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Bumps on Tongue – Causes, Treatment, Pictures

Written by Dr.Mary

Tiny bumps on an individual’s tongue develop for an assortment of reasons. Most of the reasons are not anything to worry about but there are some bumps that signal a need to seek medical attention.

Causes of Bumps on Tongue

Most of the tiny red bumps that are on the tongue are referred to as papillae and they cover the total surface of the tongue. Most of them have taste buds which are the receptor organs for detecting tastes and then send the information over to the brain. Without these taste buds, an individual would not be able to tell the differences between bitter, sour, sweet and salty. If taste buds are exposed to food that is too sour or too hot, they can swell.

Causes for abnormal or irritating bumps on the tongue include:

  • Oral herpes simplex virus complex
  • Allergy reactions
  • Syphilis in early stages
  • Canker sores
  • Tuberculosis
  • Bacterial infections
  • Immune disorders
  • Smoking

Others can include:


If the bumps are on only one side of the tongue, the bumps can be cancerous and need to be checked out. Another sign of cancer can be sores or lumps that are red or white, or hard lumps, especially if they are painless. Cancer is almost never on the top of the tongue but rather on the mouth floor or the sides of the tongue. There is an exception to this and that is if an individual suffers from syphilis that is untreated – that can trigger cancer on the top of the tongue.


This is a variety of bumps on the tongue which is a condition that is benign. A fibroma is a bump that forms from connective tissues, and mainly develops after some trauma, for instance biting the tongue accidentally. Bumps such as these do not change and can stay for years.



This is oral Candidiasis and can infect many areas beside the mouth. When it does appear in the mouth, it is patches that are curd like and appear on the tongue as well as the inner cheek surfaces. Oral thrush spreads like a paste that is creamy and can cover not only the tongue but the whole mouth.

Oral herpes

This develops in cases where there is unprotected oral sex and causes sores to grow on the front of the tongue and also the cheek insides. These lesions of oral herpes are yellow or clear colored. These blisters or bumps are packed tightly and sit up on an irritated red base.

Bumps on Tongue Treatment

If something unusual develops on the tongue and it bothers you, either mentally or physically, be cautious and see your physician to see if the problem is severe or needs any treatment.

What treatment that might be suggested will depend on the cause of the bumps and that is something your doctor will need to diagnose for you. At that time, the treatment that is best for the problem will be advised.

In the case of fibroma or any other bumps, they can be removed or scrapings of cells can be taken and often that is consider the best option so that the tissue can be sent to the lab for testing to make certain what the bump is.

Bumps on Tongue Pictures

  1. What do you call the tongue picture of white bumps throughout the dorsal surface of the tongue. Are the spots white Papillae?? Tongue is pink otherwise..
    Saw the photo on your tongue question site/

    e-mail is carizma73 at hotmail

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