of these sores remains unknown, and it's thought many factors contribute to their development. Injury or trauma to the mouth, such as bumping the lips or biting the cheeks, are known to lead to canker sores, and eating highly acidic foods make small cuts and lesions worsen, often growing into larger sores. Typically, they will get better within a week or two, but utilizing an over-the-counter mouth rinse or medicine can expedite the healing process.
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Hypocalcemia refers to the state the body reaches when calcium in the blood drops far below normal. While low calcium does lead to a tingling sensation in the lips and tongue, other symptoms will typically present first. These may include cramps, stiffness, twitches in the muscles, and dizziness. In more severe cases, hypocalcemia can even lead to seizures. There are several known causes of the condition. Individuals with low parathyroid hormone, magnesium, or vitamin D are particularly at risk, as are patients with a history of thyroid surgery or kidney disease. Some medications used in the treatment of cancer can also cause calcium levels to drop, resulting in a tingling tongue.
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Allergic reactions can occur after exposure to or consumption of various substances, foods, and drinks. Some allergens cause hives and itching while others cause sensations in the mouth, throat, and tongue. The severity of the allergic reaction varies on an individual basis. Some reactions subside on their own while others require the administration of antihistamines or emergency medications. Avoiding the triggers as much as possible is the best way to prevent a reaction. However, in the event of a reaction, moderating the length and severity of side effects is crucial, as anaphylaxis can occur. When a tingling tongue turns into a rash, swollen throat, and difficulty breathing, patients should seek out urgent medical attention.