What are tongue injuries?

Tongue lesions can form when a person sustains an injury to the tongue. The tongue can be injured in a variety of ways, from benign to malignant, and many people experience tongue injuries at some point in their lives. In cases where injuries require treatment, the patient may need medication or surgery, depending on the nature of the injuries.

One of the most common tongue injuries is a burn caused by eating or drinking substances that are too hot. The tongue heals very quickly, but it may be tender, red, and swollen for several days while the burn heals. Canker sores are another common form of tongue injury, in which a small ulceration develops. These sores can be associated with chronic diseases, and also appear independently. None of these require medical treatment, with rest and minor dietary adjustments usually being enough to manage them during healing.

When patients develop oral infections, this can lead to lesions on the tongue. Antibiotics may be prescribed to treat the infection and resolve the lesions. Lesions can also develop as a result of chronic inflammation and irritation in the mouth, such as might occur if a foreign body becomes embedded in the tongue or cheek. Blood blisters are an example of a lesion that can form as a result of irritation, and the blister usually resolves on its own.

Cancers in the mouth lead to the development of lesions on the tongue as the cancer cells spread and multiply. Patients can also develop lesions in the mouth as a result of radiation therapy for head and neck cancers, with the radiation damaging tissue in the tongue and causing painful sores. People can also develop lesions if they are exposed to allergens. Some people may develop lesions on their lips and mouth if they have allergies to foods such as fresh pineapple.

If someone experiences recurring tongue lesions or lesions that do not seem to heal, it is advisable to visit a doctor. The doctor may examine the patient and perform some diagnostic tests to determine what is causing the lesions on the tongue. This information can be used to make treatment recommendations. Sometimes adjusting the patient's diet and providing some medication is enough to clear up the lesions and allow the tongue to heal completely so they don't recur. In other cases, more aggressive therapies may be needed.

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