What It Really Means When Your Tongue Itches

Your tongue is probably one part of your body you take for granted, but like all body parts, it can experience strange and annoying symptoms that remind you it's there and needs attention. If your tongue has ever felt itchy, there could be numerous causes, ranging from mild to so severe that a doctor should be consulted. However, there are some common ailments and symptoms you can watch for.

When tongues itch, the most common causes include oral thrush, the herpes simplex virus, and allergies, according to Med Health Daily. People can experience an itchy tongue if they come in contact or ingest a food, pollen, medication, or other substance to which they're allergic, according to Healthline. If your tongue itches because of an allergic reaction, your tongue might also feel a burning or tingling sensation, become swollen, or lead to a runny nose. If the sensation lasts longer than 20 minutes, you should seek immediate medical care. Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening allergic reaction that requires immediate treatment.

Itchy tongues are more common than you think

Viral or fungal infections are the next most likely causes of an itchy tongue. Oral thrush is a fungal infection that develops on the tongue, causing white lesions on the tongue or inner cheeks, according to The Mayo Clinic. Sometimes it will spread to other parts of your mouth or the back of your throat. While it can become painful and uncomfortable, oral thrush is not life-threatening. It usually occurs in babies or older adults with weakened immune systems

Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus, and they can be accompanied by other symptoms, including an itchy tongue (per The Mayo Clinic). The virus is contagious and can be spread through kissing, sex, or other close contact with another person. And while there is no cure, symptoms tend to be short-lasting when managed by a doctor. Stress, hormonal changes, and a fever can all trigger the symptoms of the herpes simplex virus so basically, do your research and rule out all your options before you panic.