Causes for Swollen Taste Buds & Tips to Apply

By Hannah |
|5 min read

Taste buds are small sensory organs that resemble papillae and help in detecting different varieties of taste. These tastes might be bitter, sour, sweetness, umami, and salty. The taste buds are mostly found on the upper part of the tongue, upper esophagus, cheeks, and the soft palate. Sensory cells connect these organs to the nerve fibers, and this enables easy transmission of the sensory messages to the brain.

Causes for Swollen Taste Buds

The following things can cause swollen taste buds.

1. Spicy, sore, extremely cold or hot food

Spicy foods contain acids, which can cause irritation and swelling of the tongue. Extremely hot foods can cause burns on the lingual papillae.

2. Alcohol or smoking

These stimulants have a variety of chemicals, which have been known to irritate the taste buds.

3. Vitamin deficiency

According to the National Institute of Health, vitamin B complex and vitamin C are major nutritional constituents that help in the oral cavity. Deficiency in these nutrients can cause swelling of the tongue and inflamed taste buds.

4. Tongue injuries

Cuts and cracks on the tongue are the main injuries that can cause swelling of the taste buds. Tongue injuries can also result from tongue piercings that are not done correctly. The bleeding and inflammations are all causes of swellings of the taste buds.

5. Infections

There are several infections that can cause swelling of the taste buds and they can be mild or severe. For example, according to CDC one of the major causes of mouth and tongue infections is sexually transmitted diseases. An estimated 20 million people are infected with STDs in the USA every year, and this contributes significantly to the number of patients with swollen taste buds. Lupus is another infection that can cause swelling on the tongue. The common cold, flu, and tonsillitis have also been linked to the swelling of the taste buds.

6. Acid reflux

This is a common condition in which some food contents get regurgitated back to the mouth from the stomach. These food substances are acidic and can be too strong for the mouth lining and the taste buds. They mostly cause swelling at the back of the tongue although consistent acid reflux can cause swellings and lesions that are scattered all over the mouth.

7. Mouthwash

These are antiseptic liquid substances that are used to kill germs in the mouth. Despite their important primary objective of keeping the mouth clean and free from infections, it has been known to cause swollen taste bud. In some instances, it can even kill the taste buds.

8. Stress

Mental stress and depression can easily lead to a hormonal imbalance that can, in turn, lead to a suppressed immune system. This is easily magnified by the presence of lesions in the mouth as well as inflammation and swelling of the taste buds on the tongue.

Tips for Treating Swollen Taste Buds

If you have swollen taste buds, there are some tips that can help you reduce the severity of the condition.

1. Home remedies

  • Hold ice chips on the tongue

These are small pieces of ice, and they help to relieve inflammations on the tongue. However, take precaution not to hold the ice in the mouth for too long because it can cause ice burns.

  • Brush teeth twice daily

Proper hygiene is one of the most effective ways to keep infections at bay in the mouth. This can be easily achieved by brushing your teeth two times a day.

  • Gargle with warm salt water

Salty water has antibacterial properties and gargling it helps to clear inflamed taste buds. This practice also helps to get rid of debris and any food substances remaining in the mouth after a meal.

  • Drink plenty of water

It's essential to keep hydrated by taking plenty of water. A dry mouth condition might be an indication of a burning tongue disorder, which requires regular intake of fluids. According to the Mayo Clinic, proper hydration in women can be achieved by drinking eight glasses of water, while in men it can be achieved by drinking ten glasses of water.

  • Avoid pro-inflammatory substances

Some of the greatest culprits in this category are tobacco and alcohol. Healthline outlines excess alcohol as one of the leading causes of inflammations in the body. Reducing the intake of the proinflammatory substances is the best way to avoid inflammation of the taste buds.

  • Get enough vitamins and nutrients

Inflamed taste buds, as afore seen, can be caused by a deficiency of vitamins. A lifestyle change, like high intake of fruits and vegetables, can easily reverse inflammation of the taste buds. Also, any conditions like scurvy should be addressed by a doctor and follow prescriptions as advised.

2. Professional help

  • Take medications

Which way is better to treat a condition other than taking medication? Some of the medications you can consider are antibiotics, antacids, and H2 receptor blockers. Seeking medical care from professionals is a good idea to avoid the wrong medication.

  • Talk to a doctor

The best way to treat a condition is talking to a medical doctor so that you can receive personalized advice on your condition. Some causes of swelling of the taste buds, like in cases of STDs, require to be addressed first before treating the swollen buds.

Wrap Up

A variety of conditions can cause swelling of the taste buds. Some of these conditions include smoking, taking excess alcohol, taking spicy and acidic foods as well as hot or very cold foods. Fortunately, as we have aforementioned, there are various ways you can soothe the painfully swollen buds on your tongue. To get a clear picture of how swollen taste buds look, as well as learn more important information, please check the video below.



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