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An itchy roof of the mouth is a common symptom with many causes, including allergies, viral or fungal infections, and colds.
While mild itchiness on your palate (or the roof of your mouth) usually isn’t a reason for alarm, a severe allergic reaction will need immediate medical attention. Understanding the signs of each potential cause can help you decide how to take action.
Treatment for an itchy mouth depends on the cause and the severity. You may be able to relieve itchiness with OTC medications. If not, see a doctor for a prescription.
You can purchase over-the-counter treatments for mild allergies and the common cold at a local drugstore.
Treatment options that can help relieve mouth itchiness include:
You may need to see a doctor for a prescription in some instances, such as with oral thrush. Options include:
You can also try do-it-yourself remedies at home to relieve an itchy palate. These may be less effective, and the effects will last a shorter time.
Common home remedies for an itchy mouth include:
With any illness, taking care of yourself is key to recovery. Get adequate rest, drink plenty of fluids, eat nutritious meals, and follow any directions from your doctor.
Always stop using a home remedy if it worsens or causes new symptoms. Consult with your doctor if you’re uncertain about any at-home treatments.
Generally, an itchy mouth isn’t cause for alarm. However, you should seek emergency medical care if your mouth itches and you have the following symptoms:
Symptoms like these could indicate a severe allergic reaction, which needs immediate treatment. If you have a severe allergy, you may need to always carry an EpiPen with you.
You must schedule an appointment with your doctor if you suspect oral thrush, which can only be treated with a prescription. You should also see a doctor about food allergies, severe infections, or symptoms that don’t resolve within two weeks.
Here are the most common reasons why the roof of your mouth might be itchy:
Allergic reactions from food and hay fever (seasonal allergies) are the most common causes of an itchy palate. Other symptoms can include:
Seasonal allergies don’t usually require medical attention. You can try over-the-counter (OTC) medications for your symptoms, which typically occur yearly.
Food allergies can be more severe and typically occur after eating a meal or a snack. You might experience these symptoms along with an itchy mouth:
If you notice any of these symptoms, seek emergency medical attention. They could indicate anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction that can be life-threatening.
Cold sores are blisters that form in and around the mouth. The herpes simplex virus causes them. They’re not usually a cause for concern, though they can be uncomfortable.
Cold sores can be dormant for a long time. When they flare up, they usually only last for around two weeks.2
If you have a cold sore flare-up, you may notice:
Cold sores typically go away on their own. They have no cure, but specific treatments can help relieve symptoms.
Oral thrush is a common fungal infection that can make the roof of your mouth itch. The Candida fungus causes a yeast infection, which may be contagious.
If you have oral thrush, you may have symptoms like:
Oral thrush is easy to treat with antifungal medications. If you show signs of developing oral thrush, visit your doctor immediately.
Left untreated, a yeast infection can spread to other parts of your body and cause more severe side effects.3
The common cold can produce many symptoms similar to mild allergies, such as:
A cold might be the culprit for your itchy palate, especially if you have the other symptoms listed above. Colds typically last a week or two and go away on their own.
You generally won’t have to seek medical attention for a cold. While you can’t cure a cold, you can take over-the-counter medications to ease your symptoms.
Oral allergy syndrome (OAS) is a contact allergic reaction when eating raw fruits or vegetables. It’s sometimes called pollen food allergy syndrome.
Some people develop OAS when their immune system confuses pollen with the proteins in fruits and vegetables.1 The body reacts to raw fruits or vegetables like it would to pollen.
Symptoms of OAS typically appear immediately after eating, though in rarer cases, symptoms can emerge up to an hour later. They include:
It’s rare for OAS to cause difficulty breathing. However, it’s essential to see a doctor if this occurs. You should also visit a doctor if your symptoms worsen or develop after you eat cooked fruits and vegetables.
There’s currently no treatment for oral allergy syndrome. You can take OTC antihistamines, but the symptoms usually resolve before the medication can take effect.
Some medications used in cancer treatment can cause an itchy mouth as a side effect. These drugs can cause dry mouth or inflammation of the oral mucous membranes, which can result in itchiness.
Cancer medications that cause an itchy mouth include Afinitor, Gilotrif, and Nexavar. Tell your doctor if you develop itchiness after taking any medication, as it could indicate a drug allergy.
In some cases, you may notice bumps on the roof of your mouth in tandem with an itchy sensation. Bumps can be an additional symptom of the following causes of an itchy mouth:
Consult a doctor if the bumps on the roof of your mouth persist for longer than two weeks or worsen.
You may be able to prevent the roof of your mouth from itching, depending on the cause.
Try these tips to prevent an itchy mouth:
The roof of your mouth may be itchy because of seasonal or food allergies, oral allergy syndrome, colds, cold sores, or oral thrush. It’s a common symptom that isn’t usually a cause for concern.
Treatment for an itchy mouth depends on the cause. You can treat some mild allergies with over-the-counter antihistamines.
You can also relieve temporary itchiness with at-home remedies such as saltwater rinses and honey. Other conditions, such as oral thrush, require a prescription.
Seek medical attention if you have symptoms of a severe allergic reaction, such as swelling in the throat and difficulty breathing. If the itchiness persists and occurs with other symptoms, consult a doctor.
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