Canker sores on the tongue


Aphthae are damage to the lining of the throat, gums, lips, tonsils (tonsils) and tongue. They can occur repeatedly or only once. Viewed from the outside, you can see a milky-yellow point on the affected area, which is surrounded by a reddish border.

The affected area feels uncomfortable, hurts and burns. This feeling increases as soon as the affected area is touched, e.g. B. when eating, drinking or speaking. The strength of the pain varies from person to person, as the pain sensation varies from person to person.

Aphthae on the tongue are more painful because the tongue is constantly exposed to mechanical stress. The most common canker sores appear on the tongue at the edge of the tongue or the tip of the tongue.

The aphthae are divided according to their respective size. The smallest form (Minor form) has a diameter of less than one centimeter. The size of a lens, it heals in two weeks if left untreated. This is also the most common form of canker sore. It occurs in 80-90% of cases.

Furthermore, canker sores can occur with a diameter of up to 3 cm or even larger. this is the Major formthat takes months to heal and leaves a scar.

There is the rare chance that many small canker sores appear on the tongue at the same time; this is known as herpetiform ulcers. The tissue that is directly around the canker sores is not inflamed. However, it is not uncommon for the pain to appear much stronger and larger than the actually affected small tongue. The course of pain varies and can spread from days to weeks to months.

Causes of tongue naphtha

The exact causes that can be held responsible for the development of canker sores are not yet known. However, one assumes various factors that favor the development, as well as a genetic predisposition.

  • It is known that gluten is a possible trigger in people who suffer from gluten intolerance.
  • Furthermore, a deficiency in vitamin B12, iron or folic acid promotes the development of tongue saphtha.
  • A changed hormonal balance is also associated with the development.
    An increased incidence of canker sores is particularly evident during pregnancy, monopause and in connection with the menstrual cycle, which explains why women suffer from canker sores more often than men.
  • There is a possibility that various foods favor the development, including whale nuts and hazelnuts (also as a component of chocolate), citrus fruits, tomatoes, spicy dishes or alcoholic beverages.
  • On average, smokers suffer from canker sores more often than non-smokers. The coatings that build up on the tongue while smoking may be related to this. These promote increased cornification of the epithelium and thus a canker sore on the tongue.
  • People whose immune system is weakened suffer more from canker sores. HIV patients show an increased susceptibility to canker sores, which can be attributed to the fact that HIV patients have a weaker immune system due to the virus.
  • But other systemic diseases such as chronic intestinal diseases, a reduction in white blood cells or Behçet's disease can trigger the canker sores
    Behcet's disease is a multi-system disease that affects the blood vessels.
  • Herpes and flu viruses are also associated with tongue naphtha formation.
  • Nowadays, more and more people suffer from stress or are affected by a mental ailment such as depression. Since this affects the entire organism and weakens it, this should not be ignored as the cause.
  • Incorrectly fitting or neglected dentures, such as a bridge or full denture, which put excessive strain on the surrounding tissue, also promote the formation of canker sores on the tongue.

Accompanying symptoms of canker sores on the tongue

Apart from the burning or stabbing pain that typically occurs when touched, there are a number of other symptoms that trigger canker sores on the tongue.
First, canker sores are noticed by a reddish spot, which changes quickly. This is an initial flat wound, a reddening with involvement of the top layer of skin. Very often a whitish-yellow coating can be seen on the surface, which cannot be wiped off.

It is widely known that canker sores on the tongue usually occur more frequently and repeatedly (recurrent) in some people affected.

With large canker sores, it happens that the lymph nodes enlarge. However, this is not a typical symptom and is more likely to be present when another underlying disease is present. Behcet's disease should be ruled out, especially if there are some non-specific general symptoms such as skin blisters or joint problems. This is a systemic disease of the rheumatic type, which is associated with vascular inflammation. It should definitely be clarified by the doctor in order to keep possible consequences to a minimum.

Tongue saphtha and fever

In addition to pain, itching or burning in the affected area, the symptom of fever also occurs, albeit much less often. This is a systemic disease that should not be dealt with lightly.

If the fever lasts for several days, a doctor must be examined. The underlying diseases can then be considerably more unpleasant. Sometimes it is present in the larger majoraphtha of the tongue. It is associated with a general "feeling sick" and swollen lymph nodes. The healing time is longer than that of the minoraphtha.

Much more common is high fever associated with the Herpetic gingivostomatitis on. This is an infection with the herpes virus, which is associated with many cold sores that look like canker sores on the tongue. A medical examination makes sense due to the risk of infection.

You might also be interested in: Treat herpes properly

Aching canker sores on the tongue

The suddenly appearing canker sores on the tongue can be very painful. This can be very uncomfortable, especially when eating, speaking or swallowing. Some patients even partially refrain from eating during this painful time. But drinking also hurts. Every movement in the mouth becomes torture.

The pain manifests itself in a stinging or burning sensation that often radiates beyond the affected area. The intensity mainly depends on the size and location of the canker sores. The tongue in particular is very painful due to the frequent movement. Less severe pain causes canker sores on the inside of the cheek, as these areas are less mechanically stressed.

The uncomfortable feeling is not there all the time. Most of the time it only occurs during exercise and is most severe within the first 2-5 days. Then the pain will slowly subside again until it should have completely disappeared after 14 days at the latest.

As a rule, you do not notice the formation and the first growth phase, but only notice the canker sores when they are already the size of a pea and are painful. During her healing phase, the sensation of pain steadily diminishes and she begins to shrink.

Naphtha of tongue with earache

Canker sores on the tongue cause almost permanent pain due to constant contact with the cheek, teeth and food. This pain can feel after a while due to the permanent stimuli such as toothache, earache or headache.

The feeling of earache arises from the anatomical proximity of the structures. This can arise because the tongue is sensitive, among other things, through the seventh cranial nerve (Facial nerve) is supplied. This nerve also supplies parts of the ear system. The permanent irritation of the tongue and nerves can also cause earache, since the same nerve is responsible for the sensation of pain. This leads to abnormal sensations due to the overstimulation of the nerves, which lead to painful complaints.

Are canker sores on the tongue an indication of an HIV infection?

Canker sores on the tongue are more common in HIV-positive people.
However, only when the disease has progressed and the immune system has been affected. The body can then no longer adequately defend itself against germs and minor diseases such as tongue naphtha are becoming more common.

In the acute stage, i.e. shortly after infection, canker sores are not a typical symptom. Although it cannot be ruled out that they occur, their presence is not a clear indication of a disease. The HIV infection can definitely only be determined by a test.

You can find more information on the topic here: What are the symptoms of HIV?

Naphtha of tongue during pregnancy

Even if one nowadays rather assumes a genetic predisposition for the development of canker sores, which is also reflected in the fact that they often recur in exactly the same place at irregular intervals, there is also a change in the hormone balance, as it is especially in women during pregnancy or menopause, has been associated with the development.
The affected person often suffers from tongue naphtha even before pregnancy, which can occur more or more severely during this time.

There are no means that prevent the appearance of canker sores on the tongue or actively counteract the development. They disappear on their own after a maximum of two weeks, so that only the pain can be relieved.

During pregnancy, however, you should pay attention to whether the agent, such as local anesthetics, can be used.
Read more on the topic: Medication during pregnancy

In consultation with a dentist or family doctor, a suitable substance can be found, usually on a plant basis, such as rinsing the mouth or dabbing the inflamed area with chamomile tea.

Canker sores under the tongue

In canker sores, the non-keratinized parts of the oral mucosa are affected, especially the lip and cheek mucosa. The front floor of the mouth, the edge of the tongue and the underside of the tongue are less frequently affected. On the underside of the tongue, canker sores are particularly uncomfortable because they are in constant contact with teeth, food or the floor of the mouth and are thus irritated again and again.

It is not uncommon for groups of canker sores to appear on the underside of the tongue, which is why this appearance can easily be confused with that of a herpes virus infection. Due to the similarity, the grouping of canker sores is called herpetiform canker sores, but a virus-related development could be completely ruled out. All virus-specific detection methods gave a negative result in this case, which is why the cause of canker sores under the tongue in general and this particular form has still not been clarified.

With all forms of canker sores under the tongue, the appearance of the sores changes from one phase to the other. In the first phase, a blister forms, which the patient feels under the tongue through friction. However, the bladder stage is only brief until the bladder disappears and an ulcerating retraction occurs, which is reminiscent of a crater. At this stage it may be that the canker sore is not touched because it is no longer curved outwards as a blister, but inwards. In addition, the second phase remains until the tongue naphtha disappears, which can span a period of 2 to 3 weeks.

Aphthae on the tongue in children

Tonguesaphtha can also affect children. These are among the typical hand, mouth and foot diseases in children, which are among the infectious diseases transmitted by a virus.
But other factors, such as diet, infections or oral hygiene, can also cause canker sores. Pressure sores and bite wounds in the mouth, which are particularly common in children, increase the appearance.

Furthermore, especially small children take a lot of things and especially also put her fingers in her mouth. Fever can also occur as a side effect. The children find the strong, burning pain in the mouth very uncomfortable, which is even worse when touched.

As a rule, the healing process is unproblematic except for the pain and the sore throat on the tongue disappears by itself.
A doctor can only be consulted if the child no longer wants to drink because the liquid exacerbates the pain too much. As a parent you can support healing. So no sweet or sour juices should be given as they irritate the inflammation. It is important that the child still drinks enough.
In the pharmacy, funds can be purchased that contain inflammation. Rinsing with sage or chamomile tea can also bring reassurance to the child, although it should not be too hot.

It is also advisable to make sure that the child does not continue to bite their tongue, cheek or lip. A little honey or ice cubes are also popular to relieve the pain in the little ones. If the canker sores appear regularly on the tongue, avoiding certain foods, such as very acidic foods, can prevent the formation of new canker sores, as these foods can promote the development.

Diagnosis of tongue naphtha

The diagnosis of a canker sore on the tongue takes place at the dentist through the patient consultation and the visual assessment (eye diagnosis) of the oral cavity.

If, based on the information provided by the patient, it can be assumed that the canker sores on the tongue are due to another disease, then a determination of the laboratory parameters by means of a blood test appears sensible. Infections that can be caused by viruses or bacteria are also possible triggers for canker sores.
Some fungal infections or autoimmune diseases also resemble canker sores. A swab with a cotton swab, which is then examined microscopically in the laboratory, can rule out fungal infections.

If the canker sore persists on the tongue, a small biopsy should be performed to ensure that it is not a malignant tumor of the tongue. A thorough diagnosis should therefore be made to rule out any serious illness.

Are canker sores on the tongue contagious?

Some types of canker sores resemble a herpes infection in appearance. In contrast, however, they are usually not contagious.
Interpersonal contacts such as kissing, cuddling with the child or drinking from the same glass are easily possible. The canker sores on the tongue can be problematic because of their pain or because you may have to explain yourself to other people. Nevertheless, one should be careful, as it is an inflammation of the oral mucosa and viruses can quickly cause damage there.

The only thing that is contagious is when the tongue saphtha have formed as a result of a herpes infection. Possibly. a doctor should be consulted and the blisters treated with medication. The healing time is about 10 days. Since you are contagious to other people during this time, activities such as kissing should be avoided.

Read on here: How contagious are canker sores?

Therapy of tongue naphtha

There is no direct remedy for canker sores, as the cause has not yet been specifically clarified. In most cases, the canker sores on the tongue heal on their own within two weeks.

Prescribed by a doctor or in a pharmacy, however, remedies can be found that on the one hand facilitate the healing process and make the unpleasant pain more bearable. Most of the preparations are sold as a spray, ointment, liquid, or gel. Most of these contain lidocaine, a local anesthetic that numbs the inflamed area for a short time. Disinfecting the entire oral cavity with a hydrogen peroxide solution can also be useful, but should only be used after consulting a doctor. This treatment has the effect of killing all germs present in the oral cavity.

However, this procedure should not be used too often, as it has an irritating effect on the oral mucosa. Rhubarb roots, silver nitrate solutions and tinctures of myrrh are used as remedies, as is aloe vera. It is particularly easy to apply in gel form. If one assumes a bacterial cause as the pathogen, some medical professionals recommend the use of minocycline or tetracycline. These drugs are prescribed by the doctor in tablet form and usually have to be dissolved in water, with which the oral cavity is then rinsed and the liquid is then spat out again.

An ointment containing triamcinolone will relieve pain and inflammation. A kind of protective blanket is placed over the canker sores of the tongue, which means that it no longer comes into direct contact with other substances and does not cause pain. A change in diet or the avoidance of certain foods such as tomatoes, citrus fruits etc. can be advisable both during the healing process and when fighting a new canker sore.

Furthermore, it is important to ensure a good vitamin balance, since a deficiency in vitamins B and C, as well as zinc, can be involved in the development of canker sores. If there is an incorrectly fitting denture that puts strain on the tongue, only going to the dentist will help, who can correct the error.
At the dentist there is also the option of having the tongue naphtha treated with the help of a laser.

Also, there are no known direct indications to protect yourself against canker sores on the tongue, especially if you suffer from the fact that they occur periodically. Apart from the right diet, sufficient vitamins, the avoidance of stress and good oral hygiene, no prophylactic methods are known so far.

Medicines for canker sores on the tongue

There are many remedies for canker sores on the tongue to buy in pharmacies. The drug Oralmedic is applied directly to the canker sore using an applicator and thus "burns" the blister.
Pyralvex® solution is applied with a brush and helps with healing due to its anti-inflammatory effect.

In addition, there are local pain relievers that numb the canker sores and thus temporarily provide relief, for example Dynexan® oral gel.

These are just a few of the many drugs available. Other mouthwash solutions, sprays, gels and tinctures are available, all of which differ slightly in their composition. There are also homeopathic remedies that promote healing.

Home remedies for tongue naphtha

Mouthwashes with sage or chamomile tea can help with the healing process.

Of course, there are also a number of traditional home remedies that promote healing and in most cases are perfectly adequate. The best practice is to rinse the mouth with a strong chamomile or sage tea, which is repeated several times a day. It has a calming and anti-inflammatory effect. Sage is said to have an antibacterial effect in particular. Alternatively, you can dip a cotton swab into the tea and dab the canker sores with it.

To relieve the pain, honey can also be mixed with a little turmeric and applied to the area. This home remedy is especially popular with children.

Alcohol has a disinfectant effect, but can also be involved in the development of canker sores, so rinsing the oral cavity should be considered with it. Myrrene tincture has an anti-inflammatory effect and is therefore very often used for minor skin injuries. Rhubarb contains tannins that dry out the blisters and then contract them. It also has an anti-inflammatory effect.

Tea tree oil and aloe vera also help for some patients. Everyone has to find the right home remedy for themselves. The most important thing, however, is to maintain good oral hygiene and use mouthwashes regularly.

In addition to these home remedies, homeopathic remedies are often used to treat canker sores on the tongue.

Read more on the topic: Homeopathy for canker sores

Homeopathy for tongue naphtha

In the case of canker sores under or on the tongue, homeopathic remedies can help alleviate symptoms and achieve faster healing, and homeopathy also strengthens the possibly weakened immune system, which is why the canker sore has broken out in the first place.
Since the causes are not completely clear, the therapy is also not uniform and without demonstrable success.

One possibility for self-treatment is the homeopathic preparation Borax®, which is a mixture of several different preparations such as marigold, all of which have positive effects on oral mucosal inflammation. It is important that the dose of the drug is not exceeded in order to avoid possible side effects. If you have any questions, a consultation with the treating dentist can help.

Schüssler salts for the therapy of tongue naphtha

Schüssler salts are very well-known mineral salt preparations from alternative medicine. The effect of these salts is based on the assumption that diseases, in this case canker sores, only arise due to disorders in the mineral balance and can be cured by the homeopathic administration of mineral salts. A direct mode of action has not been proven.

The remedies are taken in tablet form, which is allowed to slowly dissolve in the mouth so that the minerals can be slowly absorbed by the lining of the mouth and tongue. The Schüssler Salt Teaching recommends using Schüssler Salt No. 12 Calcium Sulfurcium (D6) for canker sores. The chemical name for this is calcium sulfate, also called gypsum. In addition to its task of improving rheumatic joint inflammation and osteoarthritis, it also has an effect on purulent processes. 1-3 tablets can be taken 3 to 6 times a day. The highest dose is 1 tablet every 10 minutes. Children should also take 3 times a day, but then only a maximum of 2 tablets.

Should you prick canker sores on the tongue?

In general, it is not advisable to prick a sore throat. By piercing, germs (viruses or bacteria) can get to the inflamed, open area and lead to an even stronger infection. Conventional treatment with gels or mouthwashes should be preferred. This can alleviate symptoms and promote healing.
In addition, oral hygiene should be very good so that there are as few germs as possible in the oral cavity if a blister does burst on its own. This will reduce the risk of inflammation.

Do you want to get rid of painful canker sores in the mouth? Read more at: Aphthae - different options for treatment

How long does it take for a canker sore on the tongue to heal?

The duration of canker sores on the tongue is quite variable and depends on the type of canker sore. The smaller Minoraphten occur in about 85-90% of the cases and reach a diameter of about 2-5 mm. There are often several canker sores in the mouth at the same time. The scarless healing takes about 10-14 days.

The larger majoraphtha on the tongue are much less common in about 10% of cases. As a result of strong growth, the canker sores penetrate deep into the tissue. This delays the healing process and it takes an average of 3-6 weeks until there is complete freedom from symptoms. Usually a scar remains.

The tongue saphtha in the form of cold sores (herpetiform sores) are very rare. Their diameter is only 1-2 mm, but they occur very often (up to 100 pieces at the same time). They heal within 10 days, but unlike normal canker sores, they are contagious.

As part of a systemic disease that affects the whole body, canker sores on the tongue can be present for a long period of time. Then a doctor should clarify the cause and combat it.

Read more on the topic: Duration of canker sores


Canker sores on the tongue are not uncommon and affect at least everyone once in a lifetime. They burden one person more, the other does not notice them at all. The initial phase of canker sores on the tongue usually goes unnoticed, only when it is already the size of a pea and is painful is it noticeable.

In the healing process, this is exactly the opposite. The pain suddenly disappears again and the tongue saphtha becomes smaller. In the event of frequent or permanent occurrence of canker sores on the tongue, a visit to the family doctor is advisable in order to be able to narrow down the possible cause. In general, however, they are harmless and disappear as quickly as they arose.

More on this subject

  • Main article canker sores
  • Are canker sores contagious?
  • Treatment of canker sores
  • Aphthae in the throat
  • These are the causes of canker sores
  • The best home remedies for canker sores