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A sore tongue can be an annoying and painful experience that can be caused by a variety of factors, including injury, infection, and nutritional deficiencies.
While there are over-the-counter remedies available, many people prefer to turn to home remedies for relief.
This article will explore some effective home remedies for a sore tongue that you can try at home.
Home Remedies for a Sore Tongue
Here are some tips to manage a sore tongue:
1. Stay hydrated
When you’re having meals, try to have some liquids with them. This will make it easier for you to swallow your food without too much discomfort.
Also, sipping cool drinks in between meals can provide some relief. Think of refreshing beverages such as chilled water or maybe even a nice fruit smoothie. (1)
Note: When you’re sipping your drinks, use a straw. It can help guide the liquid past those pesky painful sores.
2. Drink chamomile tea
Painful ulcerations in your mouth, known as recurrent aphthous stomatitis (RAS), are a common condition that can be quite uncomfortable and can cause a sore tongue.
In recent times, there has been growing interest in herbal remedies, and one such remedy is chamomile. A study found that a chamomile mouth rinse made a difference.
In the study, the group using the chamomile rinse had a significantly reduced number of ulcers compared to the placebo group. The chamomile rinse also helped with the pain and burning sensation.
Based on these findings, a chamomile mouth rinse can be considered as an alternative treatment for a sore tongue. (3)
3. Apply aloe vera
Aloe vera is a pretty amazing plant that’s known for its healing properties. People have been using it for all sorts of ailments, and it turns out it might be helpful for treating a sore tongue too!
Several studies have found that aloe vera is effective in treating different oral conditions such as oral lichen planus, oral submucous fibrosis, and burning mouth syndrome, all of which are causes of a sore tongue. (4)
How to use:
- Purchase a whole aloe vera leaf from a grocery store or plant nursery.
- Wash the aloe vera leaf thoroughly to remove any dirt or impurities.
- Slice the leaf lengthwise to expose the gel inside. Use a spoon or your fingers to scoop out the gel.
- Take a small amount of the aloe vera gel, and apply it directly to your sore tongue.
- Allow the aloe vera gel to sit on your tongue for 5–7 minutes.
- Rinse it off.
4. Use honey
Did you know that honey can help heal a sore tongue? A study was conducted to see the healing effects of honey on oral mucosal ulcers, which are basically open sores in the mouth. The study indicated that honey had a positive effect on healing.
Thus, using honey might help speed up the healing process. Honey has been known for its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help soothe and heal soreness and promote tissue repair. (5)
How to use:
- Apply a small amount of honey directly to the affected area.
- Do this twice a day.
Note: Remember to use pure, natural honey rather than processed honey.
5. Perform oil pulling with coconut oil
Oil pulling is an ancient technique that involves swishing oil in your mouth instead of water. And coconut oil is the most beneficial!
Coconut oil has some special powers that can do wonders for your oral health. When you swish coconut oil in your mouth for 10–15 minutes, it helps kill the nasty bacteria that cause all sorts of problems.
It also helps reduce inflammation and hence may soothe your sore tongue, giving it a chance to heal faster.
Studies have shown that regular coconut oil pulling can make a difference in your oral health. (6)
How to use:
- Take about 1 tablespoon of coconut oil.
- Put the coconut oil in your mouth.
- Swish the oil in your mouth for 10–15 minutes.
- Spit out the oil into a trash can or tissue. Avoid spitting it in the sink as it can clog the pipes.
- Rinse your mouth with water.
- Brush your teeth as usual.
6. Apply glycerin on your ulcers
If your sore tongue is associated with ulceration in the mouth such as in the case of recurrent aphthous ulceration (a common cause of sore tongue), then glycerin might be your friend. Experts say glycerin is a great agent that promotes healing of wounds and ulcers.
According to a study, a mixture of glycerine and Alchemilla vulgaris (lady’s mantle) has shown promising results in treating the most common type of mouth ulcers. The results showed that ulcers disappeared in 2 days in around 60% of the participants, which is very impressive. (7)
Researchers further shared that patients are comfortable applying glycerin because it was easy to use and tasted good. It didn’t cause any big problems either. (7)
So, glycerin might be a good remedy to try.
7. Eat foods that are soft and bland
When your tongue is sore, it’s important to take care of it by choosing the right foods. Here are some simple tips and ideas that can help soothe your sore tongue: (1)
- Choose soft foods to facilitate easy chewing and swallowing, minimizing discomfort.
- Try soft breakfast options such as instant oatmeal, grits, pancakes, waffles, and cold cereal that has been soaked in milk.
- Cold treats can help numb any discomfort and provide refreshing relief.
- Smoothies and yogurt are all gentle options for snacking.
- Serving your foods with delicious gravy, savory broths, or creamy sauces can add moisture and flavor, making them easier to swallow.
- Instead of munching on raw fruits with tough skins that could irritate your tongue, go for soft or canned fruits.
Note: When your tongue is sore, it’s best to prepare foods in ways that make them easier to eat. Cut your food into small, manageable pieces and cook your meals until they become soft and tender. (1)
8. Avoid irritating or hot foods
Watch out for troublesome foods and drinks. Stay away from citrus fruits and juices, salty or spicy foods, and acidic foods such as tomatoes.
It’s best to avoid carbonated drinks and caffeinated beverages. Plus, say no to beer, wine, liquor, or any other type of alcohol for now.
Avoid very hot foods as they can cause discomfort in your mouth and throat. Instead, opt for room-temperature or cold foods that are soothing. (1)
9. Observe proper oral hygiene
Brush your teeth regularly and maintain proper oral care. When brushing your teeth, use a toothbrush with soft bristles. This will be gentler on your tongue and minimize irritation.
Plus, avoid using cigarettes, cigars, and other tobacco products. Tobacco can aggravate the soreness and delay the healing process. (1)
10. Use baking soda mix as a mouthwash
Make a rinse by mixing 1 quart of water with 1 tablespoon of baking soda. Use this mixture to rinse your mouth several times a day. It will help remove food particles and promote healing. (1)
Note: Stay away from mouthwashes that contain alcohol, as alcohol can make a sore mouth even worse. Look for alcohol-free alternatives instead.
What Not to Eat
When you’ve got a sore mouth, throat, or tongue, there are certain foods that you might want to avoid: (1)
- Stay away from spicy dishes such as spaghetti, curry, and chili. They can make your soreness worse.
- Skip those chewy and dry meats, poultry, or fish for now. They can be hard to swallow and irritate your soreness.
- Avoid dry and tough breads such as crackers, crusty bread rolls, English muffins, and bagels.
- Steer clear of citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, and limes, as well as raw vegetables with tough skins.
- Skip pickled fruits and veggies.
- Skip the crunchy snacks such as potato chips, pretzels, popcorn, and chips.
- Hold off on vinegar and spicy condiments such as pepper.
- Avoid tomato juice, caffeinated drinks, carbonated drinks, alcohol, and chocolate desserts.
Most-Asked Questions About a Sore Tongue
What is glossitis?
Glossitis is an inflammation of the tongue that causes pain, swelling, and discoloration.
Can spicy foods cause a sore tongue?
Yes, spicy or acidic foods, if taken in large amounts and for a long period, can irritate the tongue and cause soreness.
Is a sore tongue a sign of cancer?
A sore tongue can be caused by cancer, but other factors can also contribute to it.
How long does a sore tongue last?
The duration of a sore tongue depends on the underlying cause and treatment.
Can medication cause a sore tongue?
Yes, certain medications can cause tongue soreness as a side effect.
Is a sore tongue contagious?
A sore tongue itself is not contagious, but the underlying cause might be.
Is a sore tongue a serious condition?
In most cases, a sore tongue is not serious, but it’s essential to determine the underlying cause.
Can a sore tongue affect speech or eating?
Yes, a sore tongue can make speaking and eating uncomfortable or difficult.
Should I see a doctor for a sore tongue?
If the pain persists or worsens, it’s recommended to see a doctor for a proper diagnosis. Also, if your tongue has white patches, itchiness, or pain that gets worse every day, consult a doctor.
Can a sore tongue be prevented?
Maintaining good oral hygiene and avoiding irritants can help prevent some causes of a sore tongue.
Fortunately, several simple and effective home remedies can help alleviate the discomfort and promote healing.