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What Causes a Numb Mouth?

Numb Mouth
1 July 2024

Have you ever experienced a strange feeling of numbness in your mouth, lips, or tongue? This can be unsettling, but the best first step is understanding the potential causes before you look for medical attention. Here, we’ll explore the possible reasons behind a numb mouth, including medical conditions, nutritional deficiencies, and more. Let’s get into it.

Common Symptoms and Causes of a Numb Mouth

You can experience a numb mouth in a few different ways, including lip numbness, tongue numbness, or a general loss of sensation in the mouth. Let’s break down some common causes behind a numb mouth:

Nutritional Deficiencies

Vitamin deficiencies, especially vitamin B12, can lead to oral numbness. Low calcium levels or mineral deficiencies can have the same effect. It’s really important to make sure you’re eating a balanced, healthy diet to give your body the nutrition it needs.

Medical Conditions

A few medical conditions could lead to a numb mouth; here’s a look at some of the main culprits:


Strokes can cause sudden numbness in your face and mouth. Other symptoms include confusion, trouble speaking, and weakness on one side of the body. If you’re worried this is the cause of your numbness, seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic condition that affects your central nervous system and can cause nerve damage, leading to a numb tongue or lip numbness.

Diabetes & Cancer

If you live with diabetes, uncontrolled blood sugar or low blood glucose levels can lead to neuropathy, which may result in a numb mouth. And, while the chances are low, oral cancer could also cause a numb tongue. Other symptoms include sores that don’t heal and unexplained oral bleeding. Like with strokes, if you think this could be the cause of your loss of sensation, speak with a doctor as soon as you can.

Blood Flow Issues

Conditions that affect blood flow or blood vessels, such as Raynaud’s Syndrome, can cause numbness and tingling in the mouth, and other parts of the body. In Raynaud’s Syndrome, blood vessels constrict excessively in response to cold or stress, leading to a lower blood supply. This can cause a loss of sensation in your extremities, including your tongue and lips.

Allergic Reactions

Oral allergy syndrome happens when certain raw fruits, vegetables, and nuts cause tingling or numbness in the mouth. This results from a cross-reactivity with pollen. For example, if you’re allergic to birch pollen, you might experience a reaction when eating apples or carrots. The body’s immune system mistakenly identifies certain proteins in these foods as allergens, leading to symptoms like numbness and itching in the mouth. Allergy testing is the best way to find out if this is the cause of your numbness.

Injuries and Trauma

Physical injuries to the face or mouth, especially when from dental procedures, can damage facial nerves and cause temporary numbness. Trauma from accidents, surgeries, or even prolonged pressure on a nerve can lead to a feeling of numbness. Dental treatments like extractions or fillings might occasionally injure nerves, resulting in temporary or, rarely, permanent numbness.

Psychological Factors

Stress and anxiety can lead to dry mouth and numbness. When stressed, the body’s fight-or-flight response can stop saliva production, causing dry mouth. In some cases, anxiety can cause hyperventilation, leading to a decrease in carbon dioxide levels in the blood, which can contribute to numbness or tingling sensations in the mouth and other areas.

Should I Go To a Doctor For Mouth Numbness?

If you regularly experience oral numbness, it is a good idea to seek medical advice from a doctor or dentist. A healthcare provider may recommend blood tests to check for vitamin deficiencies, blood glucose levels, and other underlying issues.

Similarly, if your numb mouth is accompanied by other warning signs, such as difficulty breathing, severe headache, or paralysis, seek immediate medical attention. These could be indicators of a stroke or other serious medical conditions.

If your mouth or facial numbness is the result of a dental issue, our team can help. We’re one of the most trusted private dentists in Leeds and can help you find the root cause, provide a tailored treatment plan and make sure your oral health is in the best shape. Whether it’s the result of a nerve injury or oral infection, we’ll get to the bottom of it. Reach out today for your free consultation.

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