8 Reasons Why Your Mouth Is Numb:
1) You are not eating enough or you are too hungry.
2) You have been drinking alcohol.
3) You have taken certain drugs such as cough syrup, pain killers, etc.
4) You have had surgery or medical procedures like dental work, cancer treatment, radiation treatments etc.
5) You have been exposed to certain chemicals.
6) You have had a head injury or a brain tumor.
7) There could be other reasons which will be discussed later in the article.
The reason why your mouth feels numb is due to various factors and it depends upon your lifestyle habits, diet, medications and much more. So don’t worry if you think you are having numb tongue for some time now.
You might just be experiencing a temporary condition.
Also Read: How To Get Rid Of Dry Mouth?
What Causes My Lips To Feel Numb?
There are many possible reasons for your lips feeling numb. Some of them include:
1) Alcohol Consumption – Drinking alcohol may cause dry mouth, especially when you drink in large quantities.
Also, it may also cause lip swelling, making your lips feel numb.
2) Taking Certain Medications – Some drugs may also numb your lips or cause dry mouth.
If you are taking any prescription medicines or over-the-counter drugs, then this may be the reason for your condition.
3) Side-effects Of A Disease – Certain health conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, MS and other neurological conditions may also cause numbness in the lips, mouth or tongue.
4) Some Diseases – Conditions such as HIV, AIDS, or any other infection or virus may also cause numbness in the lips, mouth or tongue.
5) Side-effects Of Some Treatments – Chemotherapy and radiation therapy for cancer patients usually causes numbness in the lips and mouth.
6) Vitamin Deficiency – A lack of vitamin B12 and folic acid in the body may also cause numbness in these areas.
7) Injury – Injury to the lips, mouth or tongue may also cause numbness.
This can be caused due to a fall, accident or other reasons.
8) Other – There are other factors such as cracked lips, minor mouth sores, gum disease, teeth grinding and foreign objects in the mouth that may be responsible for causing this condition.
What Does A Numb Tongue Indicate?
As mentioned earlier, when we talk about numb tongue it can be alarming and may require immediate medical attention. A numb tongue may be a sign of something more serious.
If you experience tingling in your tongue and it persists for more than a few days, please seek the opinion of a medical professional. It is best to be on the safe side and get this checked out.
How Long Does A Numb Tongue Last?
Numbness in the tongue can last from a few days to even a few weeks. This condition may disappear as suddenly as it appears or it may fade away slowly over time. In some rare cases however, this numbness can last for months or even years.
What Do I Do If I Have A Numb Tongue?
If you have a numb tongue, it is recommended that you seek medical attention. There may be a slight cause for concern but do not panic and get anxious. However, if you experience severe pain in your tongue, difficulty in swallowing or speaking, please see a doctor immediately.
How Is A Numb Tongue Treated?
Treatments for numbness in the tongue will mainly depend on the cause of this condition and will also vary from person to person. You may be required to do a few tests such as blood tests or neurological tests before your doctor can determine the right treatment for you.
Some of the potential treatments may include:
1) Topical Anesthesia – When an infection or any other condition is causing numbness in your tongue, your doctor may recommend topical anesthetic treatment.
This involves the application of a numbing agent directly onto your tongue, which helps to eliminate the pain and discomfort.
2) Painkillers – If an infection or any other condition such as bite wounds are causing your numbness, then your doctor may recommend painkillers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to help reduce pain and swelling.
3) Antibiotics – If an infection is causing your numbness, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to help clear up the infection.
4) Sedatives or Tranquilizers – If you are suffering from anxiety or stress due to your numb tongue, your doctor may recommend sedatives or tranquilizers to help reduce your anxiety.
5) Laser Treatment – If your numbness is caused by an injury or any medical condition such as a tumor, your doctor may suggest treatment with a laser.
This helps to relieve pain and promote healing.
6) Excision – In case of tumors, if they are malignant or grow rapidly, your doctor may perform an excision procedure to remove the entire growth from your tongue.
7) Radiation Therapy – If the numbness is caused by a medical condition such as cancer, your doctor may treat you with radiation therapy.
This involves the use of high-energy rays to destroy the cancerous cells.
8) Chemotherapy – Chemotherapy is a treatment that uses powerful anti-cancer drugs to destroy the cancerous cells.
Your doctor may recommend this treatment if they detect any signs of cancer during your examination. With this treatment, your doctor will most likely recommend that you take a course of antibiotics to help prevent infections.
9) Surgery – If your doctor detects a tumor, he or she may perform a surgery and remove the entire growth from your tongue.
Your doctor may also make an incision to drain out any pus or infection if required.
In some cases, the cause of numbness in your tongue can never be found. If this is your situation, your doctor may recommend that you undergo a minor surgical procedure.
During this procedure, a small section of your tongue called the fungiform papillae will be removed. The fungiform papillae are responsible for taste sensations and removing them can eliminate your numb tongue problem.
What Are The Risks Associated With Treatments?
The common risks associated with the treatments for numbness in the tongue include increased pain, bleeding, infection and an adverse reaction to the anesthetic. If you are allergic to the numbing medication or develop an allergy to it while it is applied, this can also lead to complications and discomfort.
In very rare cases, some of the surgical procedures such as excision or biopsy may result in reduced sense of taste. This can be a temporary or a permanent condition.
What Are The Tips And Advice For Dealing With A Numb Tongue Problem?
In some cases, the numbness in your tongue may be caused by a minor problem such as dry mouth. In this case, you can easily treat the problem by increasing your water intake and chewing sugarless gum to increase saliva production. You should see an improvement in your condition within a few days. If not, you should consult your doctor as soon as possible.
When you consult your doctor, it is important to tell him or her about all the symptoms that you have been experiencing with your tongue. It is also important for you to tell your doctor if you have been experiencing other symptoms such as weight loss, fever or any other illness.
The earlier you diagnose and treat your condition, the better are your chances of a full recovery.
Sources & references used in this article:
If I look at the mass I will never act: Psychic numbing and genocide by P Slovic – Emotions and risky technologies, 2010 – Springer
Assessing symptom distress in cancer patients: the MD Anderson Symptom Inventory by CS Cleeland, TR Mendoza, XS Wang… – … Journal of the …, 2000 – Wiley Online Library
Comfortably numb: How psychiatry medicated a nation by C Barber – 2008 – books.google.com