Tongue Bumps

Bumps on the Tongue: Causes, Picture, Symptoms and Treatment

The tongue is a soft organ without any bone. Its upper surface contains taste buds which help human to recognize a particular taste such as salty, spicy, sweet, bitter, sour, savory.

A simple kind of bump occurs on the tongue due to various health conditions such as infection, injuries, and allergies.

The tongue has small bumps which describe as fungiform papillae. These bumps rise on the top and sides of the tongue. They appear similar as the tongue color. These bumps are unable to detect in normal time. Because of these bumps tongue gets a rough texture which helps to eat food. The fungiform papillae comprise a temperature sensor and taste buds.

If papillae look larger like a bump, then it could be a sign of health problem. These bumps are harmless, but it may get you a strange sense and reason for concern. You should consult a doctor if it speared or the specific part becomes senseless.

You may doubt, is it a sign of cancer but oral cancer is rare and different.

In 2018, 50, 000 individuals have diagnosed these type of cancer, as stated by the American Cancer Society.

We will know about the possible cause and symptoms which relates to tongue bumps. I will provide details of diagnosis and treatment. Keep reading.

Types of Tongue Bumps

Oral Thrush

It relates to yeast infection which occurs due to the candida Sp strains. Usually, this condition occurs in infants and aged people. But it can also affect individuals who are consuming steroids.

Usually, people find white bumps on the inner side of the tongue and inner cheeks. In some cases, if tongue bumps are irritated there is the possibility of blood leakage. Oral thrush makes it difficult for the person to swallow food. It cracks the skin around mouth corners.


It is a medical condition which causes excessive cells growth in the mouth. It can be a presence of foreign bodies, which irritate tongue senses or the white patches shows sign of cancer.

Leukoplakia grows around the gums beneath the tongue and in inner cheeks. Research has not found the exact reason for this condition, but tobacco and smoking are foremost causes.

If you experience hairy leukoplakia, then it may associate with AIDS and various health condition related to the immune system.

Oral Fibroma

Oral fibroma is a type of tongue bump which can identify as scars like reaction and an irritating sensation in the mouth. Normally this ailment is prevalent if you keep rubbing a rough tooth and biting lips.

Oral fibroma occurs in inner cheeks where upper and lower teeth meet. It has the only appearance without other signs. These bumps have size up to 1 centimeter in diameter after growing for weeks and months.

Lymphoepithelial Cysts

Lymphoepithelial Cysts also defines as a branchial cyst which is harmless. In this condition, bumps occur in the form of unilocular or multilocular bumps. Some appear like a cyst, which contains yellow non-viscous fluid.

These kinds of cysts are noticeable in people with sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS. These commonly occur in people who have an age range between 30 and 68 years. There is a possibility to feel the pain in a cyst when you eat something hard.

Canker Sores

Canker sores are the painful bumps which occur in the mouth especially under the tongue. These bumps seem red, which are not infectious. Canker sores disappear in 10 days. Normally the pain occurs around cheeks and lips.

It is very easy to diagnose canker tongue bumps as it has a tingling sensation. The bump appears as an oval shape in red or yellow color. If the lymph gets swollen, the affected person may get a fever and severe condition.

Lie Bumps

The swelling of papillae on tongue identifies as lie bumps. Tongue papillae are infectious and commonly occur in children.

However, an expert has not found the exact cause of lie bump, but these relate to hormonal imbalance, stress, and certain food allergy. It may disappear with a home remedy, but it may reoccur after some time.

Squamous Papilloma

It is a wart growth in the mouth. It occurs because of human papillomavirus infection. This virus affects the skin as well as mouth and throat. You can notice a single lesion which appears irritated due to its size. The projection of the lesion appears long and point toward the end due to keratin build up.

Lesion with less keratin looks similar like raspberry as its color appear red or pink.

Scarlet Fever

It’s another name is strawberry tongue. In scarlet fever, the tongue appears red and swollen. The beta-hemolytic streptococcus and bacterium Streptococcus pyogenes are the foremost cause of the tongue infection. It causes to burn the area around the mouth and create difficulty to swallow the food.

The affected area becomes red only when the white layers grow on the tongue and get removed after some time.


It refers to the soreness of tongue which occurs back of reddish surface. When lingual papillae decline, the tongue resembles shiny and smooth. There will be swelling in the tongue which makes painful to chew anything and speak.

Glossitis occurs due to the following reasons.

  • Vitamin B deficiency
  • Bacterial Infection
  • Fungal Infection
  • Anemia

The affected person has to tolerate syphilis because of Glossitis and decay of lingual papillae.

Causes of Tongue bumps

Tongue bumps occur due to different health conditions. The bumps on the tongue may occur due to the following causes.

Tongue injuries

Often people bite their tongue accidentally, which causes an injury and the tongue texture appears bumpy. Just like other body parts the tongue also gets swelling in response to the injury. Intake of hot water or food can cause sudden tongue injury.

Oral herpes

Oral herpes is a common viral disease in which people develop cold sore blisters around mouth and nose.

In some cases, blister occurs on gum and tongue. These blisters can be painful and remain for a week or more time.

Oral herpes is an infection which spread through saliva and coming in contact with an infected individual. It may also spread by contact if tongue and mouth lining. It can occur without reason and cause bumps on the tongue.


Several food allergies results cause swollen bumps on the tongue. Abrupt swelling of the entire tongue could be a warning of harmful effect which recognized as anaphylaxis. Ask a doctor quickly if you encounter the following conditions.

  • Swelling in tongue, mouth, and lips
  • Growing unexpected hives and rashes
  • Breathing troubles and wheezing


Cancer also causes tongue bump. The bumps which grow on the sides of the tongue are prone to be cancerous. Specifically, the bump is painless and hard. Discuss with a doctor when you notice a bump or lump stay more than a week.

Tongue cancer generally grows in the squamous cells. Squamous cells are the flat, thin cells which comprise on the tongue surface. Tongue cancer also has similar symptoms of any cancer which always mistaken as cold symptoms. But the tongue cancer symptoms last longer which includes

  • Jaw pain
  • Constant tongue pain
  • White patches appear on the tongue, gums, mouth lining and tonsil
  • A sore throat
  • The feeling of something stuck in the throat
  • Trouble chewing and swallowing
  • Pain during jaw and tongue movement


Any infection in the mouth causes pain and swelling in the tongue. It is important to visit the doctor if you have swelling in tongue after being bitten to treat the vital injury.

A healthy person’s mouth also has bacteria which can easily enter into tongue tissues after injury.

If you experience a bump with fever, then it could be a sign of a serious infection which require medical help within 24 hours.


It is a life-threatening bacterial infection which develops a sore tongue as an early sign of disease. Syphilis affects people through direct contact during oral, vaginal and anal sex. This disease easily spread through oral sex and lead to infections.


Tuberculosis is a contagious infection which affects the lungs. In some cases, people develop sores and lesions on the body including the tongue.

Tongue bumps happen by tuberculosis are remarkably rare, but it can be an initial sign of infection in a newly affected person.

Symptoms of tongue bumps

You may get very noticeable symptoms when you have tongue bump. Here are the possible symptoms.

Loss of taste

When tongue has some infections or diseases accompanied by bumps may affect the senses of taste. The taste disorder can be the damage of tongue nerves which connects to the nose and brain to identify the taste. The complete loss of taste describes as ageusia.

Tongue Swelling

Swelling in the tongue is a symptom of bumps as it irritates the tongue function. When a bump occurs in the tongue, the fluid in tissue begins to accumulate which enlarge the tongue as swollen form. If the bump has infection and puss, then it makes tongue functions worse which require immediate medical attention.

Tongue color change


Generally tongue color changes due to smoking or tobacco. Tongue bump also have symptoms of color change such as

  • White – related to fever, thrush, dehydration, syphilis, prolonged irritation
  • Red – Painful inflammation
  • Bright Pink – Scarlet fever, Kawasaki disease
  • Black – Upset stomach

Apart from that certain colored bacteria grow on the tongue.

Burning sensation

Commonly burning sensation occurs when you eat or drink hot things. The bump on tongue causes geographic tongue, in which tongue surface gets disturbed, and tongue papillae disappear. This area appears red and causes inflammation and burning sensation.

Tongue Pain

Pain in the tongue is a symptom of bumps. When there are bumps and inflammation on the tongue surface, it makes difficult for an affected person to move the tongue as it has pain and swelling. It will create swallowing difficulty, chewing problem.


People with minor tongue bumps should seek medical help. The large bump can create difficulties in the mouth and breathing problems.

You can wait some time if you have only bump. But bumps accompanied by fever are a severe condition which needs a diagnosis. The multiple bumps on the tongue can be the sign of cancer which requires early prevention.

You may also require checkups if you get frequent bumps on the tongue. Discuss with your doctor about food or medicine allergies you have.

The doctor may advise a blood test to determine the disease such as tuberculosis and syphilis. In cases, a biopsy is recommended to remove lumps.


Tongue bumps treatment depends on its cause. Doctor recommend antifungal medication for oral thrush whereas the bacterial infection will need antibiotics for treatments.

Some tongue bumps, such as lie bumps will go on its own. Herpes doesn’t have a cure, but the doctor can avert further outbreak with antiviral medications.

Other health conditions affect the immune system and cause tongue bumps. Therefore, finding the infections and cause can help for better treatment which will help to reduce the risk of repetitive bumps.

Home Remedies

You can prevent early bump conditions with following home remedies.

  • Drink enough water
  • Avoid spicy and acidic foods until the bumps go.
  • Gargle with salt and warm water and baking soda constantly.
  • Topical remedies can help to prevent canker sore.
  • Avoid alcohol mouthwash until tongue bump heals completely.
  • Oral hygiene is important to prevent infection, bumps, and cancer.
  • Brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day.
  • Check with your dentist twice a year.
  • Clean your mouth after using steroid inhalers
  • Skip the food which swells your gums
  • Avoid sugary foods which induce tooth decay
  • Stop smoking and tobacco which can worse tongue bump.
  • Avoid alcohol consumption
  • If you have diabetes, then treat the tongue bump as soon as possible.

If you are an individual with age 26 years, consider having HPV – human papillomavirus vaccine. HPV is a kind of virus which associates with genital and oral cancer.

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