Did you accidentally bite your tongue? Or scalded it while gulping down a cup of hot coffee? It’s no surprise that you ended up with a painful blister on your tongue. Medically known as epidermolysis bullosa is a blistering disease that may make the condition even worse. (6)
Tongue blisters, also known as tongue zits, are fairly common and not a very serious problem. (7) They tend to heal on their own within a week. But that can seem like forever if it’s turned eating, drinking and even speaking into a painful experience.
- Symptoms and Causes of Tongue Blisters
- Preventing Tongue Blisters
- Home Treatment for Tongue Blisters
- Method 1: Ice
- Method 2: Salt Water (Saline Solution)
- Method 3: Aloe Vera Gel
- Method 4: Vitamin B
- Method 5: Honey and Milk
- Method 6: Barberry Gargle
- Tips for blister relief
Symptoms and Causes of Tongue Blisters
Tongue blisters usually appear as yellow or white bumps on the tongue surrounded by reddish skin. (6) They are fairly common and can occur due to:
- Biting your tongue or grinding your teeth.
- Eating very hot food that scalds the tongue.
- Enlarged papillae, canker sores, mouth ulcers, infections in the mouth, diabetes, anemia or oral cancer.
- A vitamin B deficiency.
- Excessive smoking.
- Use of chemical-based mouthwashes.
Preventing Tongue Blisters
- Avoid eating very hot, spicy or acidic foods.
- Do not drink alcohol or smoke. Both increase the bacteria in your mouth, giving way to infections that can cause blisters.
- Eat foods rich in vitamin B like eggs, cheese, sardines and more. This will prevent tongue blisters due to a vitamin B deficiency.
- Treat or manage any underlying health condition that can lead to tongue blisters.
Home Treatment for Tongue Blisters
Though the blisters tend to heal up on their own, you can use a few home remedies to soothe the inflammation and pain. If the remedies fail to provide relief after a week, it warrants a trip to the doctor.
Read on to learn six home remedies you can use to get rid of tongue blisters.
Method 1: Ice
Applying ice on tongue blisters is the most common and effective remedy for tongue blisters. Ice helps numb the inflamed area temporarily and lessens the pain. It also helps reduce swelling. (5)
Single-Step Treatment: Put ice on the blister
- Hold an ice cube against the blister until the ice melts. You can also suck on the ice cube if that is more convenient.
- Additionally, you can sip on ice water whenever the blister starts hurting.
Applying ice will give you immediate pain relief. To help the blister heal completely, repeat the application 4 or 5 times a day for 2 to 3 days.
Method 2: Salt Water (Saline Solution)
Your mouth hosts a colony of bacteria that can infect a blister and make things worse. Salt water, or saline solution, not only helps reduce the inflammation and pain but also helps disinfect the area. (3)
Step 1. Prepare the saline solution
- Add 1 teaspoon of salt to 1 cup of warm water.
- Stir well until the salt dissolves completely.
Step 2. Gargle with the saline solution
- Gargle with the saline solution for 20 to 30 seconds, then spit it out.
- Repeat until you have used up all of the solution.
- Finish up by rinsing your mouth with warm water.
Repeat 2 or 3 times daily for 2 to 3 days to treat blisters on your tongue.
Method 3: Aloe Vera Gel
Freshly extracted aloe vera gel can help soothe and treat a tongue blister. Aloe vera gel is anti-inflammatory and antibacterial in nature.
It imparts a cooling effect on the inflamed blister and also aids the healing process. (2) For similar reasons, aloe vera gel can also be used to treat sunburns.
Single-Step Treatment: Apply aloe vera gel on the blister
- Gently apply fresh aloe vera gel on the blister.
- Leave it on for 5 minutes, then rinse your mouth with lukewarm water.
Apply aloe vera gel 3 times daily for 3 to 4 days to treat the tongue blister.
Method 4: Vitamin B
Sometimes, a deficiency of vitamin B can lead to blisters on the tongue. Thus, increasing your intake of vitamin B-rich foods can help get rid of tongue blisters and deter their recurrence. (4)
- Eat foods high in vitamin B, such as eggs, cheese, sardines, beef liver, whole grains, bananas, milk, and avocados.
- You can also take 1 tablet of vitamin B-complex every day for 1 week to meet your daily need for vitamin B and help the blister heal. Consult your doctor for continued use of any supplements.
Method 5: Honey and Milk
A concoction of cold milk and honey can help soothe a tongue blister and heal it faster. Cold milk reduces the concentration of natural acids in your mouth, thus reducing irritation around the blister.
Honey lends antibacterial properties and helps retain the moisture in the blister to aid the healing process. (1)
Things you’ll need:
- Cold milk (reduces acid concentration) – 1 cup
- Honey (retains moisture) – 1 tablespoon
Step 1. Mix honey into a glass of milk
- Mix about 1 tablespoon of honey into 1 cup of cold milk.
Step 2. Drink it twice a day
- Consume this drink twice a day to speed up healing of the blister.
This remedy will treat a tongue blister on the tongue within 1 week.
Method 6: Barberry Gargle
Barberry is a powerful herb that has been used medicinally for thousands of years, due to its strong antibiotic properties. It is still used today for mouth ulcers, sore throat, and skin infections. (8)
Barberry can be used to treat a variety of symptoms in its decoction form (medicinal preparation made from a plants berries, roots, &/or ground bark) and added to teas, douche, eyewash, or in this case used as an antiseptic mouthwash.
Single-Step Method: Gargle with barberry decoction
- In a small pan stir in 1 teaspoon of powdered root bark in 2 cups of water, cover and bring to a boil for 15-30 min.
- Allow to cool, transfer to easy to pour bottle &/or food storage container with a cover and keep in cool, dry space.
- Gargle with the Barberry Decoction solution for 30 to 60 seconds, then spit.
Tips for blister relief
- Do not eat crunchy foods while suffering from a tongue blister, as the sharp edges of such foods can scratch the inflamed area and cause more pain and irritation.
- Stop smoking and drinking alcohol. They not only cause tongue blisters but also delay the healing process for existing blisters.
- Hydrogen peroxide can help heal a tongue blister. Dilute 3% hydrogen peroxide with an equal quantity of water. Apply it on the blister for 2 minutes, then rinse your mouth with water. Do this several times a day to disinfect the tongue blister and speed up the healing.
- A baking soda paste made with some water can also help. Apply it as a poultice over the blister for 5 minutes before rinsing it off with water. Do this 3-4 times a day until you get relief.
- Mandal MD, Mandal S. Honey: its medicinal property and antibacterial activity. Asian Pacific journal of tropical biomedicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23569748. Published April 2011.
- Mangaiyarkarasi SP, Manigandan T, Elumalai M, Cholan PK, Kaur RP. Benefits of Aloe vera in dentistry. Journal of pharmacy & bioallied sciences. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4439686/. Published April 2015.
- Petersen BW, Arbuckle HA, Berman S. Effectiveness of salt water baths in the treatment of epidermolysis bullosa. Pediatric Dermatology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25644039. Published 2015.
- Scully C, Shotts R. Mouth ulcers and other causes of orofacial soreness and pain. Western Journal of Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1071433/. Published June 2001.
- Shinozaki K, Capilupi MJ, Saeki K, et al. Low temperature increases capillary blood refill time following mechanical fingertip compression of healthy volunteers: prospective cohort study. Journal of clinical monitoring and computing. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29846867. Published April 2019.
- McGrath JA. Recently Identified Forms of Epidermolysis Bullosa. Annals of Dermatology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4695416/. Published December 2015.
- Tristano AG. A patient with multiple blisters in the skin and mucous ... BMJ Case Reports. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3027770/. Published 2010.
- Neag MA, Mocan A, Echeverría J, et al. Berberine: Botanical Occurrence, Traditional Uses, Extraction Methods, and Relevance in Cardiovascular, Metabolic, Hepatic, and Renal Disorders. Frontiers in pharmacology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6111450/. Published August 21, 2018.