Viral Infection of the Tongue

Updated April 17, 2017

Viral infections of the tongue are contagious and are spread easily between people. Such infections are also painful. However, there are treatments for the symptoms of viral infections of the tongue, as well as ways to prevent their occurrence.


According to Medline Plus, there are numerous causes of tongue problems. A dentist can help verify what tongue problem you have. Of these, viral infections are the most difficult to cure.


The three most common types of viral tongue infections are canker sores, glossitis and herpes simplex. According to Medline Plus, canker sores are the most common type of viral infection of the tongue.


Canker sores are red with white centres and are painful to the touch. Glossitis makes your tongue change colour and swell. Also, your tongue's texture becomes smooth, due to the loss of papillae. Herpes simplex, or oral herpes, can cause the development of painful ulcers on your tongue.


There is no cure for viral infections of the tongue. You can relieve canker sore pain with over-the-counter ointments like Orajel. Seek professional treatment for glossitis if your symptoms last more than 10 days.Your dentist can prescribe medications to treat herpes simplex sores.


Avoid intimate contact with those who have viral tongue infections. If you have a viral infection of the tongue, avoid tobacco, coffee, alcohol and spicy foods, as these can irritate your infection. Practice good oral hygiene by brushing your teeth and tongue regularly, as well as flossing your teeth.

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