The tip of your tongue may at times turn numb or may have a tingling sensation. This sensation is mostly a temporary occurrence, but may show up due to multiple reasons. Some of the reasons include intake of foods that cause allergies, infections of bacteria or virus, inadequate levels of select nutrients, conditions linked to your central nervous system (CNS), etc. As a numbed tongue (especially tongue’s tip) could be due to a few medical conditions, you need to know the real reasons behind such an occurrence. A proper understanding of its possible causes can help you take needful remedies.
You may find a part of your body turning numb – say, your hand or leg, when you have been using your arm for a fairly longer time at your office or home. Numbness can also result when you have accidently slept on your hand. There are a few topical medications and several home remedies to treat numbing of limbs. But, a numb feeling at the tip of your tongue is not a regular thing to happen. Whenever it occurs, it can make you uncomfortable as well as stressful. Also, it is not easy to find a quick remedy (unlike, a numbed limb) to treat your numbed tongue. It is advised to see your family physician for needful medical attention.
The common signs linked to your tongue turning numb (either a part of it or your tongue’s tip) are tingling, needles & pins feeling, burning sensation, itchiness, pain in the other parts of your tongue or mouth, weakness, etc.
It may be triggered because of a branch of nerves may stand affected. It may also be due to a compression or an injury. Your tongue is the foremost part of your body that often comes first in touch with any foods or drinks. A tongue is a very sensitive organ, as it also acts as a gatekeeper for your whole body. This is because it your tongue that protects your body from harmful or adverse food items such as spoiled foods, toxic substances, etc. It is mainly for these reasons your tongue is extremely sensitive. Going numb is one way by which it defends your body from any likely harm.
What causes numbness at the tip of your tongue?
You need to know that your tongue is made of very fine vessels that carry blood as well as nerves; almost all these nerves start way up from the brain or from upper part of the face. These blood vessels and nerves crisscross the tongue and also branch off in multiple sides. This intricate structure yields an extremely sensitive surface to your tongue; it is also helpful in ensuring an adequate flow of blood to all parts including the tip of tongue. In short, your tongue has a complex nerve-arrangement as well as blood vessel composition. Hence, numbness at the tip of your tongue may be its way of defending you against any outside threats (say, toxic foods or poisonous fluids) or it could be due to a nerve condition.
The reasons why your tongue or its top may turn numb are classified as #(1) those owing to systemic disorders, #(2) environmental reasons or #(3) due to an inflammation.
Systemic disorders related causes include vascular conditions (this happens when blood vessels in your tongue shrink or contract in diameter and thus letting lesser than normal amount of blood to flow), metabolic reasons (non-availability to adequate glucose / blood sugar level – this condition is called hypoglycemia) and nervous system related problems (in some instances, numbing of the tip of your tongue is a signal of a likely stroke, migraine or headache and other nerve related conditions).
Environmental reasons that can cause numbness of tongue include imbalances in availability of minerals and vitamins. Minerals such as calcium are crucial for the normal functioning of your body. A condition wherein calcium availability is less than normal (a condition called as hypocalcemia) can result in numbness of your tongue.
Insufficient supply of vitamins – especially vitamin B12 and vitamin D – may also lead to numbness of tongue. It may be noted that inadequate supply of vitamin B12 and vitamin D can weaken your central nervous system (CNS). Vitamin B12 can be made available by consuming clams, lamb liver, beef, milk, eggs and fish (such as tuna, sardines, salmon, etc.). Foods rich in vitamin D are oil from cod liver, mushrooms, yolk of eggs, fish such as tuna, sardines or herring. On the other hand, medical studies reveal that abundant intake of vitamin B6 may also result in numbness. Foods with copious amounts of vitamin B6 are avocado, pistachio, beef, sweet potato, banana, etc.
Inflammation of the tongue may be due to viral or bacterial infections, autoimmune disorders and also due to a few allergies.
Lyme is a disease caused by infections of bacteria as well as viral attacks that result in shingles are observed as primary reasons. Such infections are known to cause injuries to your nerves. As an outcome, you may experience numbness due to facial paralysis. It has been observed that this condition often affects your tongue as well as other oral parts.
Autoimmune conditions such as lupus (your immune system mistakes your own tissues or organs as possible threats; and, starts attacking them) and multiple sclerosis (affects your central nervous system (CNS) as well as the brain; it impairs the interactions between your brain and other body parts) can all lead to numbness. Root cause is the injuries these autoimmune conditions cause to your nerves.
Allergies may occur when your tongue comes in touch with potentially dangerous or toxic substances. Numbness is a natural response triggered by your nerves to prevent hazardous substances from becoming threats.
Acute medical conditions that can make your tongue numb
If you sense signs such as excessive tiredness, drooping of face and problems while speaking (such as slurring of speech, etc.); it is quite likely that a stroke may be imminent. Stroke prevents supply of oxygen to your brain, and it can be a cause for numbness. You are advised to contact 911 as early as possible. Delay in attending to these serious signs can lead to severe damages to your muscles and nerves of your tongue, face, etc. If it is a stroke, you may also experience problems in moving your tongue.
But, how can you spot if these signs are linked to a stroke, as early as possible?
If it is a stroke, apart from numbness of tongue – you may also experience blurred eyesight, dizziness, inability to walk and difficulties in keeping yourself balanced. Never forget that delaying needful treatment even for a few minutes can be extremely dangerous; it can either lead to permanent impairment of your nerves or it may also turn fatal at times.
Multiple sclerosis is another condition wherein your tongue can turn numb. It is a condition in which your immune system works against your tissues and nerves; especially those in your spinal cord and brain. This medical condition often makes it tough for you to chew and swallow foods. The condition is also known to affect the deeper sides of your cheek and can cause injuries to your tongue. Unfortunately, multiple sclerosis is a chronic condition, and hence can persist for long. The flares of this condition may be avoided if you are under a proper treatment plan and are taking drugs without breaks. The other symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis are inability to pee or frequent urges to pee, drowsiness, weariness, problems while walking, blurring of eyesight, etc. If you encounter any of these signs, you are advised to seek medical help immediately.
Damages caused to nerves – owing to dental procedures – can also lead to numbness. This may occur when the dentist has disturbed a blood vessel or nerve; this may happen especially while administering an anesthetic drug. Piercing your tongue may also lead to numbness. Damages caused by such piercing are not permanent though. However, if numbness persists for long, you may need to take medical help as the earliest possible time.
Oral sores – which run the risk of turning into cankers – may occur on the softer areas of your mouth, underneath the tongue, etc. These may lead to a numbing as well as burning sensation. Though these are often temporary sores, some may persist for upto even 15 days. You may need to tell your doctor if you periodically get cankers on your tongue or gums accompanied by painful spells; these can be observed especially while your drink or eat. Also, if you are experiencing respiratory disorders, tightness in your throat or skin disorders, you may be suffering from an acute spell of allergic reactions. In such instances, it is highly recommended to contact 911 without delay.
How to treat numbness of tongue?
Treatment of a numb tongue (including the tongue’s tip) is based on the type of signs and the underlying causes. Your physician may consider a wide range of treatment options before zeroing-in on a treatment plan.
If the tongue has turned numb due to shrinking of vessels, your physician will administer drugs to relax vessels carrying blood. The main function of such drugs is to enlarge your vessels and stimulate better circulation of blood.
Some people may experience a numb tongue as a symptom of a likely spell of migraine. Keep your doctor informed about such linkages, if any. Your physician will prescribe drugs that can treat acute spells of headache or migraine.
As mentioned earlier, deficiency of vitamin B12 and vitamin D can lead to a numb tongue. Have an open discussion with your treating doctor about your medical condition. Needful supplements are prescribed to set right inadequacies of essential vitamins.
Numbness of tip of tongue can also be treated with a few remedies available at your home. As a starting point, you may need to stop taking foods that may be allergic to you. A few vegetables and fruits (for example, peaches, melons, etc.) are found to trigger allergic reactions in some people. A few others have experienced their tip of tongue becoming numb when they consume foods such as wheat, nuts and select types of fish. It is hence necessary to note down the allergic reactions your body experiences in response to intake of such foods. Upon noting down, ensure not to add these foods to your diet. You may also need to adhere to a routine workout plan to keep autoimmune conditions at bay.
Regular exercises have a direct link in preventing lifestyle related disorders such as diabetes, overweight, etc. These conditions are often known to trigger numbness of tongue. Above all, the most important home-approach to treat numbness of tongue is to take a balanced diet. Never forget that a balanced diet is a prerequisite for the health of your central nervous system (CNS) as well as your blood circulation system. Ensure that your diet has a healthy mix of substances such as calcium, vitamins (B12 and D) as well as other essential nutrients. If these home approaches to treat numbness do not fetch desired results, you need to seek medical attention without much delay.
In essence, your tongue (including the tip of the tongue) can turn numb due to systemic dysfunction, environmental causes or because of inflammation. Systemic dysfunction includes vascular problems, metabolic causes, CNS related disorders, etc. Environmental causes are mainly imbalances in supply of minerals such as calcium and vitamins like vitamin B12 and vitamin D. Also note that an abundant intake of vitamin B6 can lead to numbness. Inflammation of tongue can be because of bacterial infections, autoimmune disorders and also due to a few allergies. These allergies may be triggered by potentially toxic foods. Numbness is a natural response of your nerves to keep threats at bay.
Numbness of tongue (including the tip of tongue) can be treated with drugs that can enlarge the vessels carrying blood. For numbness of tongue caused by headaches, your physician may administer medications to treat migraine. This condition may also be treated by remedies at home. It is necessary to note down the foods that cause allergies in you; most common foods that may trigger allergies are melons, pears, wheat, nuts or some types of fish.
You are also advised to adhere to a strict workout plan. Routine workouts can help keep disorders like diabetes, overweight, etc. away. Always remember to consume a balanced diet to boost the health of your nerves. If home remedies do not yield desired outcomes, you need to seek needful medical attention.