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Bumps on Tongue

The tongue is actually a muscle and one that allows us to accomplish a number of important functions, such as talking, eating and swallowing. When the tongue is healthy, it is pink in color and covered with small papillae. In the situation that bumps appear on the tongue’s surface, this means that an underlying condition has occurred. The sooner the exact cause is identified, the sooner you can get treated or take the necessary self-care measures. As you will have the opportunity to read below, there are a number of causes that can lead to the appearance of bumps at the level of the tongue.


Causes of Bumps on Tongue

The bumps on tongue can appear because of various causes, as you will discover in the paragraphs that follow.

Physical injury

In the situation that you bite your tongue accidentally, bumps can form on the injured surface (accompanied by soreness). Similar problems can be found in case of thermal burns but also in those who have gotten accustomed to clenching or grinding their teeth. Foods with hard texture can irritate the tongue as well, leading to the appearance of bumps on its surface.

Nutritional deficiency

If you present a vitamin or a nutritional deficiency, such as the reduced quantity of folic acid, you present a higher risk of bumps appearing on the surface of the tongue.

Allergic reaction

The appearance of the bumps on the surface of the tongue can suggest that an allergic reaction has occurred, either to the ingested food or to the medication taken.

Cigarette smoking

The cigarette smoke contains a number of irritating substances, which might lead to changes on the surface of the tongue. The longer one smokes, the higher the risk of bumps on the tongue.

Anemia

Anemia patients present a number of characteristic changes, including the appearance of bumps on the surface of the tongue.

Diabetes

Diabetes patients can present a number of physical changes, the bumps on the tongue completing the clinical picture.

Canker sores

Also known as a mouth ulcer, the canker sore can lead to ulcerations at the level of the oral cavity but also to bumps on the surface of the tongue. The lesions are aggravated during periods of stress and intense emotions (unknown cause).

Stomatitis

Also known as an aphthous ulcer, this condition is often seen in those who do not maintain an excellent oral hygiene. The bumps on the tongue are part of the clinical picture, causing discomfort to the patient.

Scarlet fever

This is a medical infectious condition, caused by the infection with the streptococcus bacteria. Apart from the red bumps on the surface of the tongue, the patient presents a high-running fever and a state of general malaise.

Herpes

This is a viral infection, causing among other symptoms, for red bumps to appear on the surface of the tongue. Whether the patient suffers from oral herpes or herpes simplex infection, it is important to understand and remember that the lesions are present not just on the tongue but also in the throat, gums and roof of the mouth.

Kawasaki syndrome

This condition is often seen in young children, often who are under five years of age. Due to the blood vessels being affected, bumps will appear on the surface of the tongue.

Burning tongue syndrome

This condition is encountered in women who have finished their fertile years and entered menopause. Apart from the red bumps that are present on the tongue, patients complain of a burning sensation in the area.

Papillitis

The inflammation of the tongue papillae can appear without any specific cause being identified. The patient might also complain of pain or discomfort present at the level of the tongue, due to the associated irritation.

Oral thrush

This is a yeast infection, which is commonly diagnosed in those who have a weakened immune system (children and the elderly). It may also appear as a side-effect of medication (for example, corticosteroids commonly administered in those who suffer from diabetes or lung disease). Prolonged antibiotic treatments can lead to similar problems.

Leukoplakia

This is a medical condition, characterized by the appearance of white patches at the level of the tongue. It may appear as an early sign of cancer, with the tongue being easily irritated by different objects.

Oral cancer

In the situation that red bumps are present on the surface of the tongue but they do not disappear in a couple of weeks, it is possible that one suffers from a form of oral cancer.

Treatment for Bumps on Tongue

If the condition is not serious, no treatment measures are taken for the actual symptomatology.

NSAIDs

In the situation that the patient is experiencing a lot of discomfort or pain, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication might be administered (acetaminophen, ibuprofen). Topical antiseptics might also be used, in order to disinfect the surface of the tongue and reduce the severity of the symptoms experienced.

Benzocaine

Benzocaine might be used as symptomatic treatment for canker sores, as this has a temporary numbing effect and brings the necessary relief from the pain. In case of ulcerations at the level of the oral cavity, tongue included, carbamide peroxide solutions are recommended. These solutions are meant to disinfect the ulcerations, bringing pain relief and reducing the risk of bacterial infections.

Silver nitrate

Silver nitrate is recommended as a symptomatic treatment as well, due to the fact that it can bring relief from the pain and promote a faster healing process at the level of the oral cavity. An alternative to the silver nitrate is represented by debacterol, which is a combination of sulfuric acid and sulfonated phenolic compounds. This is recommended for ulcerations and bumps on the tongue.

Antibiotics

Antibiotics might be administered in the situation that one suffers from a bacterial infection. When administered orally, it is recommended that one takes them for as long as they are prescribed, otherwise the bacteria will develop resistance to the treatment. It is also indicated that one takes probiotic supplements at the same time with the antibiotic treatment, so as to maintain a healthy intestinal flora.

Corticosteroids

In some situations, corticosteroids might be administered as a form of symptomatic treatment. It is important not to prescribe this treatment solution for a prolonged period of time, as corticosteroids can have negative effects on the overall health (they can cause bumps on tongue as well).

Antiviral medication

This is recommended in those who suffer from viral infections, such as herpes. It can be used to improve the symptoms experienced by the patient, including when it comes to the bumps present on the surface of the tongue.

Antifungal medication

This type of medication is indicated for the patients who suffer from oral thrush and other similar infections, improving the symptomatology experienced and the aspect of the tongue.

Chemotherapy & radiation therapy

These are the two most common methods of intervention recommended for those who have been diagnosed with oral cancer, due to the fact that the surgical intervention in this area can be quite difficult.

Vitamin & nutrient supplements

Apart from a change in the diet, patients suffering from nutritional deficiencies might be recommended to take such supplements. A complete blood count will be required in order to determine the exact nutritional deficiencies the patient is suffering from.

Pictures of Bumps on Tongue

Collection of pictures of small red, white bumps on tongue…
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bumps on tongue photos

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How to deal with Bumps on Tongue

There are a number of measures that you can take, in order to restore the healthy-looking aspect of the tongue. These are presented below.

Saline solution

Mix a little bit of salt with warm water and gargle with the resulting saline solution. This solution will have an anti-inflammatory effect at the level of the tongue, plus it will relieve you of the burning sensation.

Mint leaves

You can benefit from the anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties of mint by chewing fresh leaves. Moreover, this natural remedy will stimulate the tissues of the tongue to heal faster. As an alternative, you can drink a cup of mint tea (made from fresh leaves as well).

Cold & soft food

Eating foods that are cold and soft, you will soothe the inflamed tongue and bring the necessary relief from the experienced symptoms. Moreover, cold food has a temporary numbing effect, which can be quite beneficial in case you suffer from tongue irritation.

No irritating foods

These are also known as food triggers, as they trigger the burning sensation at the level of the tongue. First and foremost, you need to avoid food that is highly acidic or spicy. Second, you have to forget about foods that have a hard texture or those who have a hot temperature. You must protect the tongue for as long as it is possible, so that it has sufficient time to heal.

Excellent oral hygiene

You can stimulate the tongue surface to heal faster by maintaining an excellent oral hygiene. Apart from brushing your teeth and using dental floss, it is recommended that you brush the surface of the tongue and use antibacterial mouthwash. In this way, you will eliminate any risk of infection, which could further irritate the tongue and prolong the necessary healing period.

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