Do you have blisters on your tongue? What might be the cause? This article contain insights on the causes of water or blood blisters on tongue and the reason why you or your child may experience blisters on different part of the tongue i.e. back, side and tip. You will also learn important tips on how to get rid of the blisters on your tongue.
Blisters on Tongue
Blisters or small bumps that are filled with water or blood and they can erupt on the tongue or any other part of your body. Tongue blisters are painful sores or ulcers that can be yellow or white in color and surrounded by a reddened area. Pain and inflammations can make it difficult to speak, chew or swallow food or drinks.
Tongue blisters or zits can result from a number of things that includes the following:
- Trauma or injury to the tongue
Injuries like accidentally biting tongue with your teeth, grinding the teeth and scalding your tongue can cause red blood blisters to develop on your tongue. Some people have a bad habit of clenching and grinding the teeth, this can result to painful ulcers on the edges of the tongue. You may experience some pain, inflammation or a burning sensation until when it heals.
- Canker sores
Mouth ulcers or cancer sores can develop anywhere in the oral cavities including the tongue, inner surface of the cheeks, roof or floor of the mouth or on the gums. The exact cause of this condition is unknown although it is triggered by heightened stress.
Most of the people will or have experienced canker sores for at least once while others have a regular or chronic breakout that requires medical treatment. Canker sores are very painful especially when they occur on the tongue.
- Oral cancer
Although most of the tongue zits are nothing to worry about, it is important to visit your doctor when having blisters on tongue that are persistence and resistance to some of the home remedy treatments. Oral cancer normally causes painless zits on the sides of the tongue during the initial stages.
This type of cancer will therefore spread to the floor of the mouth, lips and other parts. The chances of survival are high when cancer is diagnosed and treated earlier. However, most of the people who get diagnosed of mouth cancer are normally already in the second primary stage of cancer.
- Burning tongue syndrome
Women who are postmenopausal are at a higher risk of developing this syndrome. It is characterized by inflammation or a burning sensation of the tongue and other parts of the mouth. It may also cause a dry mouth. This condition is also associated with vitamin B-12 deficiency, yeast infections and irritations from dentures.
- Herpetic stomatitis
This is a viral infection that causes zits in the mouth especially on the tongue. It is caused by herpes simplex virus. It is a highly contagious infection that spreads from infected person to the others especially in children.
This infection is normally accompanied with other symptoms like blisters on the oral cavities, drooling, and difficulties in chewing and swallowing food, swollen gums, fever and a burning sensation or inflammation in the mouth. Although it has no treatment, symptoms can be relieved by taking acyclovir and other pain relievers medicine.
- Enlarged papillae
Inflammation or irritation of your taste buds can cause painful blisters on tongue. The exact cause of this condition is unknown but it may be related to stress, hormonal changes, food allergies and other medical conditions. This bumps normally clear on their own without treatment after few days.
- Medical conditions
Tongue blisters can be symptomatic to certain underlying medical conditions like diabetes and anemia. To get rid of this tongue problem, you need to be diagnosed to determine the cause and use the required treatment depending with the underlying condition.
- Smoking tobacco
Smoking tobacco causes inflammation of the taste buds. Dead cells, bacteria and food particles can get trapped in the enlarged papillae to cause an infection that can lead to tongue blisters. Tobacco smoke also contain toxins that can result to red zits on the tip of the tongue.
This are small blister-like lesions that develops on the sides of your tongue. They normally results from the damage of the tube that transfers saliva from salivary glands into the mouth. Therefore, leakage of saliva into mouth tissues instead of the mouth itself leads to development of the blisters.
- Foot-hand and mouth disease
This is a viral infection that commonly affects children although it can also affect adults. This infection causes blisters to develop on the tongue and is later accompanied with fever. The tongue and mouth may develop ulcers while hand and foot may experience a rash.
Although this infection has no treatment, you can manage the symptoms by using good quality mouthwash and painkillers to relieve the pain and other discomforts.
Blisters on Tongue Child, Toddler or in Children
Children are susceptible to various tongue problems since their body immune system is still developing. Blisters on the tongue of your child can be worrisome to any parent. Various infections, medical condition, allergic reactions and injuries that can result to blister on the tongue of your toddler.
Mouth ulcers is the common cause of blisters on baby tongue. The ulcers can result from various causes including injuries from tongue biting. However, your child may be suffering from aphthous ulcers. This is a recurrent ulcer that causes a very painful blisters on the tongue or any other part of the oral cavity.
Mouth ulcers normally heals on its own within a week. However, it is important to take your child to the healthcare provider when it comes again and again or when it is too painful.
Small and painful zits on your baby’s tongue can also result from inflamed papillae. This condition results from injuries to the tongue due hot and spicy food or tongue biting. The inflammations normally heals on its own. However, it is important to avoid feeding your baby spicy, salty or hot foods.
Children can develop small, painless and fluid filled blisters on tongue and other different parts of the mouth including gums, lips and inner cheeks as a result of mucoceles. This are harmless zits that results from sucking mouth tissues with the support of the teeth.
Such blisters normally heals on their own. It is recommended to leave them alone. Opening them can cause an infection that may require a doctor’s treatment.
Allergic reactions may also cause your child to develop sores or swollen tongue and other oral cavities. An allergic reaction can result from foods and when introducing your child to oral care products. Allergic reaction can be accompanied with other symptoms like nausea, fever and skin rash. It is important to take your child to the doctor right away.
Viral infection like hand-foot-and-mouth can cause your child to develop painful blisters on the tongue, mouth cavities or a rash on the hands and feet. This infection is caused by Coxsackie virus.
Although this infection has no treatment, the symptoms can be relieved by giving your child painkillers like acetaminophen and taking a lot of fluids. Avoid giving him or her spicy, hot and salty foods that may worsen the irritation.
Blood Blisters on Tongue
Blood blisters occurs when the blood vessels that are located on the sides or under the tongue gets ruptured. Apart from the tongue, blood blisters can also occur on other parts of the mouth including the sides of cheeks and gums.
Tongue blood blisters are very painful and may cause difficulties in chewing and swallowing food. They can affect anybody regardless of the age or gender. They result from a number of causes that includes the following:
- Tongue injuries
Minor injuries to the tongue that results from eating hard foods, wearing dentures that don’t fit correctly and accidentally biting the tongue can result to blood blisters. Eating spicy and acidic food can also trigger this tongue problem. It is therefore important to such injuries when trying to get rid of such blisters.
- Allergic reactions
Some foods, oral care products and medicines that contain an allergen can trigger an allergic reaction that can lead to blood blisters on different parts of the mouth including the tongue. You may experience this problem after eating citrus fruits, using certain drugs or after using oral care product that contain harsh chemicals.
- Nutritional deficiencies
Low intake or poor absorption of vitamins causes a deficiency that triggers blood blisters on tongue. This problem is commonly experienced due to deficiency of vitamin B-12 vitamin C. Taking supplements or foods that are rich in this vitamins can help to get rid of blood blisters on back of tongue and other parts.
- Oral ulcers
This is also another condition that can lead to blood blisters on oral cavities including the tongue. Oral ulcers can either occurs as canker sores or cold sores. Canker sore is more responsible to blood blisters as compared to cold sore. It can result to bleeding, inflammation and other discomforts.
- Oral herpes
This is a viral infection that is caused by herpes simplex 1 virus. This condition causes blood blisters to develop in all parts of your mouth like inside cheeks, under the tongue, gums and lips. This blisters are usually painful and may be accompanied with other symptoms like muscle pain, fatigue and fever.
- Angina Bullosa Hemorrhagica
This is a condition that normally affects elderly people especially those that are having diabetes, mouth trauma or using steroids. It causes medium sized blood blisters on tongue and other parts of the mouth. The blisters usually breaks quickly to form a wound and heals on its own without treatment.
- Excessive alcohol consumption
Individuals who abuse alcohol are at a higher risk of developing mouth ulcers that can lead to blood blisters on the tongue and other oral cavities. Avoiding alcohol or drinking responsibly can help to get rid of this tongue problem.
- Other causes
Other causes that may lead to tongue blood blisters includes low platelet count, bowel disease, excessive stress, Behcets disease, hormonal changes and neutrophil deficiency. It is important to visit your healthcare provider when experiencing frequent blood blisters on your tongue or on other oral cavities.
Water Blisters on Tongue
Water blisters occurs on the tongue when it has experienced a second-degree burn. This affects the outermost layer and the second. It may appear red and swollen. Eating or drinking hot foods without testing the temperature increases the risk of burning your tongue.
Postmenopausal women are also at risk of developing a burning tongue syndrome. Low estrogen level may cause the taste buds to decline their sensitivity. Burning syndrome normally occurs in two types i.e. primary and secondary.
The cause of primary burning syndrome is unknown while the secondary burning syndrome can result from mouth dehydration, oral thrush, geographic tongue, oral lichen planus, vitamin deficiency, and excessive stress, injury from dentures, allergic reactions, and acid reflux disease, hormonal imbalances and other conditions like diabetes.
The symptoms of a burnt tongue depends with the degree of burning. A first degree normally affects the outermost layer of the tongue. It may cause pain, redness and swelling of the tongue.
Second-degree burning affects the first and second layer. It may result to water blister, redness and swelling. The third-degree burning affects the deeper tissues of the tongue.
Tongue infections can also lead to white or water filled blisters to develop on different parts of your tongue. Staphylococcus bacteria is the main cause of blisters under tongue. Other infection like yeast infection may also result to this tongue problem.
Fever Blisters on Tongue
Fever blisters or cold sores are caused by herpes simplex 1 virus. It is a highly contagious infection that spreads through saliva or skin contact. This infection causes a cluster of tiny blisters to develop on different parts of the mouth like lips and tongue.
After infection, the virus will remain dormant in your nerves and may reactivate again and again to cause a cold sore. This virus are normally reactivated by a cold or fever. Other factors like weak immune system can also cause this virus to reactivate.
There are also other factors that may trigger reactivation of this virus. Some of them includes mental or emotional stress, illness, injury or trauma to the lips and dental surgeries or treatment. Herpes simplex virus 2 normally affects the genital. Other parts of the body like hands and eye can also get affected.
This infection is also characterized with other symptoms that includes headache, fever, vomiting, sore throat and nausea. The blisters may also become too painful making it difficult to chew and swallow foods properly.
Although this infection has no treatment, you can use medicines like acyclovir, famciclovir or Val acyclovir to alleviate the symptoms. However it is also important to have enough rest and take a lot of fluids during the outbreak of this infection.
Blisters on Back of Tongue
Blisters can occur on different part of the tongue including the back of tongue, sides of the tongue, under the tongue or on the surface. Blisters can result from various causes like trauma or injuries, canker sores, oral cancer, burning tongue syndrome, herpetic stomatitis, enlarged papillae or food-hand-and-mouth disease.
It is important to identify the cause of blisters on tongue before finding the treatment. There are various remedies that can help to alleviate the symptoms that are associated with the blisters.
However, it is important to visit your healthcare provide for treatment if the blisters becomes resistance to home remedy treatment or when they cause excessive pain, inflammations or a burning sensation.
How to Get Rid of Blisters on Tongue
Most of the tongue blisters normally heals on their own without treatment within a week. However if you want to speed up the healing process, prevent infections and alleviate pain and other discomforts, there are various treatment that you can use. They include the following:
- Gargle with a saline solution
Saline solution has anti-inflammatory properties that helps to relieve inflammation, burning sensation, pain and other discomforts that are caused by the blisters. In addition, salt has antiseptic properties that helps to fight bacteria and guards against infection. Here is how to prepare:
- Mix 1 tablespoon of sea salt in 1 cup of warm water. Stir it well to mix.
- Gargle the solution into your mouth for 20-30 seconds and spit it out.
- Use a warm water to rinse your mouth thoroughly.
- Repeat this procedure 2-3 times daily until the blisters heals
- Use ice or cold and soft drinks
Using an ice or drinking cold and soft drinks will help to relieve the inflammation and other discomforts that are caused by the tongue blisters. This remedy is also effective for providing a temporal numb on the areas that are affected.
- Place some ice chips on the surface of the tongue and allow them to melt. Alternatively, take regular sips of ice cold water to relieve the inflammations.
- Do not such as the ice chips as it may cause irritation. It is also important not to allow the ice to overstay on the tongue as it may cause burning effects.
- Avoid food, oral products and other habits that increases irritation
There are various foods, drinks, oral care and some habits that can increase irritation or inflammation of blisters on tongue. It is therefore important to avoid foods and products that may trigger or worsen the irritations. Some of the foods, products and habits to avoid includes:
- Spicy and salty foods and beverages that may contain pepper, chili powder or cinnamon.
- Acidic foods and drinks like tomatoes, orange juice, sodas, tea and coffee.
- Refrain from smoking tobacco and alcohol consumption.
- Omit some of the foods that triggers allergic reaction
- Use baking soda
Baking soda is an effective remedy on how to get rid of tongue ulcers. It has anti-inflammatory properties that helps to relieve inflammations and other discomforts. Apart from treating the blisters, it also restores the PH of your mouth. This is how to prepare:
- Mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda with 1 cup of water and stir well.
- Gargle the solution into your mouth for 30 seconds and spit it out.
- Alternatively, you can mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda with few drops of water and apply it on the affected part of the tongue
- Rinse your mouth thoroughly using water
- Use this treatment 2-3 times daily until the blisters heals.
- Rinse your mouth using anti-septic mouthwash
Rising your mouth with a good quality alcohol free antiseptic or anesthetic mouthwash will help to get rid of blisters on tongue within the shortest time possible. It helps to prevent infections by killing the bacteria as well as relieving the pain.
- Ensure that you obtain a mouthwash containing benzydamine or chlorhexidine.
- Swish small amount of the mouthwash into the mouth for 20 seconds and spit it out
- Use the mouthwash for at least 1-2 times a day until when your tongue problem is resolved.
- Rinse your mouth using hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is an effective remedy on how to get rid of tongue canker sores. It contains antibacterial properties that helps to get rid of bacteria and pathogenic micro-organisms that can cause an infection.
- Mix equal quantities of hydrogen peroxide and water
- Use a cotton ball to apply the solution directly on the blisters
- Allow it to penetrate into the blisters for 2 minutes
- Rinse your mouth with water
- Use this remedy 1-2 times daily until when the blisters disappears.
- Use Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera is an effective treatment for a number of conditions including the tongue blisters. It has antibacterial and natural healing properties that helps to kill the bacteria as well as speeding up the healing process. Here is how to use:
- Extract a gel from a fresh aloe Vera leaf
- Apply the gel directly on the blisters
- Leave it for 3-5 minutes before rinsing your mouth with clean water.
- Consult your doctor for treatment
If the blisters are persistence for more than 1 week after using some of the home remedy treatment, it is a high time to make an appointment with your doctor. Some of the blisters are symptomatic to underlying conditions that requires a doctor’s diagnosis and treatment. Visit your doctor when:
- When the blisters are too painful or inflamed.
- If they don’t go away after a week of using home remedy treatment or when they are recurring.
- When the blisters are accompanied with other serious symptoms.
Pictures of Blisters on Tongue
We have included various pictures that will help you to understand how tongue blisters look like. The pictures will also help you to differentiate the different types of tongue blister like water blisters and blood blisters that develops on various oral cavities.
From the pictures, you can see that the blisters can develop on different parts of the tongue including under the tongue, on sides and at the back of the tongue. You can also use the pictures to compare with your condition before taking an appropriate treatment.
More sources and references:
- Tongue problem basics:
- Sore or painful tongue:
- Home remedies for blisters on tongue:
- Mouth problems in infants and children:
- Herpetic stomatitis:
- Oral cancer:
- Painful blisters on the tongue:
- Causes of tongue blisters:
- Oral conditions – young children:
- Blood blisters in mouth: