Anxiety can cause tingling or numbness in your tongue as well as other changes in your mouth. You may need to talk with a health professional if you have these signs.
Anxiety may cause you to experience mental, emotional, and physical symptoms. This may include a tingling feeling, numbness, or swelling in your tongue.
Some people with anxiety disorders often experience a tingling sensation on their tongue, commonly referred to as “anxiety tongue” or “stress tongue.”
Anxiety tongue may also involve swelling, muscle spasms, or burning sensations.
Anxiety as an emotional response is linked to your stress response. When you perceive a real or imagined threat, your body activates to respond to said threat. This initiates a series of physiological processes that go from hormone secretion to muscle tension to changes in your blood flow.
These changes can affect your tongue, which is a combination of muscles, nerves, and blood vessels.
As muscles tense, nerves get stimulated, and blood vessels constrict to restrict blood flow, your tongue may start feeling different. This may include a wide range of sensations.
A tingling or numb tongue may be the result of psychogenic oral paresthesia, which is an unpleasant oral sensation caused by a psychological trigger, such as stress or anxiety.
In addition to tingling or numbness, psychogenic oral paresthesia can also lead you to experience a sudden prickling, twitching, swelling, or burning feeling.
Anxiety has also been linked to tongue swelling and scalloped tongue, which is a condition that causes waves or ripples along the sides of the tongue.
Can anxiety make your whole mouth feel different?
Anxiety can affect your tongue as well as your whole mouth. Some possible anxiety-related signs include:
- dry mouth
- metallic taste
- changes in taste
- tooth or gum pain
- burning sensation
- uncontrolled sucking motions
- teeth grinding
Addressing the root cause often leads to symptom relief. Managing your anxiety may help reduce the signs of anxiety tongue and other anxiety-related mouth sensations.
If you think you may have an “anxiety tongue,” it’s highly advisable that you talk with a health professional. They’ll be able to rule out any other possible causes of your tingling, numbness, swelling, or pain.
Anxiety treatment often consists of a combination of psychotherapy and medication. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an effective psychotherapeutic approach for the management of anxiety symptoms and benzodiazepines are often used as anti-anxiety medication.
If anxiety treatment doesn’t relieve the signs of anxiety tongue, consider discussing the problem with a general physician or another health professional.
In sum, consider visiting a health professional if:
- tongue tingling or numbness persists for several days
- tingling or numbness continues after other anxiety symptoms stop
- tingling or numbness starts after starting anxiety medication
- your anxiety medications make your symptoms worse
- anxiety or stress management techniques don’t help ease your symptoms
- you have thoughts of self-harm
Anxiety tongue often refers to the physical effects that anxiety may have on your tongue and mouth. These effects may include tingling, twitching, numbness, burning, or pain in your tongue or mouth.
Treating anxiety may relieve your tongue symptoms. If it doesn’t, consider discussing these with a health professional so they can rule out any other possible causes of your sensations.