Having any part of your body suddenly start feeling numb is a pretty terrifying experience. The nervous system is up there at the top of the list of issues you don’t want to have. If you’ve recently experience any sort of tongue parenthesis (the fancy term for a numb tongue or tongue numbness) there are a variety of potential issues you’re dealing with. We’ve got all of the answers below as to what can cause a numb tongue.
If you’re feeling any sort of tongue numbness, you’re dealing with one of three issues. There’s either an issue with the receptors, the nerves, or the brain. Usually in cases where you’re only experiencing one sort of numbness (i.e. your tongue feels numb – nothing else) you’re not likely dealing with an issue of the brain. This is more likely the result of some problem that is occurring with the receptors or the nerves.
The tongue in particular is extremely nerve-dense. It is also specialized in feeling temperature, pressure, texture and pain more sensitively than other surfaces such as the skin.
If you’re feeling any sort of numbness it likely means that your nerves or receptors are being stimulated without any sort of specific stimulus. In addition to having a tingling tongue or a numb tongue you could also feel heat, cold, pressure or even pain for no specific or clear reason.
Various dental surgeries and procedures can result in nerve damage and/or tongue numbness. Dental surgeries such as wisdom tooth extraction, implants, root canal or other procedures often require the use of a local anesthesia. If any local anesthesia was applied (anything that made your mouth, gums or tongue feel numb) it should wear off within several hours.
However, anesthesia is a bit of a tricky procedure. There’s a small chance that long-term or permanent nerve damage can occur.
If you’ve recently had local anesthesia applied the numbness should only last a few hours. If it does not, immediately call the doctor that who performed the surgery. Discuss the situation with him/her.
In addition to local anesthesia, tongue numbness or tongue tingling can be the result of nerve damage. Again, if you’ve recently had some sort of procedure and are experiencing some fort of numbness in the tongue, contact your doctor.
General numbness in any part of the body is also a major warning sign of a stroke. If you’re experiencing more than just tongue numbness (such as arm, face or chest numbness or tingling) you should contact an emergency service immediately. In addition, if the area of numbness grows in any way, you should also contact an emergency service.
There are several toxic substances that if ingested can result in a tingling tongue or tongue numbness. Below are the three most likely toxins you can ingest:
- Ciguatera Toxin: This toxin can be found in certain types of fish and marine life such as barracuda, sea bass and eels.
- Scombroid Toxin: This can ingested by eating fish that was not preserved properly and started decaying
- Fugu Toxin: Fugu is a type of fish that if not prepared properly can be lethal. Only licensed chefs should be preparing Fugu.
Various forms of numbness can be the result of an infection or illness. Infections such as oral herpes, chickenpox and shingles can result in parenthesis of various body parts, including a numb tongue. A mouth specific issue – thrush – can also lead to tongue numbness for some sort of time. Thrush can be identified by white spots on the tongue, gums or mouth. If you’re concerned about having thrush, contact your dentist for an antibacterial cream.
In addition, longer term conditions that result in some form of nerve damage can result in tongue numbness along with other forms of numbness. Issues such as multiple sclerosis will affect the nervous system and can result in nerve damage.
There is the potential that a numb tongue is the result of prescribed medicine or substance abuse. If you’re recently started taking any new medication or have ingested any sort of narcotics recently, this could have caused tingling or numbness in the tongue.
Tingling in the tongue or numbness in the tongue can be the result of vitamin deficiencies. The specific vitamins at fault are usually either iron, zinc or B12. Check to see if you’re regularly consuming foods that have these vitamins in them.
There are several life situations that can cause a deficiency in specific vitamins. For example, reproductive women are much more likely to experience some form of iron deficiency due to the chemical changes happening in your body. If you’re unsure of whether or not this is a risk to you, ask your doctor.
If you suspect that a vitamin deficiency might be the cause, you can purchase individual amounts of iron, zinc and B12 from your local convenience store.
Determining whether or not you’re dealing with a vitamin or mineral deficiency can be difficult. Visiting a doctor will allow you to take a blood test and get a clear result as to why your tongue is numb or tingling.
Numb Tongue Wrap Up
There are a number of different issues that can lead to a numb tongue. We’ve listed the most common causes above but as with anything, if you’re unsure then check with your doctor. Particularly with numbness, the issue lies with your nervous system. This is a problem that you don’t want to go diagnosed. Use your best discretion and don’t be afraid to reach out for help! If you’ve found anything wrong or have any questions, comments or concerns, leave us a comment below or contact us.