My Dad has been messing with his tongue for 6 months now because he says he feels like there is a string on it. Any advice?


He plays with his mouth all day. I have taken him to several doctor's and no one has any answers. Based on my research, this may be early signs of dementia. Any advice or guidance would be greatly appreciated.

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Is he on any psych meds? Some antipsychotics can cause involuntary movements and/or swelling of the mouth and tongue as adverse side effects.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to FrazzledMama

This has been going on for a half a year. You've taken him to more than one doctor. You've done the right thing. Good for you! Too bad you haven't gotten medical answers yet.

Apparently this feeling a phantom hair is common enough that a lot of people about it on various online sites. Have you google searched on feeling of string on tongue ? Here is one example result:

None of the sites I glanced at mentioned dementia. Of course dementia can indeed cause false sensations. Does Dad have any other behaviors or symptoms that seem dementia-like? How is his memory? If this is dementia other symptoms will certainly appear. I wouldn't jump to that conclusion yet, since this seems to happen to many folks who don't have dementia.

If you haven't already taken Dad to a dentist, I think that would be a good next step. Read up on this sensation so you'll have some questions for the dentist.

A few years ago when walking I kept feeling my socks bunch up below my toes. I'd stop, unfasten my shoes, pull my socks taut, fasten my shoes -- only to have the bunched sock sensation come back. When I felt this in sandals without any socks on I brought it up to my podiatrist. He knew immediately what it was, and it is not uncommon in diabetes, but I sure had never heard of it. Last week my PCP's assistant went through a checklist of questions, including "do you have a sensation of socks bunched up on the bottom of your feet?" Hmm ... common enough to have it on a checklist. I share this just to point out that having a sensation somewhere that doesn't seem to match the evidence (no socks, no string) is not necessarily a crazy thing! There is probably a good explanation for what your Dad feels ... it just hasn't been examined by someone familiar with it, yet.
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Reply to jeannegibbs

ive never heard of demenia symptom like that.
how old is your dad and how good is his memory?
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Reply to wally003

Have you looked at his tongue to see if there's anything there that looks abnormal?

Any spots? Any sign of an infection, such as thrush? Does he have any eating or swallowing problems? It also occurred to me that he might have cancer in his throat but it manifests with the perception that something's wrong with his tongue.

Has he seen a dentist for this issue?
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Reply to GardenArtist

Wisdom, possibly of a piece of hair got into his mouth?
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Reply to freqflyer