Causes of a Numb Tongue

The condition of tongue numbness is known as paresthesia of the tongue. Sometimes this sensation will extend to the lips and/or jaw. The most common cause for it is nerve damage. Allergies, brain damage and pregnancy are also common contributors for tongue numbness or tingling. Finally, sometimes burning mouth syndrome and multiple sclerosis cause tongue numbness. Any time people experience this symptom, they should seek advice from a medical provider.

Nerve damage

The term 'paresthesia' refers to any type of tingling or numbness that is the result of nerve damage. Paresthesia can affect any body part, which includes the tongue. Typically the nerve damage that affects the tongue has to do with a mishap during a dental procedure, such as a root canal, tooth extraction or implant. Sometimes people also experience mild tingling or numbness from simple dental issues such as bacterial overgrowth from poor dental hygiene.

Brain trauma or damage

One of the common types of brain damage that may affect the tongue nerves is a stroke. Blunt head trauma can also cause numbness. The brain's nerves have an effect on the entire body, which includes both the face and tongue. Any brain injury that includes nerve damage can result in tongue numbness or tingling.


When people have allergic reactions to any type of food, they can experience tongue numbness or swelling. Additionally, when people have an allergic reaction to or experience a side effect of an antibiotic, a blister or multiple blisters may form on their tongue. People often have numbness and tingling after these blisters occur. Any time you experience a serious or unexpected side effect from a medication, you should consult your health care provider to seek an alternative medication.


Some women experience tongue numbness during their pregnancies. It is not unusual for a woman to develop one or more allergies during pregnancy, which can result in tongue numbness, tingling or swelling. Many women experience some type of numbness in other body parts during pregnancy as well. This can occur for a number of reasons, including water retention and high blood pressure.

Burning mouth syndrome

The cause of burning mouth syndrome is unknown. Many people believe that nutritional deficiency, especially vitamin B-12, or hormonal imbalance can play a role in the development of burning mouth syndrome. The side effects of the syndrome include numbness and burning sensations in the gums, lips and tongue.

Multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is not one of the common causes of tongue numbness, but it can occur on some occasions. Multiple sclerosis is a neurological disorder. It can result in many body parts experiencing numbness, which includes the tongue. This numbness can lead to speaking disorders and can impact a person's ability to gauge food temperature, resulting in a higher chance of burns.

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