Tongue Sores During Pregnancy - Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

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Some women experience tongue sores during pregnancy. Under normal conditions, tongue sores indicate vitamin deficiencies. But sometimes, they could be due to other benign or serious underlying conditions. Either way, expectant mothers should not neglect tongue sores.

If you have had persistent tongue sores, contact your doctor to know the causes. We bring you some information you need to know about tongue sores when pregnant in this post. Also, we share a few home remedies that may give you some relief.

Causes Of Tongue Sores During Pregnancy

Following are some of the causes for painful sore tongue during pregnancy (1) (2):

  • Stress

Pregnancy being a period of many changes, many women develop ulcers on the tongue in pregnancy during periods of heightened stress.

  • Smoking
Smoking may cause tongue sores during pregnancy

Image: Shutterstock

Excessive smoking can irritate your tongue and make it sore. Quit smoking to avoid the risk of developing tongue sores. Additionally, smoking has other harmful effects on you and on your growing fetus.

  • Biting

If you accidentally bite your tongue or eat something extremely hot, you may develop a tongue sore. Also, if you grind or clench your teeth, it may irritate the sides of the tongue, causing pain.

  • Medical Conditions

If you have certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or anemia, you are likely to develop a tongue sore.

  • Oral Cancer

Consult a doctor if you have a lump or sore on your tongue that persists for more than three weeks. Oral cancer does not show its symptoms in the early stages. Thus, if there is no pain and you still have tongue sores, a check-up is advisable.

  • Viral Infection

Tongue sores can be caused by viral infections such as hand-foot-mouth disease.

  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies

Tongue sores are sometimes caused by the deficiency of certain vitamins or minerals, such as vitamin B12 or folate.

Symptoms Of Tongue Sores During Pregnancy

The following are the symptoms of tongue sores during pregnancy, though they may appear in non-pregnant women as well (2):

  • Bumps on the tongue.
  • Painful sores that are common on or under the tongue, though they can appear anywhere in the mouth.
  • Irregular red patches.
  • White lines on the tongue.

Home Remedies For Tongue Sores During Pregnancy

Gargling can relieve tongue sores

Image: Shutterstock

Here are some of the home remedies for sores on tongue during pregnancy (1) (3):

  • Gargling or rinsing the mouth with warm saltwater
  • Sucking on ice chips may help alleviate pain
  • Keeping yourself hydrated
Quick tip
Alum is an astringent and may help with tongue sores (6). Apply a paste of alum powder and water on the sore, leave for a minute and rinse your mouth thoroughly.

Such home remedies only provide temporary relief. Hence, consult your doctor to avoid further complications.

Treating Tongue Sores During Pregnancy

Following are some of the treatment methods for tongue ulcers during pregnancy (4):

  • Antiseptic mouthwashes to prevent the bacteria from growing
  • Local analgesics in the form of gels or creams for pain relief
  • Protective pastes that cover the ulcer

Only use these medicines after consulting with your doctor to ensure they are safe to be used during pregnancy.

Preventing Tongue Sores During Pregnancy

Maintain oral hygiene

Image: Shutterstock

Following are some of the preventive measures you can take during pregnancy to avoid tongue sores (3):

  • Oral hygiene

The best way to prevent tongue ulcers is to maintain oral hygiene by flossing and brushing daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush.

  • Balanced diet
Quick tip
Applying honey on the sores with a cotton swab, two to three times a day may reduce pain and help heal tongue sores (7).

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How long do sores on the tongue last in pregnancy?

In most women, the sores will heal within 10 to 14 days. However, if the sores do not go away by three weeks, contact your doctor (3).

2. What do you eat with a sore tongue during pregnancy?

If you have a sore tongue, (5)

  • Eat soft food that is easy to chew and swallow
  • Drink soups
  • Eat oatmeals, pancakes, or cereals soaked in milk
  • Try desserts
  • Drink smoothies
  • Avoid spicy or citrus food
  • Stay away from carbonated or caffeinated drinks

Tongue sores are uncommon during pregnancy. While most causes of tongue sores during pregnancy are benign, they may rarely occur due to a more serious underlying health condition. If you notice any bumps, painful sores, irregular red patches, or white lines on your tongue during pregnancy, visit your dentist or gynecologist to have yourself examined. Tongue sores are usually treated with antiseptic mouthwashes, local analgesics, and protective pastes. Maintaining proper oral hygiene, eating a balanced diet, and avoiding harmful habits such as smoking can help prevent this painful condition.

Infographic: What Are The Reasons For Tongue Sores In Pregnant Women?

Tongue sores or canker sores in pregnancy are not uncommon. These small, uncomfortable sores, which can develop on the tongue, gums, or inside of the cheek, can make it difficult to eat, speak, or swallow. The infographic below explores some of the reasons for tongue sores during pregnancy. Read on!

possible causes for tongue sores when pregnant [infographic]
Illustration: MomJunction Design Team


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