If You Have Bumps On Your Tongue, Here’s What They Could Mean

Written by , MA (Journalism & Mass Communication) Chaitra Krishnan MA (Journalism & Mass Communication) Experience: 5 years
Last Updated on

How often do you look at yourself in the mirror? Pretty much every day, right? But how often do you take a look at your tongue? If you are someone who maintain oral hygiene, we’re sure you look at it every day. Well, you should observe your tongue regularly because it can give you cues about your health. Just like our skin, hair, nails, and teeth, our tongue also show signs of worry when we are facing a health issue. These health issues are often not dangerous but in some cases, they might need medical attention. Hence, if you feel that there’s something unusual about the way your tongue looks or feels, it’s important to keep a close eye.

Pain, sores, change in taste, color, and texture are some of the things that your tongue may get affected with. While you can treat them with home remedies, it’s important to see a doctor in case the symptom becomes worse or it bothers you too much. Tiny bumps on the tongue is yet another thing that needs your attention. There are many reasons why these bumps appear on your tongue including underlying health problems. Read on to know more.

White Tongue

White tongue is a condition during which your tongue looks pale and white. This happens because of the overgrowth and swelling of the papillae on your tongue. Papillae are finger-like projections on the surface of the tongue and they look white when debris, bacteria, and dead cells get stuck on them due to the swelling. There are many reasons why the papillae of your tongue swell like poor oral hygiene, dry mouth, dehydration, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, or mouth breathing. Other causes of white tongue include fever mechanical irritation from sharp tooth edges and dental appliances, and eating only soft and mashed food items (low roughage diet). White tongue is associated with many health problems like oral yeast infection, oral cancer, syphilis, leukoplakia, and geographic tongue. If you have white tongue, it’s not necessary that you have a serious medical issue. But to be on the safer side it would be better to get your tongue checked (1).

Sjogren’s Syndrome

Sjogren's Syndrome
Image: Shutterstock

Sjogren’s syndrome is an auto-immune disease which means that your immunity system will attack the cells of your own body by mistake. In the case of those who have Sjogren’s syndrome, their tear and salivary glands get attacked. Due to this, the mouth and eyes become unusually dry and the person will have to sip water too many times a day to prevent the dryness. If you have this syndrome, you may get ulcers, bumps, and sores on your tongue. Also, you may dryness on your lips, nose, skin, and throat as well. Sjogren’s can also affect other body parts like the joints, kidneys, lungs, digestive organs, nerves, and blood vessels. This syndrome mostly occurs in people who are above the age of forty and it has been linked to rheumatoid arthritis and lupus (2) (3). Medical attention is necessary in case you’re experiencing the symptoms of the syndrome.


Image: Shutterstock

Like we discussed earlier, bumps on your tongue may be due to a medical problem known as leukoplakia. During this condition, you may notice thickened, white patches on your tongue, gums, insides of your cheeks, and the bottom of your mouth. Doctors are not sure about what causes these patches but they have been linked to oral cancer. While most of them are non-cancerous, cancerous patches are seen very close to leukoplakia patches which is the reason why they are suspected to be an early symptom of oral cancer. Some people may get affected by hairy leukoplakia, a certain type of leukoplakia causes fuzzy, white patches that look like ridges or folds usually by the sides of the tongue. This type of leukoplakia occurs due to a weak immune system which is a result of diseases like AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) caused by HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) (4).

Tongue Inflammation Due To Acid Reflux

Tongue Inflammation Due To Acid Reflux
Image: Shutterstock

Papillae are tiny structures on our tongue that contain projections called microvilli. The microvilli have sensory cells that transmit messages to our brain. If you have an acid reflux problem, the stomach acid will rise up through your food pipe and damage these sensory cells. A person whose microvilli are damaged will find it difficult to sense taste as well as before. Acid reflux can make your papillae inflamed and you might feel constant burning sensation in your mouth. This situation can be aggravated if you eat spicy and oily food that will make your acid reflux worse. Acid reflux has to be treated on time because they can lead to the damage of your stomach walls. In extreme cases of acid reflux, you can even get painful ulcers (5).

The primary thing to do if you want to avoid any sorts of bumps on your tongue is to maintain good oral hygiene. Always brush twice every day, floss, and use a good mouthwash. Also, take care of what you’re eating and the medications that you’re consuming. Even if you don’t feel any other symptoms and just the bumps, it’s a good idea to get them checked.

Was this article helpful?
Chaitra Krishnan
Chaitra KrishnanBeauty & Lifestyle Enthusiast
Chaitra has a triple main bachelor’s degree in journalism, communicative English, and economics from St. Aloysius College, Mangalore, and a master’s degree in journalism and mass communication from St. Joseph's College, Bengaluru.

Read full bio of Chaitra Krishnan
Latest Articles