What are these white bumps on the tongue? Discover the meaning of various kinds and what causes them.
The tongue naturally has small bumps on its surface whose color range spans several shades of white and pink. They also called papillae, house your taste buds.
The white bumps on the tongue we are concerned about will stand out from the ordinary papillae by how they feel, you know if they are painful, and how they appear, bigger than the normal taste bud bumps.
These are not life-threatening, at least not usually that is, but they are also not normal. Find out what different kinds of white tongue bumps could mean and what could possibly be causing them below.
Meaning and causes
Much like clothes, bumps on tongue come in several shades and sizes and patterns. Unlike clothes, though, you don’t get to choose, you get what you get and that is what you have to deal with. Part of dealing is people trying to put a name to what they are experiencing, which is how we end with so many descriptions of more or less the same condition.
Some people will describe blisters, others lumps, and others still will just want answers on why they have a sore tongue. A few people may query about swollen taste buds, inflamed or with tongue pain and that is not even the half of it on tongue problems that involve lumps, painful or otherwise appearing here.
The area covered by offending bumps also varies from person to person. They may appear on tongue and lips or back of throat only in some cases for example.
Some people just have a couple of bumps to worry about while in others the bumps are spread out on most of the tongue.
They also affect people across the age scale, from toddlers to adults. It is possible that the sore tongue may be the only health complaint you may have at the moment, but people who are already sick are more likely to develop some types.
Having said that, you can appreciate the difficulty of trying to explain what is causing your mouth bump without examining the actual bump.
But we never ran away from a difficult task. So from here on is us trying to determine what is possibly causing that white or whitish bumps.
1. White pimple on tongue
A white pimple on the tongue is one of the more common bumps to expect. This could be a lie bump, especially if it appears at the tip. They occur when the papillae housing the taste bud becomes inflamed. If this happens to one individual papilla, then you will have a single one. Another way of describing them is a little white bump that is painful.
You could also end up with several lie bumps if more papillae are inflamed. In this case, you will have the bump like pimples situation.
Lie bumps are soft, so if you find a white pimple on your tongue is hard; it may be something else.
2. Side of tongue
According to the good people livestrong.com, those that occur on the bottom, side, and top of the tongue are usually lie bumps. We can, therefore, say those on the side of your tongue are lie bumps and be perfectly right.
You can confirm by examining them giving you grief on the side of your tongue. Is it soft, smooth, painful but not oozing? If it is not fitting that description, you may need to have a doctor examine it.
3. White dots
A single white dot or spot in the middle of the tongue is thought to indicate gastrointestinal disorders. A couple of spots of them here and other parts on the inside of the mouth could also be a sign of irritation due to the nicotine habit.
4. White lump
A large white bump or lump on tongue could be caused by a condition called leukoplakia. Leukoplakia is linked to smoking and several conditions that compromise an individual’s immunity. Though in some in a few cases leukoplakia could herald cancer, most times these lumps just indicate a chronic irritation of the mucous membrane of the tongue? It always starts as one white painless spot and multiple lumps only appear later.
Oral thrush may also cause white plaque or lumps on the tongue. Those from thrush are common in children especially infants and to a certain degree, people whose immunity is lowered for one reason or other. The white bumps from thrush will be painful if you scrap at them and may even bleed.
5. White blister
If it is not a lie bump which could look a lot like a blister, this tongue irritation could be caused by canker sores. They tend to be white or yellowish with a red border and could give you patches or bumps. Canker sores are caused by a viral infection and are quite painful. You can have the blister, sores on the gum, cheeks, and roof of the mouth. They may be more like white sores rather than bumps, but cancer sores can sometimes be slightly raised causing the tongue to feel lumpy.
You may also get a blister on the tongue after a burn if you are in the habit of taking extremely hot drinks or foods.
A single hard white lump could be an oral fibroma. This condition could develop over time due to chronic irritation of the tongue. It could occur in people who wear dentures if they are not properly fitted. Oral fibroma is smooth and can also occur on the inside of the cheek.
Some STDs cause white sore spots or bumps too. The major culprits are HIV and syphilis. In the early stages of syphilis, one can get white spots in their oral cavity. Herpes while not always sexually transmitted also has a bunch or cluster of small rashes or pimples on this part symptom. One of the symptoms of HIV is also these spots. Typically if you have an STD, you will also experience other symptoms along with the white lumps on the tongue, like a sore throat, pain in the lymph nodes, to name but a few.
How to cure them
It is important to get treatment for the cause of the bumps and lumps on your tongue. You should especially take this seriously if you suspect an STD as untreated STDs is bad news for your health, even life. Leukoplakia will start to clear and go away if you stop smoking.
Lie bumps also clear on their own in a couple of days without much intervention even. You can soothe them or hasten the healing with a home remedy.
A pretty effective one is a warm water and salt gargle twice a day. You can also hold an ice cube against the painful bump. The cold will give you instant relief but be careful as the cold may end up interfering with circulation in the area and giving you further problems. Do not hold the ice cube to the sore part for too long.