There are very few people on the planet who would examine their tongue in the mirror to see if anything was wrong with it. Did you know, however, that the shape of your tongue can reveal a lot about your oral and general health? For various reasons, your tongue can appear weird, and many of them are easily overlooked. If you ever find bumps on the back of your tongue, remember that there’s some sort of oral infection lingering in your mouth. This article will explain the causes of tongue bumps, and you’ll learn when to worry about them.

What Are Tongue Bumps?

The surface of your tongue is covered with a mucous membrane. Usually, the surface of the part at the back of your tongue is covered with tiny bumps called papillae. In between the papillae exist your taste buds, which are used to enjoy food. Typically, it’s very difficult to notice papillae, but at times, they become inflamed and result in pain and discomfort. There are many causes of these swollen bumps on the back of the tongue. Let’s find out!

What Causes Enlarged Papillae On The Back Of The Tongue?

There are several causes of bumps on the back of the tongue. By just seeing a bump on the tongue, a dentist or physician cannot find the cause and may need more information for a diagnosis. Here are the most common reasons behind a bumpy tongue.

Tongue injuries

A tongue injury can make your tongue bumpy. Just like the other body parts, trauma can result in inflammation. If you accidentally bite your tongue, you may notice inflamed bumps a few days after biting. If you hurriedly eat or drink hot food or liquid, you can also injure your tongue and make it bumpy.

Canker sores

If you have sores in your mouth, understand that it must be canker sores behind them. Canker sores are mostly found on the inner side of lips, but they are sometimes visible on the tongue. They appear white, red, or yellow-toned. The sores can give you painful sensations and be a cause of discomfort.

For some people, the triggering point of canker sores can be foods, but the actual cause is still not discovered.

If you have canker sores, don’t worry too much as they will be treated with time. However, visit your dentist if you’re having too much pain since they can help you relieve the soreness.


Food allergies or intolerances can also cause bumps on the back of the tongue and make it swollen. If you experience a sudden inflammation of your entire tongue, it’s an indication that you have a harmful reaction called anaphylaxis.

Head to your nearest urgent care facility when you are experiencing:

  • Hives or rashes
  • Inflammation of the tongue, mouth, or lips
  • Breathing difficulties


A mouth infection or one on the tongue can swell the infection site and make it even more painful. If you’ve bitten your tongue or have a notable injury and the tongue is swollen, see your dentist for an expert opinion.

If you just came out of the bathroom after brushing or flossing and think your mouth is bacteria-free, this isn’t the case. Your mouth still contains bacteria, and oral trauma can give a pathway for bacteria to enter the tongue tissues.

If the bumps on your tongue are giving you too much pain and you have a fever too, visit your doctor within a day, as this soreness can signify a severe oral infection.


It can rarely happen, but bumps on the back of the tongue can appear due to cancer. A bumpy tongue can be cancerous if your tongue is affected from the sides. Specifically, it is more susceptible if your tongue is stiff and there’s no pain. It’s better to consult a physician if the bump or lump on the tongue is present for more than 10-15 days.


Syphilis is a type of bacterial infection that’s treatable but is very dangerous. You can catch this infection if you come in direct contact with syphilis sores during sex. This can happen for all three – anal, oral, or vaginal sex.

In some cases, sores or bumps on the back of the tongue can be an early sign of syphilis disease. This happens more often if the disease spreads through oral sex.

Oral herpes

If you’re an American adult, there is a high chance of getting oral herpes. Note that many people with this disease don’t experience any symptoms; however, others will have cold sore blisters around the mouth occasionally.

For some, bumps on the tongue or gums are common, which can cause lots of soreness and can last for seven to ten days.

Oral herpes is a contagious disease. It can easily pass on to others through:

  • Saliva
  • Contact with the tongue or mouth lining
  • Exposure to an infected area

This can happen even in the absence of symptoms.

Oral thrush

Oral thrush is also known as oral candidiasis and is a yeast infection that develops in the mouth. Yeast is one type of fungus for which wet and dark places are ideal for its growth. Newborns are often affected by this disease.

Here are some other health conditions that can give you oral thrush:

Those with oral thrush may have white bumps or patches on their tongue or lips. In addition, one may notice soreness and redness in their mouth.

Lie bumps

Lie bumps are a short-term swelling of the tongue’s papillae. You can find these small bumps on the top layer of the tongue.

Additionally, they can cause aches and discomfort. Furthermore, they can also bring burning feelings, itching, and sensitivity. These bumps can come out of nowhere, last a few days, and then eliminate on their own. The cause for this is still unknown.


Overeating acidic or sour food can annoy the tongue and gums, resulting in bumpy spots on the back of the tongue that can stay there for a few days.

Diagnosing Bumps At The Back Of The Tongue

The only time you need to seek sudden medical assistance is when you have bumps on the back of your tongue due to anaphylaxis. Breathing difficulties and a swollen tongue are other problems with tongue bumps that require help from the doctor.

When to see a doctor or dentist

If the bumps on your tongue aren’t causing you much pain and you don’t have a fever, you don’t need to visit your doctor. However, if the condition worsens and the symptoms continue for more than seven days, book an appointment with your nearest dentist.

You should also head to an expert if the bumpy tongue is reappearing.

How do I get rid of the bumps on the back of my tongue?

The treatment for the bumps on the tongue depends on what the cause is. For bacterial infections, you’ll need a course of antibiotics; for oral thrush, antifungal medications will work best.

You don’t need a specific medication for lie bumps since they’ll get better on their own.

Additionally, it’s possible that certain diseases can hit your immune system and aggravate the bumps on the tongue. Therefore, during treatment, your doctor may conduct tests for other medical conditions as well. If you effectively manage these conditions, the risk of tongue bumps coming back will reduce.

Here are several home remedies that can help you get relief, regardless of the cause of your bumpy tongue:

  • Stay away from spicy and acidic foods until the bumps go away
  • Rinse your mouth with salty warm water daily
  • To minimize the pain, apply topical gels or take medications
  • Drink as much water as you can
  • Avoid using mouthwashes that contain alcohol

Good oral health can minimize the risk of cancer and bumps on the back of the tongue. Plus, your body will be able to fight the infection and pain from getting to the bumps.

Here are some ways to keep your oral health in good shape:

  • Brush your teeth and floss them regularly
  • Visit your dentist every six months
  • Stop eating foods or drinks that can hurt the gums
  • Eat fewer snacks and foods that contain high amounts of sugar as this can result in tooth decay
  • Don’t smoke: Don’t use tobacco products
  • Cut down your intake of alcohol
  • Get treatment for underlying diseases


A bumpy tongue can make you worried and embarrassed. However, they occur commonly due to a minor trauma or other harmless condition.

People with tongue bumps should monitor their symptoms and take good care of their mouth and tongue. If symptoms get worse or are very painful, they should see a doctor.

Those having bumps at the back of their tongue should look at the symptoms regularly and keep their mouth healthy. If the condition gets worse or painful, see a dentist or doctor. If you need help with bumps on your tongue, schedule an appointment with Rodeo Dental & Orthodontics today!

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