The sensation of a tingling tongue, or paresthesia, can be caused by several different factors; these include burning mouth syndrome, low blood calcium, low levels of parathyroid hormones, vitamin deficiency, facial nerve damage resulting from a dental procedure, multiple sclerosis, or stroke. Tongue numbness or pins-and-needles sensations are telltale signs of paresthesia of the tongue, which results from injury to the body's nerve system. Paresthesia of the tongue is centralized in the tongue but can spread to the rest of the mouth, lips, and jaw.
One of the most common causes of tingling tongue is burning mouth syndrome (BMS). Individuals with BMS have dry mouth, mouth discomfort, and a metal-like taste in the mouth in addition to the feeling of a "burning tongue." The condition has any number of causes, including hormonal factors, diabetes, fungal infection, acid reflux disease, allergies, and anxiety.
Hypocalcemia, or low blood calcium, is a common cause of tingling tongue. When calcium levels in the blood become depleted, one of the most widely experienced symptoms is numb tongue or tingling sensation in the tongue. This condition can be the result of something as simple as a vitamin deficiency or as serious as cirrhosis of the liver.
Hypoparathyroidism occurs when the parathyroid glands do not generate enough hormones for optimum health. These hormones control calcium levels, and a natural result of hypothyroidism is hypocalcemia. A numb or tingling tongue could be a red flag to an individual to have his or her thyroid levels checked.
Another cause of tingling tongue is a vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 aids the nervous system in its healthy operation, and if levels of the vitamin are low, it can throw the nervous system off balance. Given the fact that the tongue is a hotbed of nerve endings, it's often the first place to experience symptoms of a B12 deficiency.
Facial nerve damage can be an unwanted byproduct of various dental procedures. The lingual nerve might become compromised during a root canal or wisdom tooth removal. The lingering effects of novocaine or a novocaine allergy can also cause a tingling tongue.
The most critical causes of tingling tongue are multiple sclerosis (MS) or stroke. In both of these conditions, the nervous system does not function properly and sends warning signals to the rest of the body. One of the places an individual might experience symptoms is in the tongue. Generally, however, in both MS and strokes, additional symptoms are also present. Other MS indicators include weakness in the limbs, vision problems, tremors, and dizziness. Headache, vocal and visual problems, and arm and leg weakness are additional signs of a stroke.