Pain at the tip of the tongue


Tongue tip pain is defined as an uncomfortable sensation in the front third of the tongue. The nature of the pain can vary from a pulsation to a burning sensation. The exact localization of the pain can also be limited selectively to an area of ​​the tip of the tongue or, with certain diseases, even go beyond the tip of the tongue, but have the greatest pain intensity in the front third. In principle, it should be pointed out that pain at the tip of the tongue is often just a symptom of an underlying disease. Thus, they indicate a major health problem if they cannot be explained by specific events precisely by the person concerned.


There are many causes of tip pain in the tongue. Physical influences such as drinks that are too hot or mechanical events such as a bite on your own tongue or a poorly fitting prosthesis can lead to pain.
But diseases that impair the immune reaction can also lead to abnormal sensations on the tongue. It is therefore not uncommon for diabetes mellitus or Sjogren's syndrome to cause pain in the anterior tongue.

Read more about this under

  • How do I recognize diabetes
  • Sjogren's syndrome

They are to be distinguished from reversible deficiency states such as iron deficiency anemia, vitamin deficiencies or folic acid deficiency. These, too, can make typical tongue changes that can also be painful.

Vitamin B12 deficiency

If a vitamin B12 deficiency leads to pain in the tongue, this is called in medical parlance Hunter glossitis designated. It is characterized by a red lacquer tongue on the affected person, which is particularly noticeable at the tip of the tongue due to its intense red color and which causes the affected person to burn the tongue. It is caused by a decrease in the size and volume of the tongue mucous membrane, which in turn is caused by the vitamin B12 deficiency. If the deficiency is recognized as the cause, an artificial supply of vitamin B12 in the form of, for example, depot injections is the treatment of choice and, with timely therapy, leads to a complete disappearance of the symptoms.

Read more about this under Vitamin B12 deficiency

Concomitant symptoms

If pain at the tip of the tongue is caused by a burn caused by drinks that are too hot, the lips, roof of the mouth or gums are often also affected. Typically, there are patch-like injuries to the mucous membrane, which, depending on the degree of scalding, only affects the top layer of the mucous membrane to deeper layers.

If, on the other hand, a poorly fitting prosthesis is the reason for the pain, a blister can usually only be found at one point at the beginning. It is created by the constant friction on the sharp edge and will burst if further irritated. However, the punctual localization on the tongue is characteristic.

If the pain at the tip of the tongue is based on systemic diseases, the accompanying symptoms are derived from the underlying disease. In Sjogren's syndrome, a pronounced dry mouth would be typical. In deficiency states such as anemia due to iron deficiency, weakness and paleness that occur at the same time would point the way.

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Pimples on the tip of the tongue

If pimples are observed on the tip of the tongue, they are usually pustules. In most cases, these are caused by inflammation of the tongue mucous membrane caused by tiny tears in its structure. Inadequate oral hygiene promotes the penetration of pathogens through these tiny cracks and leads to a local inflammatory reaction that manifests itself in the tongue as small blisters. The fact that only the tip of the tongue is affected is often due to the fact that it is the part of the tongue with the most contact surface with food or objects.
If the pustules are all over the tongue, this suggests a generalized infection with viruses. Especially when the palate is also affected, Coxsackie A viruses are suspected to be the cause.

Read more about this under Oral hygiene


If there is pain at the tip of the tongue, the detailed anamnesis provides initial clues as to the cause. It is precisely the description of the pain character of those affected that often allows a first guess. A burning sensation tends to indicate deficiency and a sharp, throbbing pain tends to indicate an injury.

Read more on the topic: Burning at the tip of the train

The subsequent inspection of the tongue then shows whether it is a local occurrence at the tip of the tongue or a phenomenon affecting the entire tongue or even the entire oral cavity. Depending on the optical examination findings, laboratory tests may then follow, which can reveal possible changes in blood values.

Here you get to the main article: Pain in the tongue

Treatment / therapy

The treatment of pain at the tip of the tongue depends on the cause and should be decided on a case-by-case basis. In the case of minor burns, it is usually sufficient to wait carefully and handle food carefully. Drinks or foods with a lot of acid should be avoided and food should be kept at a pleasant to cool temperature.

If a poor fit of a prosthesis is the reason for the pain, it makes sense to have the prosthesis readjusted. A good fit prevents the tongue from rubbing against protruding parts and the tongue will quickly be pain-free again.

If deficiencies cause abnormal sensations at the tip of the tongue, an artificial replacement of the trace elements in the form of tablets or injections should be sought after prior laboratory control. It is important here to repeat the laboratory values ​​at a defined interval in order to check the success of the therapy and, if possible, to initiate long-term therapy. The most challenging is the treatment of diseases that impair the immune system and cause pain at the tip of the tongue as a further symptom. Here the pain usually only recedes after weeks and must be symptomatically alleviated with cooling drinks or anti-inflammatory teas until then.


The duration of pain at the tip of the tongue is very variable. In general, the oral mucosa and thus also the tongue mucosa tend to regenerate very quickly. In plain English, this means that it renews itself within three to five days in a healthy person. So if the cause of the pain is corrected and adequate nutrition is taken to promote wound healing, pain in the tongue should not last longer than a week.

Only deficiencies or systemic illnesses take longer for the abnormal sensations to subside, since the body's own memory cannot be replenished within a few days and drugs need time to develop their full effect. Here the pain can last for a few weeks, but should not increase in intensity.