What are Tongue Blisters?

The presence of tongue blisters could point to many possible conditions, most of which are benign but that isn’t always the case. If you’ve recently developed a spattering of blisters across your tongue then you’re probably wondering what kind of blisters have formed and what caused this condition in the first place. Keep reading to learn about some possible conditions that can cause tongue blisters and how each condition can be treated.

Canker Sores

Canker sores are one of the most common causes of tongue blisters. They are a non-cancerous sore that you might better known as an ulcer. Canker cores look very much like a crater with a white or yellow ring around a bright red center. This is a very painful wound that can be exacerbated by eating acidic, salty, or rough foods. A canker sore can develop on virtually any part of the mouth but are especially likely to develop on the cheeks and tongue.

A canker sore can be a sign that the body’s immune system is under distress, such as battling an infection. It can also develop as the result of injury to the tissues in the mouth. For instance, it is not uncommon for a canker sore to form after biting one’s cheek/tongue or an accidental cut, such as what might occur during dental work. Vitamin deficiencies, especially in vitamin B12, iron, or folic acid, may also cause the formation of canker sores. Although doctors aren’t exactly sure what causes some people to suffer from canker sore outbreaks when illness and injury can be ruled out, studies have shown that hormonal fluctuations, such as those that occur shortly before a woman’s menstrual cycle begins, and even elevated levels of stress seem to have a close impact on the presence of canker sores.

Canker sore treatment usually does not require additional care, as mouth sores like this tend to heal themselves. If the sore is becoming irritated by food or abrasions then it might be worthwhile to use over the counter canker sore medication, typically in the form of a gel, which can go a long way in relieving the sore’s pain.


Mucoceles, better known as mucous cysts, are lip and tongue blisters that are most often seen in children, although this condition can affect individuals of any age. The mucocele looks like a thin layer of skin that has been stretched out into a dome shape and filled with clear fluid. The skin of the affected area is usually transparent, yellow-ish, or sometimes even blue in color. This condition is benign and painless, but it can be a bit of a bother if it is located at the site of a piercing or in an area where the bump is frequently brushed against other tissues, such as on the tongue where the teeth or cheeks may brush against the cyst.

The mucocele can form as the result of drawing tissues between the teeth, such as sucking the lip back between one’s teeth or otherwise drawing on the tissues in the mouth to result in excessive pressure. Other than the aforementioned actions, it isn’t always clear why mucoceles develop, but while they are generally harmless, they do tend to be a nuisance. The cyst will probably pop on its own without any help; if it does so and returns then it may be necessary to have it professionally removed.

Oral Thrush

Oral thrush is a condition that many of us are familiar with—at least by second-hand knowledge. Oral thrush is often seen in bottle-fed infants but it can develop in anyone. Oral thrush in older children and adults is usually the result of poor oral hygiene or undergoing a recent treatment involving antibiotics. Oral thrush is caused by yeast, or fungi, called Candida. Candida is naturally present in the body but its numbers are kept in check by the natural flora and fauna of bacteria in the human body. If the positive bacteria become too low in number or if the body’s conditions are exceedingly ideal for yeast growth, then Candida can begin to thrive too well, resulting in a fungal infection.

Oral thrush has a very characteristic appearance; plainly put, it bears a striking resemblance to cottage cheese. Portions of the tongue may puff up and, due to a yellow or white discoloration to the area, can often be mistaken for blistering. These areas are not actually blisters filled with fluid but are simply fungal-coated patches of skin or taste buds. Fungal infections like this need to be treated with antifungal medication, which can be purchased over the counter or as a prescription. The treatment involves applying a generous coating of (typically) pleasant-tasting gel to the affected areas a few times each day for about 10 days.

Food Allergy

Tongue blisters may also be a sign of a moderate food allergy. It is not uncommon for allergens to trigger blistering due to contact irritation. For those with a food allergy, the individual may suffer blisters on the tongue and cheeks after consuming food that they are allergic to, such as eggs, milk, or peanuts. Food allergies usually produce a number of additional symptoms, such as upset stomach, nausea, bloating/gas, diarrhea, and constipation. Although there isn’t a lot that can be done to treat a minor allergy after the food has been consumed, future discomfort can be prevented by completely avoiding the allergen.