Acid reflux refers to the backflow of stomach acid/bile/food from the stomach into the esophagus through a weak spot or tears in the wall that separates these organs. It is primarily caused by decreased lower esophageal sphincter pressure and usually improves with medications such as H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors. After-effects can be further aggravated if heartburn is a common symptom of patients suffering from gastric reflux. But the main question here is can stomach acid burn your tongue.
How does acid reflux affect the tongue?
Acid reflux patients’ tongues can be affected in a variety of ways.
Damage to the tongue due to heartburn; Stomach acid is highly corrosive. In most cases, however, the esophagus can neutralize this substance thanks to its alkalinity. Unfortunately, poor diet, smoking, and obesity can cause stomach acid imbalances, leading to heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease. Heartburn cause severe damage to the tongue and results in a long-lasting burning sensation on the tongue.
White spots on the tongue; White spots are not exclusive to acid reflux sufferers and can be caused by a variety of factors. Smoking and poor dental hygiene are responsible for most cases of white tongue, but the condition also associates with gastric reflux. The main symptom of those suffering from white patches on the tongue is a feeling of dryness in the mouth, which seems to be unrelated to how much water a person drinks.
Uvulitis; It’s cause is usually voice abuse. Excessive use of the tongue and associated muscles can cause damage to the soft tissue of this part of the mouth, which can lead to ulceration and bleeding. The redness caused by uvulitis often leads to white patches on the tongue due to an area of poorly regenerated tissue.
Tonsillitis; It is a common condition that results from swelling and inflammation of the tonsils, two glands located at the back of the throat. Tonsillitis causes can be a variety of factors, including overuse of the voice, poor hygiene, and even acid reflux.
How can we treat it?
Treatment of acid reflux on the tongue can be done in different ways.
Avoiding tobacco and alcohol; Both nicotine and alcohol consumption can cause or contribute to several oral and dental health problems, including white patches on the tongue, dry mouth, and bad breath. Smoking is known to increase the production of stomach acid, while alcohol acts as a diuretic, leading to dehydration.
Diet adjustment; Poor eating habits such as poor nutrition and high caffeine consumption can lead to acid reflux, white patches on the tongue, frequent dry mouth, and halitosis. Acid reflux sufferers should avoid highly acidic foods such as oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and pineapples.
Proper dental hygiene; A good oral hygiene routine is essential for acid reflux sufferers who suffer from white patches on the tongue. Brushing your tongue and flossing at least twice a day can prevent the buildup of bacteria and food that leads to white spots on your tongue.
Medicines; Many acid reflux patients must take medications such as H2 blockers or proton pump inhibitors to treat their condition.
Medicines for uvulitis and tonsillitis; can treat and even prevent white spots on the tongue caused by acid reflux. An ENT doctor may recommend antibacterial or antiviral medications to help treat white spots on the tongue due to uvulitis or tonsillitis. Acid reflux doctors can treat heartburn with treatment, and white spots on the tongue are all common conditions experienced by those who suffer from acid reflux. Information about acid reflux can help patients understand their disease and treatment options.
Can acid burn your tongue and when should you contact your doctor?
Anyone who notices persistent changes to the surface of their tongue should talk to a doctor. It can cause many things, from minor conditions to more serious ones.
Immediate consultation with a doctor will allow them to rule out serious conditions, make a diagnosis and recommend treatment.
In rare cases, changes on the surface of the tongue can be symptoms of tongue cancer. Symptoms may include:
- a red or white spot on the tongue that won’t go away
- unexplained bleeding on the tongue
- numbness in the mouth
- pain when swallowing
- persistent sore throat
Tell your doctor about these symptoms, especially if they don’t help with GERD treatment.
Can stomach acid burn your tongue?
Occasional stomach acid burn typically won’t change the appearance of the tongue, but it can if people have frequent acid reflux or GERD. People may experience soreness, redness, swelling, inflammation, or changes in smell or taste.
Treating GERD with medication or lifestyle changes can reduce symptoms. However, it should also be noted that language changes can occur for other reasons. It is important to talk to your doctor about tongue changes so they can confirm the cause.