Skip to main content

How do you get rid of Adderall tongue?

Medically reviewed by Carmen Pope, BPharm. Last updated on Jan 9, 2023.

Official answer

by Drugs.com

Adderall tongue is a common side effect of Adderall that can detrimentally and seriously affect a person’s quality of life. To help relieve Adderall tongue:

  • Stay well-hydrated. Adderall and other ADHD medications can cause dehydration, so you need to drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of fluid per day
  • Take frequent sips of water rather than drinking a whole glass of water at once
  • Use artificial saliva products (such as sprays or lozenges) – these can help moisten the tissue and last longer than water. There are many different brands of these available over the counter at drug stores and they can be used multiple times a day
  • Chew sugar-free gum or suck on sugar-free candy – these contains xylitol which increases salivary flow and can help prevent dental decay. Avoid sucking candy that contains sugar because this will increase your risk of dental decay
  • Use toothpaste that contains fluoride and talk to your dentist about applying fluoride regularly. This will help strengthen enamel and protect your teeth from bacteria in your mouth
  • Clean your teeth twice a day. Use an interdental brush to get in between the gaps in your teeth. Choose alcohol-free mouthwashes. Apply lip balm to your lips.
  • Use a tongue scrapper if there is a coating on your tongue. Gently scrape your tongue from the back to the front.
  • Avoid spicy or acidic foods because these can irritate the mouth and cause further dryness
  • Limit the amount of caffeine you drink in coffee, tea, soda, and energy beverages
  • Don’t smoke cigarettes, vape, or chew tobacco products
  • Put a humidifier in your room, especially if you are prone to sleeping with your mouth open
  • Try to breathe through your nose instead of your mouth.

People who have a constantly dry mouth, including those with Adderall tongue, are at increased risk of gum disease and dental decay from the lack of saliva in their mouth. Tell your doctor that you are experiencing Adderall tongue and ask them to check your vitamin B12, vitamin D, and calcium levels because sometimes these can also contribute to dry mouth. Your doctor may consider switching you to a different ADHD medication, although most other ADHD treatments will also cause a dry mouth.

Why does Adderall tongue happen?

The amphetamines contained in Adderall cause a dry mouth and tongue mainly through a direct effect in the brain involving alpha-adrenoceptors. They also cause vasoconstriction of blood vessels which results in a shrinkage of the blood vessels in your gums and less saliva production.

Adderall makes you more likely to sweat. Less water in your body equals less water in your mouth.

What is Adderall tongue?

Adderall tongue is the name given to a cluster of symptoms that affect some people who take Adderall regularly. It may also be called Adderall Cottonmouth or Adderall dry mouth. Symptoms can vary from person to person but the most common symptoms include:

  • A very dry mouth and tongue
  • A raw and sore tongue
  • Altered sense of taste
  • Bad breath (halitosis)
  • Burning or painful mouth
  • Dry lips
  • Inflammation and crusting of the corners of the mouth
  • Swelling inside the tongue and mouth
  • Ulcers or sores on the tongue
  • Increased plaque build-up
  • Increased tooth decay
  • Increased sensitivity to hot food, drinks, and sweets
  • A white film over the tongue.

In some people, the following symptoms may also occur:

  • Biting or chewing of the tongue, lips, or inner cheeks
  • Oral ticks, such as tongue thrusting
  • Repetitive tongue and mouth movements, often involuntary
  • Teeth clenching or grinding (this is called bruxism)
  • Tongue sucking.

One case study reported on a person who bit off small portions of their tongue and lips after taking ADHD medications. Animal studies have also reported compulsive self-licking as a common side effect of ADHD medications.

Adderall tongue may occur temporarily, such as when first starting on Adderall or after a dose increase. But for many people, it persists for the entire time they are using Adderall.

Adderall is a combination of amphetamine salts and research has shown that both amphetamines and methylphenidates can cause dry mouth and other mouth and tongue-related symptoms.

References
  • Adderall Tongue: What Is It And How To Get Rid Of It Bedrock Recovery Center https://bedrockrecoverycenter.com/addiction/adderall/side-effects/tongue/
  • Clearbrook Treatment Centers. Adderall and Mouth Side Effects. https://www.clearbrookinc.com/news/effects-on-the-mouth-from-adderall/

Related medical questions

Drug information

Related support groups