Vitamin B12 deficiency: Four peculiar symptoms found in your mouth warning of low levels

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Vitamin B12 deficiencies can sometimes cause symptoms so dramatic that one could believe it could be a more serious health condition. B12 deficiencies often go undiagnosed until the symptoms become moderate to severe with symptoms often coming on so slowly that a person may become accustomed to these sensations and not complain until they become severe. Glossitis, recurrent ulcers, burning sensations or pruritus may indicate you are suffering with low B12 levels.


The tongue will be inflamed and swollen, and it might have a “shiny, red surface”, said Medical News Today.

This is because the small bumps on the surface of the tongue shrink in size, thereby leaving a smooth-like surface.

Severe cases of glossitis can be painful, which may affect the way a person talks or eat.

Recurring ulcers

When a person doesn’t receive enough vitamin B12, your body produces abnormally large red blood cells that don’t function correctly.

Vitamin B12 deficiency is often associated with anaemia, and it can cause symptoms that include mouth ulcers.

In most cases, mouth ulcers aren’t a sign of anything serious, but can be very uncomfortable.

However, if present with other symptoms, recurring mouth ulcers could be a symptom of vitamin B12 deficiency.

Burning sensation

According to Medical website LiveStrong, burning mouth syndrome can cause burning sensations in the tongue, lips, gums, palate, throat or entire mouth.

Other symptoms may include dry mouth, increased thirst, sore mouth, taste loss or changes, tingling or numb sensation, explains the health body.

“Symptoms of burning mouth syndrome can come and go intermittently and may worsen as the day progresses,” it adds.


Pruritus relates to itchiness which can be felt on the tongue warning of a vitamin B12 deficiency.

“The tongue suddenly itches from time to time without warning,” said the Thyroid Patient Advocacy.  

“This occurs on the edge of the tongue, along one side or the other or at the tip.

“There is an irresistible urge to scratch the tongue on the teeth to stop the itching.

“Some individuals experience stinging, pain, or tingling instead of itching.”

If a person is not getting enough vitamin B12 from their diet they may be advised by a GP to eat more foods fortified with vitamin B12 or to take regular supplements.

Vitamin B12 injections may also be recommended, and for those with pernicious anaemia, injections may be required for the rest of their lives.

Experts say adults aged 19 to 64 require around 1.5 micrograms (mg) a day of vitamin B12, and unless you have pernicious anaemia, you should be able to get this through your diet.
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