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What can be spots on your tongue indicate and what to do

December 2019

Spots on your tongue usually appear due to eating too hot or acidic food, irritating the taste buds, or even biting your tongue, which can cause pain and discomfort when talking and chewing, for example. These spots usually disappear spontaneously after a while. However, some spots that can appear on the tongue may also represent a HPV infection or even oral cancer, and should be investigated by your doctor and the most appropriate treatment should be initiated.

What can be spots on your tongue indicate and what to do

The main causes of balls in the tongue are:

1. Inflammation or irritation of the taste buds

Taste buds are small structures on the tongue responsible for taste. However, due to anxiety, eating too much acidic or hot food or smoking, for example, there may be an inflammation or irritation of these papillae, resulting in the appearance of red spots on your tongue, decreased taste and sometimes pain when brushing your teeth.

What to do: If red sots appear on your tongue and represent inflammation or irritation of your taste buds, it is important to go to the doctor to prevent possible infections, and also avoid eating foods that could make this situation worse, such as pineapple, kiwi or coffee. hot, for example.

2. Canker sores

Canker sores are small flat ulcerated spots that can appear anywhere in the mouth, including the tongue, and can cause eating and speaking discomfort. Canker sores can arise due to a variety of situations such as increased mouth pH due to poor digestion, biting on your tongue, stress, dental braces and vitamin deficiency.

What to do: Canker sores usually go away within a few days, but if they are large or do not heal, it is recommended you see your doctor so that the best treatment can be initiated. 

3. Oral thrush

Oral thrush, also known as oral Candidiasis, is a disease caused by increased proliferation of a fungus in the mouth, leading to the formation of whitish plaques and spots in the throat and tongue. This infection is more common in infants due to the fact that their immune system is under developed and poor mouth hygiene after breastfeeding, and in adults with compromised immune systems.

What to do: When you notice the presence of whitish plaques in your mouth, it is important to see your doctor so that treatment can be started, which is usually done with antifungals such as Nystatin or Miconazole. In addition, it is important to perform oral hygiene correctly.

What can be spots on your tongue indicate and what to do

4. HPV

HPV is a sexually transmitted disease whose most common clinical manifestation is the appearance of warts in your genital region. However, HPV infection can lead to the appearance of sores or spots on the side of the tongue, lips and roof of the mouth. The mouth sores may have the same skin tone or red or white color and may be similar to a canker sore. 

What to do: When identifying the first symptoms of HPV, it is important to see your doctor so that treatment can be started, which is done using specific ointments that should be used daily as directed by your doctor.

5. Mouth cancer

One of the symptoms of mouth cancer is the appearance of cold sore-like spots on the tongue that hurt, bleed and grow over time. In addition, red or white spots on the throat, gum or tongue, and small superficial wounds can be observed, which can make it difficult for the person to chew and talk.

What to do: If symptoms do not subside within 15 days, it is important to see a general practitioner or dentist so that they can establish a diagnosis and start treatment, which is done by removing the tumor followed by radio or chemotherapy.

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