Pimples or Bumps on Tongue Tip, Side Back or Under: Causes, Remedies & Pictures 

Do you have bumps on the tongue? What do red ones mean? What about white painful ones on the tip or side of tongue? When should I be worried about them? Discover answers to these questions and more below.

The tongue is a special organ no doubt. Unfortunately, when it comes to being afflicted by disease or problems, it does not receive preferential treatment. Some of the more common complaints are bumps on all or its parts.

Their characteristics

These bumps can feel like a lump or look very much like a pimple. So much that they are sometimes referred to as lumps,  bumps, or pimples. Don’t get confused if we use the terms interchangeably from here on.

There are many ways bumps on the tongue will appear. One individual may white a cluster, while another may just have red ones. You could notice large, a painful or a painless white or a hard spot. They can also be red, yellow, a cluster, single, on the side, at the back near the throat, under the tongue or on its tip.

Also, they can be painful and interfere with things we take for granted like eating, swallowing, even speaking. For some kinds, that is really the worst of it and they are mostly harmless. There are times though, when you may need to see a doctor as soon as possible as the tongue bump could indicate something more serious.


Below are some pictures showing how they appear.

We will go into details of when to worry about the bump on your tongue in the section we talk about potential causes.

What causes them?

A healthy tongue naturally has bumps, small slightly raised ones all over its surface. They house the taste buds which give us the power to identify various tastes. Without them, we would never be able to tell sweet from sour as easily.

If you notice spots on your tongue that hurt, however, or some redness or spotty whiteness, then this is not normal. There are several reasons you may have abnormal ones.

1. You have oral herpes

Bumps from oral herpes are usually a cluster of small yellow or clear ones especially on the on the tip. The area around painful little bumps will also appear red.  Herpes sufferers will also notice pimples on the inside of the cheeks too, similar to the small white bumps on the tongue. Some people fear they have gotten them after kissing. This is not likely to be herpes as  the oral kind   is transmitted through unprotected oral sex.

2. You are having an allergic reaction

Sometimes an allergy, especially but not limited to food and medication will cause hard or soft, big or small bumps.  Those formed from allergy may be hard large lumps marked out by angry red spots if you look at your tongue. However, they do not have sores, or appear to have fluid in them. You are likely to notice them almost as soon as you have been exposed to the substance you are hypersensitive too, or allergen if you like. Welts and bumps may also appear on other body parts.

 3. Your tongue is reacting to Trauma/ injury

If you bite your tongue or have eaten some hard foods recently, you may get them. Trauma bumps are likely to be towards the front and side.

4. You have inflammation of the taste buds

This is sometimes referred to as lie bumps or TLP which is short for transient lingual papillitis. Don’t be alarmed by the fancy name, TLP only refers to the inflammation of the natural bumps that cover the surface of the tongue which is medically known as papillae.  They will appear like raised pimples, they could be yellow or red. They may be quite painful and the whole tongue may feel sore even if the bumps are only in one area.

The exact cause is not known probably because there has not been much research into TLP. The first diagnosis was only in 1996.

It is however known that some people report lie bumps after eating spicy/ acidic or sugary foods.

5. You have scarlet fever

This highly bacterial infection could explain some red bumps on the tongue of your child. Scarlet fever commonly affects children and besides fever, one gets a red rash on the body. This rash will appear as small red bumps and is sometimes referred to as strawberry tongue.

6. Kawasaki Disease

Also mainly in children, this disease can cause large red ones. These bumps are typically in the back towards the throat and will be accompanied by other symptoms joint pain, swollen lymph nodes and redness on the hands and soles of the feet.

7. You could have a mucoceles

Mucoceles are cysts that form under the tongue as a result of a blockage on one or several saliva ducts. It will feel like a small, fluid, filled painless bump on this part. You could also notice a bluish lump under the tongue that is painless. This is another way mucoceles appear.

8. Cancer

Bumps on the tongue will typically go away after a short while, usually by themselves, or after the infection causing them is treated. However, there are instances where they can be malignant. Oral bumps that could be a sign of cancer bleed easily. There are other symptoms that will alert you that the bump on or under your tongue is cancerous. You could these lumps or bumps and sore throat that is pretty persistent. The bump may also make moving your tongue painful and eating and swallowing may become difficult.

9. You have leukoplakia

Leukoplakia may give you bumps in the mouth, including the tongue. Lumps from leukoplakia are not painful, nor malignant, usually.

10. You have an STD

You may notice a pimple like bumps on the tongue along with other symptoms at the early stages of syphilis infection. They may later disappear. Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease.

Home remedies lie bumps

Home remedies are great. We know the temptation to try one for almost any condition is real. But there are some cases where you should really see a doctor. For instance, if your tongue pimples match the characteristics listed in scarlet fever, herpes,  Kawasaki disease, cancer or allergic reactions especially in children, please urgently see a doctor.  Bleeding, having tongue bumps with a sore throat and cough, are also other signs that you should not be trying a home remedy.

Inflamed taste buds, or lie bumps you can attempt to treat. One of the following remedies can be effective in treating a sore a painful.

1. Avoid hot, spicy and hard foods

Just because you are not making a concoction of some herbs does not disqualify this from being a home remedy. You will find that avoiding these foods that will only make a painful tongue worse will bring you closer to recovery. Cold soft foods are more soothing painful ones.

2. Ice

Sucking on an ice cube will soothe painful ones instantly. Try this simple but effective remedy.

3. Mint

Chewing on some mint leaves is known as an effective remedy for painful pimples on the tongue and is a good lie bumps remedy. It will also reduce the size of the bump overnight.

4. Milk of Magnesia

Dabbing a little milk of magnesia several times a day on a sore bump will help make it less sore.