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Sore tongue



Junior member
Nov 24, 2011
Hi everyone. Really could do with a bit of advice ... I've recently (say within the last week) developed a bit of a sore tongue. I thought I had bitten it, as I used to (and may still do) grind my teeth in my sleep. The end tip started off looking like I had either burnt it, or bitten it.

I've taken a picture of it tonight, and zooming into it, it doesn't look too healthy to be honest. Little raised red spots. I have no change in taste, it just feels as though I've burnt it.

Any advice would be amazing ... thanks!

(NB: I am due to see a dentist next week for the first time!)




Jul 25, 2011
Hi globalexplorer. I'm a UK dentist.

It's a bit difficult to tell from the photograph, but I can certainly say that it isn't anything sinister. There are a range of things that it might be:

Trauma (biting, burning, rarely something more exotic like chemical). This is still the most common cause of soreness. You don't seem to have any ulceration, though it may have healed.
Glossitis Which is often related to anaemia or B vitamin deficiency. Your tongue looks does look red and a bit smooth in areas, but not like a classic glossitis.
Geographic tongue This is what your tongue most looks like. Recurring appearance of red, smooth areas on the tongue, which move around- hence the name. It isn't always painful. The cause is unknown but it may have an association with psoriasis. There's no cure but most people can control the symptoms and live with it.

Most dentists aren't too hot on Oral Medicine tbh, but it's appropriate to manage the symptoms and see if it will settle in a couple of weeks whatever it is. If it doesn't then you should get referred to an Oral Medicine specialist for a formal diagnosis. In the UK we recommend managing symptoms of soreness with a painkilling mouthwash (benzyldamine hydrochloride 0.15%- Difflam) +/- a steroid mouthwash (betamethasone 500 micrograms tablets in 15ml water).

You'll be fine- don't worry. Good luck :)