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There are numerous medical problems which may affect the tongue, but the most common ones include changes in its visual appearance, swelling and painful sensations. The tongue contains numerous muscles and it is covered with a mucous membrane. Papillae are the small bumps which are spread across the surface of the tongue. Taste buds are located between these papillae and they are responsible for providing a sense of taste. The tongue is important for moving the food when swallowing and chewing. The tongue is also very important for the formation of words.

Nerve Damage

A person may experience tongue movement problems due to nerve damage, or a medical condition called ankyloglossia. It may result in speech difficulties and problems during chewing and swelling. One may also experience taste problems, which are commonly caused by various different types of infections, side effects of different medications, nerve problems, damage to the taste buds and various other medical conditions. Tongue may also be enlarged due to rhabdomyoma, amyloidosis, myxedema, acromegaly and the Down syndrome. Its colour may be changed due to inflammatory conditions and geographic tongue.

Black Tongue, Burning Tongue and Tongue Soreness

Black tongue is another medical problem related to the tongue. Pain in the tongue may be associated with leukoplakia, mouth ulcers, oral cancer, diabetic neuropathy, geographic tongue and glossitis. Burning tongue syndrome may be experience by some of the women who have been in menopause. Tongue soreness can be triggered canker sores, heavy smoking, injuries, irritations and different sorts of infections.

Tongue Pain and White/Red Tongue

Causes of tongue pain may include referred pain from the heart, teeth or gums, neuralgia, oral herpes, dentures, cancer and anemia. Tongue tremor can be caused by overactive thyroid and neurological disorders. White tongue can be caused by alcohol, smoking and local irritations. Smooth tongue can be triggered by vitamin B12 deficiency and anemia. Red tongue can be caused by sprue, Plummer-Vinsor syndrome, pernicious anemia, pellagra and vitamin deficiencies.

Tongue Swelling and Hairy Tongue

Tongue swelling can be caused by pituitary gland tumors, strep infections, pernicious anemia, pellagra, neurofibromatosis, lymphangioma, leukemia, infections, hypothyroidism, Down syndrome, congenital micrognathia, cancer of the tongue, Beckwith syndrome, angioedema, amyloidosis, allergic reactions and acromegaly. Hairy tongue can be caused by tobacco use, radiation, overuse of mouthwashes, dyes used in different types of drugs and foods, various chronic medical conditions, drinking too much coffee and AIDS.

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