Tongue lesions may form when a person suffers an injury to the tongue. The tongue can be injured in a number of different ways, from the benign to the malignant, and many people experience lesions on the tongue at some point during their lives. In cases where the injures require treatment, the patient may need medications or surgery, depending on the nature of the lesions.
One of the most common injuries to the tongue is a burn caused by eating or drinking substances which are too hot. The tongue heals very quickly, but may be tender, red, and swollen for several days while the burn heals. Canker sores are another common form of lesion in which a small ulceration develops. These sores can be associated with chronic diseases, but they also appear independently. Neither of these requires medical treatment, with rest and small dietary adjustments usually being enough to manage them during healing.
When patients develop oral infections, this can result in tongue lesions. Antibiotics may be prescribed to treat the infection and resolve the lesions. Lesions can also develop as a result of chronic inflammation and irritation in the mouth, as might happen if a foreign body becomes embedded in the tongue or cheek. Blood blisters are an example of a lesion which can form as a result of irritation, with the blister usually resolving on its own.
Cancers in the mouth lead to the development of tongue lesions as the cancer cells spread and multiply. Patients can also develop lesions in their mouths as a result of radiotherapy for cancers of the head and neck, with the radiation damaging the tissue on the tongue and causing painful sores. People may also develop lesions if they are exposed to allergens. Some people may develop lesions on the lips and mouth if they have allergies to foods such as fresh pineapple.
If someone experiences recurrent tongue lesions or lesions which do not appear to be healing, it is advisable to visit a doctor. The doctor can examine the patient and run some diagnostic tests to determine what is causing the tongue lesions. This information can be used to make treatment recommendations. Sometimes adjusting the patient's diet and providing some medications is enough to clear up the lesions and allow the tongue to heal fully so that they will not recur. In other cases, more aggressive therapies may be needed.