We are seldom aware of the enormous work that the tongue does during feeding, speaking and swallowing. For this reason, it may seem a strange and even alarming situation when some alteration arises that makes this organ not sensitive or “is asleep”. It can have different consequences, such as hurting us inadvertently or having difficulty swallowing.
If you want to know why your tongue feels asleep , what are the possible causes and what to do in those cases, then pay attention to this article by FastlyHeal .
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Why does the tongue go to sleep
The tongue is a very complex organ. It is made up of 17 different muscles and receives very complex innervations (that is, the arrival and departure of nerves, to and from the brain). Different nerves participate depending on the function: to feel flavors, to give movement to those muscles and to transmit sensitivity. When the latter is altered, that is, when there is less or no sensitivity , the tongue is said to be “asleep” and there are many reasons why this can happen.
Below are the most common causes of “sleeping tongue.”
Tongue asleep due to anesthesia in dental treatment
If you have been suffering from a numbness of the tongue since you have had a treatment with your dentist, this may be the cause.
If the intervention required anesthesia, usually, not only the area where the professional works is put to sleep, but it can also be extended to the tongue and other nearby areas. Normally, the anesthetic effect usually lasts between 3 to 5 hours , depending on the medication used and if any vasoconstrictor was added (as is usually done).
It may be that after the normal time of duration of the medication has passed, the tongue continues to sleep, other sensations may even appear, such as pricking or burning in the area. If this happens to you, it is best that you go back to the consultation of the professional who treated you, no one better than this person to know what may be happening in your mouth.
Sleepy tongue due to use of oral antiseptics and anesthetics
The tongue may feel numb if the sufferer overuses the use of mouthwashes, antiseptics, and anesthetics. This can generate chronic irritation in the lingual, oral and pharyngeal mucosa, as well as alteration in the bacteria that normally should be in that area (own flora), and if this occurs, it is the entry point for different infections.
The use of mouthwashes is not a healthy habit, unlike tooth and tongue brushing, which help to keep the mouth in good condition.
Tongue numb from contact with irritants
You may have a strange sensation on the tongue, between asleep and sore, pricks and even a burning may appear. Perhaps you have been irritated by some very acidic substance, some medication or have burned during a meal.
One cause that can cause this is gastroesophageal reflux . It would be very rare if you only feel a sensation on the tongue because it is usually accompanied by a burning sensation in the pit of the stomach, a sensation of acid returning to the throat, swallowing discomfort or a sensation of “having something” in the pharynx. However, you can go to your doctor to confirm or rule out this cause. You can also improve reflux with certain measures:
- After eating, you must wait 3 hours to lie down.
- When you go to bed, do it with a slight elevation of the head (it is preferable to raise the bed, do not use pillows).
- Avoid alcohol, tobacco, spices, sauces, soft drinks, cold cuts and processed meats, sugar and refined flour, meats and dairy. (Yes, it is common for dairy to be indicated when there is heartburn, but they do nothing more than perpetuate inflammation and poor digestion.) Try to eat as naturally as possible.
Sleepy tongue after surgery under general anesthesia
The tongue may fall asleep after surgery under general anesthesia, this may be temporary or take a little longer to recover. It can be due to different causes, among them: inflammation of the nerves that receive the sensitivity of the tongue, or it can be due to the fact that the position to be taken during surgery generates a lengthening of the nerve and, therefore, temporarily paralyzes it . It can also be associated with decreased mobility of the tongue or hoarseness if injury to other nerves in the area is associated.
Again, the most important thing is that you refer your feelings to your GP. He can explain what is happening and maybe ask you for some study. Rehabilitation may be required to improve that sensation.
Sleepy tongue due to neurological causes
It is very strange that only the sensitivity of the tongue is affected by a problem of the nerves. The nerves that pick up the sensitivity of the tongue also do so from other areas of the body, therefore, some disease that affects them (such as diabetes, viruses, nerve injuries, among others), generally has many other symptoms, which They will guide the doctor to think about this type of disease.
Therefore, if you have doubts about what problem you have, if your tongue feels asleep and you cannot find the reason, it is best that you consult your trusted doctor, he will surely be able to help you and remove your doubts.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to Why does my tongue feel asleep , we recommend that you enter our Teeth and mouth category .
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.