Diseases & Conditions Anatomy Ear, Nose and Throat Pain Management
Home » Oral Health » Bumps On Tongue

Bumps On Tongue

Everyone loves to eat and enjoy the taste of the food he is eating. Unfortunately, bumps on tongue can interfere with your taste buds’ ability to interpret the proper taste of your food, no matter how tasty the food may be. However, the natural bumps on the your tongue do not cause this distortion but when something goes wrong with the bumps, they change in size and cause pain as well as swelling and inability to taste food.

In this post, we shall talk about what those bumps on your tongue are, symptoms, causes of bumps on tongue, treatment, and how to deal with bumps on tongue. Make sure you do not miss anything as you read through this post. Reserve your questions for the end of the post and one of our staff will get in touch with you within 48 hours to address your concerns.

What are those tiny bumps on my tongue?

Picture of small red bumps on tongue

Naturally, the tongue has small bumps called fungiform papillae that cover it on the top and sides. They are usually the same color as the tongue which makes them almost impossible to see. These small bumps contain taste buds and temperature sensors that connect to the nervous system. In addition, they make the tongue rough which makes it easy to roll food in a bolus when eating. If the tongue was smooth, the mouth would be very slippery and food would be swallowed before it is chewed properly.

Sometimes, however, the small bumps swell up and become very painful. While doctors and scientists are unable to explain the exact cause of this swelling, it is attributed to irritation of the papillae by intake of very acidic, sugary or salty foods. It is also known to be caused by splitting of taste buds that are located in the papillae. This condition is commonly referred to as ‘Lie Bumps’, according to a common myth that attributes it to telling lies. The scientific name, however, is transient lingual papillitis.

This condition is very common, with more than half of all people experiencing it at least once in their lifetime. It usually clears in a few days without medication. In other serious cases however, Lie bumps may accompany other more serious body illnesses. These are usually caused by viruses. It may be a sign of an STD such as Herpes or Syphilis.


At this advanced stage, this condition is known as eruptive lingual papillitis. Here are some of the major symptoms:

  • Extremely painful swellings on the tongue that look like pimples
  • Pain, itching or burning sensation on the tongue, when or after eating or drinking. It may also be experienced even when not eating or drinking, and also after throwing up.
  • Circumvallate papillae (red swellings or bumps at the back of the tongue)
  • Sore throat
  • The swelling may also spread to the tonsils, resulting to Tonsillitis.
  • Change in the ability to taste sweet, sour or bitter foods
  • A constant bad taste in the mouth
  • Swollen gums which may make brushing difficult. This, together with pus and other liquids that may ooze from the sores and infected bumps, lead to bad breath.
  • Fever
  • Lymph gland enlargement
  • Excessive saliva production
  • Pain when moving the tongue

Causes of Bumps on tongue

The causes of mild lie bumps are not yet established, but the less painful ‘pimples’ are attributed to irritation of the papillae by extremely spicy, acidic, salty or sugary foods.

The more advanced form, however, is caused by viruses. It is usually contagious and occurs mainly in children and can also be found in a toddler.

Other known causes include:

  • Human Papillomavirus (HPM) – While there is no well-known treatment, the symptoms can be addressed before progressing. Bumps can be removed through surgical procedures and laser treatment.
  • Tongue injuries – These result from activities such as tongue biting or chewing hard things. It may also be a result of brushing roughly.
  • Mouth cancer – This produces lumps on the side of the tongue but occurs very rarely. The sores are usually gray, pink or red, and bleed very easily. Once diagnosed, mouth cancer is treated via chemotherapy, surgery or radiation.
  • Poor mouth hygiene – food particles and bacteria can lead to inflammation of the papillae, which eventually leads to bumps on the tongue.
  • Oral thrush – This is caused by a fungus called candida which is usually present in controlled amounts in the mouth and digestive tract. The population, however, may be altered by certain factors such as antibiotics, hormones and birth control pills. Excess candida may cause a thrush on any part of the body affected. In the mouth, it produces bumps and sores. It is prevalent in children, smokers and women, especially those who use birth control medications and also during pregnancy.
  • Tongue infection – Some tongue piercings can get infected and cause swelling of the papillae.
  • Canker sores – These are red sores that occur all over the mouth but can heal in a few days without treatment.
  • Allergic reaction – In most cases, the whole tongue usually swells. In other cases, it results to bumps all over the tongue. It may also be accompanied by other symptoms such as fever, itching and vomiting.
  • Mental stress and trauma


Bumps on the tongue are treated differently, depending on their cause. Others like Lie Bumps clear in a few days without any treatment. One could also use some home remedies and over-the-counter drugs to fasten the healing process.

If they persist for more than two weeks, it is advisable to seek medical attention. As mentioned earlier, bumps on the tongue could be symptomatic to other underlying body conditions such as mouth cancer or onset of an STD that may be serious in nature, and may require prompt treatment.

Usually, the doctor will take a specimen of the tongue bump and observe it under powerful microscopes in order to identify the cause. He will then prescribe the appropriate medicine, or conduct more tests depending on the result.

Pictures of Bumps on Tongue

List of Images, Photos, Pictures of Bumps on Tongue…

How to deal with Bumps on tongue

Here are a few effective ways of dealing with and preventing tongue bumps:

  • Rinsing the mouth with salt water – rinsing the mouth with a warm mixture of salt and water or baking soda will help relieve the pain and temporarily eliminate the burning sensation as it clears bacteria present on the tongue surface.
  • Gargling – This is most effective if one experiencing a sore throat.
  • Practicing good oral hygiene – One should brush their teeth often and use mouthwash at least once a day. This will remove food particles and bacteria that inflame the papillae.
  • Icing the sore reduces the pain and burning sensation.
  • Healthy eating – One should also avoid foods that are too acidic, spicy, salty and sugary. This minimizes irritation of the papillae
  • One can also take some OTC treatments to minimize the pain, for instance, painkillers.
  • Take a lot of water to avoid dehydration that may be caused by symptoms like vomiting and sweating due to fever.
  • Smoking and intake of alcohol (especially the types with high concentration) should be minimized. They act as irritants to the papillae.
  • Eat soft and cool foods to avoid irritating the papillae. It is also advisable to avoid rough treatment on the tongue by brushing hard, opening bottles and cracking hard nuts with the teeth. These could lead to biting the tongue which later results to bumps.
  • Tongue piercings should be done by professionals with high health standards. This minimizes risks of infection on the healing wounds. Piercings that are already infected should be removed and disinfected accordingly.


Bumps on the tongue are natural and are present in every human being. Lie bumps are common and may clear in a short time without treatment. If they are accompanied by other symptoms such as fever and a change in ability to taste, one should consult a doctor as they may be caused by viruses invading the body. The viruses may cause other serious illnesses such as syphilis, and are usually contagious. They occur mostly in children. The best way to prevent lie bumps and the other advanced conditions is by observing oral hygiene and eating healthy foods that are not too acidic, salty or sugary.

Bumps On Tongue
4.8 (95.19%) 54 votes

Leave a Reply

© 2011-2017 HelloMrDoctor.com. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy
The health information provided on this web site is for educational purposes only and is not to be used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.