There are many factors that contribute to numbness or tingling in the lips, tongue, or mouth. It is not usually a clinical concern and occurs as a result of stress, anxiety, and migraine. In these cases, the numbness goes away on its own without any intervention.
However, it’s important to watch for other symptoms that may indicate another condition, such as a vitamin or mineral deficiency, or a neurological disease such as a stroke.
You should see a doctor if you often feel numbness in your lips, mouth, or tongue, or if it occurs along with other symptoms. The doctor will evaluate your symptoms to identify an underlying cause and begin treatment if necessary.
The main causes of numb lips, mouth or tongue are:
A food allergy can cause tingling, numbness, or swelling in the mouth, tongue, or lips. It can also cause sores or discomfort in the throat. Some people may also notice skin symptoms such as itching or redness, or gastrointestinal discomfort with abdominal pain, excessive gas, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation.
In cases of food allergy, some people experience difficulty breathing, which can be life-threatening.
What to do: Treatment of food allergy should be started as soon as possible. The type of treatment provided will depend on the severity of symptoms. Generally speaking, acute cases are treated with antihistamines (such as ebastine, loratadine, or cetirizine), corticosteroids, and bronchodilators. In severe cases, anaphylactic shock can occur. This condition requires a subcutaneous injection of adrenaline.
It is also very important to determine which foods trigger the allergy. This can be done by monitoring signs and symptoms or doing allergy testing after consuming certain foods. These foods should be completely excluded from the diet. It is also important to be wary of eating foods that were not prepared by you.
Hypocalcemia is characterized by low calcium levels in the blood. It often does not cause any symptoms, but if levels are low, it can cause symptoms such as muscle spasms, confusion, and numbness in the mouth and hands.
Calcium deficiency can be caused by vitamin D deficiency, hypoparathyroidism, decreased or malabsorption of calcium intake, Kindey’s disease, alcoholism, and certain medications.
What to Do: Treatment for hypocalcemia depends on the cause, severity, and symptoms that occur. Severe hypocalcemia causing symptoms should be treated in hospital with calcium supplementation until symptoms resolve. Mild cases can be treated with increased dietary calcium intake and oral supplements.
The doctor should investigate what triggers this condition and look for a solution. It may require magnesium or vitamin D supplementation or treatment for kidney disease or parathyroid disease.
3.B Complex Vitamin Deficiency
Symptoms often associated with B-complex vitamin deficiency include fatigue, irritability, inflammation, tingling in the mouth or tongue, and headache. This may be due to a reduced intake of these vitamins in the diet, or it may be the result of a drug that blocks their absorption into the system.
What to Do: Treatment of B-Complex vitamin deficiency involves increasing its intake through diet and supplements. Serious deficiencies may require treatment with prescription medications. Learn more about how vitamin B12 deficiency is treated.
Some medications that contain anesthetics, such as mouthwashes, throat lozenges, tooth sprays, or dentist-injected anesthetic can cause general numbness and tingling in the mouth and tongue.
Depending on the type of drug used, these symptoms can last from minutes to hours. These are not cause for concern, as the doctor will usually notify you of this side effect prior to administration.
What to Do: If these products or medications cause extreme discomfort, you should stop using them and replace them with another anesthetic-free product. Usually, mouth numbness caused by anesthetics is temporary and resolves on its own.
Migraines usually cause a very intense headache, but some people also experience tingling in the arms, lips, and tongue, as well as sensitivity to light, nausea, and vomiting. These symptoms may appear before you feel the headache and can last throughout the exacerbation. Learn more about migraine symptoms and how they can occur in different people.
What to Do: Migraine treatment will vary according to the symptoms. Moderate to severe migraines may be treated by a neurologist who may prescribe medications such as anti-inflammatories, triptans, or ergotamine.
6.Stress and Anxiety
Some people who suffer from severe stress or anxiety attacks may notice a slight tingling in the tongue that can cause further anxiety and panic. Other symptoms include constant fear, stomach pain, dizziness, insomnia, dry mouth and muscle tension.
What to Do: People who experience persistent stress or anxiety should see a doctor or psychologist to discuss the best treatment approach. Therapy may include the use of natural remedies or, in more severe cases, anxiolytic medication.
In some cases, the tongue may become numb or tingling as a result of a cerebral vascular accident (CVA) or stroke. In these cases, other symptoms include a severe headache, weakness on one side of the body, difficulty raising an arm or standing up, loss of sensitivity, vision changes, asymmetrical face, confusion, nausea or vomiting. These are signs of reduced blood flow to the brain.
What to Do: If you suspect you have a stroke, call an ambulance or go to the emergency room right away.
Hypoglycemia is characterized by low sugar levels in the blood. It can cause numbness of the tongue and mouth, tremors, weakness, blurred vision and pallor.
What to do: If your blood sugar is low, you should consume at least 15 g of liquid carbohydrates such as a tablespoon of honey. You should then measure your sugar level 15 minutes after consuming the carbs. If your blood sugar stays below 4.0 mmol/L, you should go to the emergency room.
A numb tongue or mouth can be the result of eating very hot food or drinking a hot beverage. It can damage the inner lining of the mouth, causing symptoms such as loss of sensitivity, redness, pain and burning. These symptoms can last for hours or days, depending on the severity of the burn.
What to Do: One way to relieve burn-related symptoms is to eat something cold to soothe the affected areas. Using cough drops or chewing peppermint gum can also help relieve burning or numbness in the tongue. If the burn is severe or you notice blood, you should see a doctor for evaluation and treatment as needed.
Facial paralysis can occur when the facial nerve becomes inflamed. It causes loss of control of the muscles on one side of the face and can cause symptoms such as a distorted mouth, difficulty making facial expressions, and mild numbness on the affected side, which may include the tongue.
What to do: To improve paralysis and facial movements, exercises such as inflating balloons, opening your mouth wide and making different facial movements are recommended. Prescription medications may also be necessary, and more severe cases may require surgery.