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Lip and Tongue Swelling

By

Bernard J. Hennessy

, DDS, Texas A&M University, College of Dentistry

Last full review/revision May 2020| Content last modified May 2020
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Topic Resources

An allergic reaction Overview of Allergic Reactions Allergic reactions (hypersensitivity reactions) are inappropriate responses of the immune system to a normally harmless substance. Usually, allergies make people sneeze; the eyes water and itch... read more Overview of Allergic Reactions can make the lips swell. The reaction may be caused by sensitivity to certain foods or beverages, drugs, lipstick, or airborne irritants. But frequently, the cause of the swelling remains a mystery.

Treatment depends on the cause. When a cause can be identified and then eliminated, the lips usually return to normal. A corticosteroid ointment is sometimes used to reduce swelling caused by an allergic reaction. Occasionally, excess lip tissue may be removed surgically to improve appearance.

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Test your knowledge

Lip Sores, Lip Inflammation, and other Changes
The lips undergo changes with aging, as do all parts of the body. Some changes may indicate a medical issue; others are harmless. As people age, the lips tend to become thinner. Deficiencies of certain vitamins and minerals can lead to inflammation of the lips (cheilitis), causing them to become red, cracked, painful, swollen, and/or scaly. Deficiency of which of the following vitamins or minerals can cause these symptoms? 
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