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Mouth Diseases

Little white blisters on side of tongue

08/26/2008

Question:

every couple of months i get little white blisters on the side of my tongue...they get very sore n makes it difficult to eat the first day they appear...it lasts for 2-3 days n then disapears after using listerene

Answer:

Have you had this condition evaluated by your dentist or primary care physician?

If not, I would strongly advise you to have these lesions looked at while they are actually occurring. This way they can evaluate the clinical aspects of this problem and possibly determine what is going on and how to keep it from occurring.

The time of duration is concerning as 2-3 days is very fast unless you are only describing the "painful" aspects of the lesion. The fact that Listerine has such an impact is also interesting. The alcohol in the mouthwash is very drying and also must be very painful when it comes in contact with the ulceration. And in some situations, it prolongs healing of large ulcers.

Without seeing you and examining the lesion, I could only guess what is occurring. It may be aphthous ulceration or aphthous stomatitis.  This common oral mucosal pathology has multiple etiologies, including trauma, stress, infectious agents, hormonal influences, genetic predisposition, and hematological abnormalities. Generally, the lesions last for 7-10 days and normally do not respond to thymol alcohol based mouthwashes.  (They hurt too much and burn when in contact with ulcerated oral mucosa.)

I would also include allergic stomatitis in my differential diagnosis and would need a detailed history of what preceded the development of the lesions, and then try and rule out certain possible allergens. The reoccurrence of the lesions and the time of duration are relatively fast for most chronic ulcerative oral mucosal lesions and thus should be evaluated to help solve this problem.

Finally, are you inadvertently biting your tongue? As mentioned, trauma may be the cause of this and may resolve in 2-3 days and also respond to mouthwashes.

Hope this helps.

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Response by:

Richard J Jurevic, DDS, PhD Richard J Jurevic, DDS, PhD
Formerly, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences
School of Dental Medicine
Case Western Reserve University