Sore Tongue? Poor Nutrition May Be The Cause

18 March 2015
 Categories: Dentist, Blog


A sore tongue can have many different causes, but most of time it heals on its own. Canker sores or an abrasion from braces or a denture can lead to soreness, but if the pain is ongoing, poor nutrition may be to blame. Being deficient in necessary vitamins, like certain B vitamins and iron can lead to a sore tongue. So it is important to recognize vitamin deficiencies symptoms that accompany a sore tongue. 

What Causes Poor Nutrition?

You can suffer from poor nutrition due to malabsorption or eating a diet lacking in important nutrients. If you lack iron, you may have anemia. Generally, poor nutrition and the inability to take in adequate nutrition is due to an underlying disease or medical condition. 


If you suffer from malabsoprtion, your body cannot absorb the nutrients and vitamins you take in, even if you are eating a well-balanced diet. Some conditions that lead to malabsorption include HIV/AIDS, diseases of the intestinal tract, parasites, deficiency in intestinal enzymes. 

If you not absorbing nutrients you may have as sore tongue along with other symptoms. 

  • Diarrhea
  • Weakness
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Weight loss
  • Bad-smelling stools

If you have these symptoms you need to call your family doctor to have tests run and determine the cause of your poor digestion. 

Vitamin B Deficiencies

If you are not taking in enough necessary vitamins or your body is unable to absorb them, you can suffer from deficiencies. The symptoms you experience can vary depending on which vitamins you are lacking. The risk of vitamin deficiencies increase with fad diets, alcohol abuse, intestinal parasites, and the use of certain medications. 

Not getting enough B vitamins can cause uncomfortable symptoms, but vary based on which B vitamin you are lacking.

  • B2 can cause cracked lips, sore tongue and pallor
  • Niacin (B3) can cause poor appetite, fatigue, sore tongue and mouth, vomiting, diarrhea
  • B6 can lead to abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, sore mouth and tongue
  • B12 can cause bleeding gums, sore tongue, depression, poor memory, jaundice, headaches

You may also notice you have mouth ulcers and a red tongue if you not getting enough B vitamins. Vitamin deficiency symptoms are usually curable by finding the underlying cause and with vitamin supplementation. 


If you have anemia, you have insufficient hemoglobin cells, which means a decrease in the amount of blood cells circulating throughout the body. Anemia is usually a symptom of another medical disorder, but can be due to poor nutrition, pregnancy, and heavy menstrual periods.

Sings of anemia include a sore tongue among other symptoms:

  • Fainting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unusual cravings for ice or dirt
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Increased heart rate
  • Tiredness
  • Weakness
  • Paleness

Anemia is curable if your doctor can find the underlying cause and you begin taking iron supplements. 

If you have sore tongue and the discomfort is ongoing, make an appointment with your dentist such as Millcreek Dental Care. He or she can examine your mouth and advise you on whether to see your family doctor.