Small, White, Red Bumps on Tongue

Itchy bumps on the tip, sides, under or back of the tongue may cause discomfort and even affect normal functions like speech, tasting, chewing and swallowing. The lumps may be caused by smoking, sore throat, herpes, tonsils, and allergies. Pimples on tongue can appear after eating allergens foods, surgery, kissing and throwing up.

Your tongue has natural papillae that look like small pimples on the top and side surface. Normally, they give it a rough texture and also contain temperature sensors and taste buds.

How does a healthy tongue look like? Tongue is hailed as the strongest muscle in the body that allow us to talk, taste and swallow. A healthy tongue is pink with small nodules (papillae) on the top surface.

The tongue problems are noticeable through soreness, inflammation and discoloration. Fortunately, most of them are of no serious concern and resolve quickly. This article contains some insights on the various causes, home remedies and treatments that can be used to get rid of transient lingual papillitis.

Are There Symptoms of Transient Lingual Papillitis?

Red or white lie bumps may be painful even when you are not talking, eating or drinking. Normally, mild tongue bumps are not accompanied by any symptoms. However, eruptive lie bumps may be accompanied by itching, tingling or burning sensation.

Sometimes swollen glands and fever signs may accompany the affected children. Eruptive bumps are very contagious and caused by virus infections.

What Are The Causes of White and Red Bumps on Tongue?

What might have caused white or red swollen bumps on my tongue? Both children and adults may experience lumps of different shapes and sizes. Some of the lie lumps may be characterized by painful, itchy or burning sensation or even inflammation.

Here are some of the various causes of bumps that may affect different parts of the tongue including the tip, sides, back or under the tongue.

Canker Sores

Aphthous ulcers can occur anywhere in the mouth including gums, throat and part of tongue like on tip, sides, back, or even under the tongue. These bumps are usually red, painful and go away within 2 weeks without treatment.

Canker sores

The main cause of canker sore is not yet known, however over the counter pain killers help to relieve the pain.

Mouth Cancer

Are my lie bumps cancerous? Generally, most bumps are not of major worries. However, some especially those that affect the side of the tongue may be cancerous. Gray, red or pink lump on the front, tip, base, under or the back of the tongue may be oral tongue cancer especially If they bleed when touched.

Consult your doctor if you get bumps that won’t go away and bleed when touched. Biopsy may help to rule out cancers. Surgery, chemotherapy and radiations are some of the available treatment of oral cancer depending on type and stage.

Tongue Infections

Tongue may be inflamed due to the following causes.

  • Traumatic Fibroma; this is a pink smooth tongue growth due to chronic irritation. Surgical method is used to treat this infection.
  • Lymphoepithelial cysts; these are benign soft yellow cysts that appear under the tongue.
  • Glossitis: this is inflammation of the tongue that make it appears smooth rather than bumpy. Allergic reaction, smoking and other infections may result to glossitis. Seek doctor advice if it is persistent and keep on recurring.Swollen white lie bumps
  • Scarlet fever: this is a bacterial infection that make the tongue red, swollen and bumps. It may also cause a skin rash and fever. This condition is very contagious and you should seek immediate medical help.
  • Stomatitis: this is a mouth infection that result from poor dental hygiene.

Human Papillomavirus

Human papilloma virus is associated with squamous papilloma. It manifests on the tongue as irregular shaped bumps. HPV has no cure although it’s symptoms can be addressed.

HPV infectious bump on tongue

Sexually Transmitted Disease

Many people consider oral sex to be safe since it eliminates chances of producing a fetus. Doctors however, consider safe sex when precaution are taken to prevent spread of STD’s diseases like chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV and syphilis.

  • Syphilis usually begins with formation of small painless bumps that are easy to dismiss. These bumps tend to transform into more bumps that progress as the disease go to secondary sores. Appearance of secondary bumps if left untreated may lead to a serious complication or even death.
  • Oral gonorrhea main symptom is a sore throat although according to medicine net 90% may have little or no symptoms. However, it is associated with other bacteria that causes chlamydia and syphilis. The symptoms occur between 7-21 days after contact with affected partner.
  • Oral herpes may lead to formation of red painful bumps that last for 1 week.
  • HIV/ Aids usually compromises the immune system that leave one vulnerable to other bacterial, fungal and viral infection. These infections may lead to bumps formation on your mouth.

Other symptoms for oral STD’s;

  • Tonsillitis
  • White or yellow discharge
  • Reddish white spots like strep throat
  • Lesions around your mouth resembling cold sore or fever blisters.
  • Painless or painful sores in the mouth.
  • Painful throat and swallowing difficulty.

Symptoms of Other Diseases

Lie bumps may be as a result of other medical problem like;

  • Anemia and diabetes are condition that can cause pimple formation on tongue.
  • Leukoplakia diseases which triggers excessive cell growth in the mouth may cause painless white patches along the mouth and tongue. This may be a sign of oral cancer due to tobacco use and sometimes triggered by ill-fitting denture or rough teeth.Bumps on tongue as a sign of an infection/ other diseases
  • Kawasaki syndrome may also impact the blood vessels and lead to lumps like formation on the children affected.
  • Lichen planus: this is a rare rash that looks like white patches or red shiny bumps on tongue. Mild lichen doesn’t need any treatment, however, chronic increase the risk for mouth cancer. Oral and topical medication may be use for treatment. The main cause is not yet known and can affects other parts of the body like nails, scalp, genitals and skin.
  • Thrush: a diseases caused by candida yeast, common among elderly and babies. Compromised immune system, diabetes and corticosteroids medications may make candida grow wild leading to tongue soreness.

Injuries and Irritating Dentures or Bracelets

Injuries may occur to the tongue through biting, using rough toothbrush, and ill-fitting dentures. These results to white bumps more so on the side of the tongue or on any other parts. Rinsing with antiseptic mouth wash may help to get rid of these trauma caused bumps.

Trauma bumps due to tongue piercing

Tongue piercing can lead to formation of white or pus filled bumps near the pierced part. This may be an indication of an infection. The infection white bumps may be accompanied by pain, itching, redness, yellow or green discharge or even bleeding. Seek help if you experience the above symptoms of infections.


Excessive smoking can trigger allergic reaction and irritation on your tongue. Smoking is also linked to oral cancer that can lead to formation of bump as a symptom.

Allergic Reaction

Food allergies may lead to formation of white lie bumps, especially those towards the back of the tongue. Allergy bumps are accompanied by nausea, vomiting, skin rash, sore throat and running nose. In extreme scenario breathing complication and chest pain may be experienced. This would call for immediate doctor’s consultation.

Allergic reaction on tongue papillae

An allergic reaction may also be experienced also from medication and other dental care products like tooth paste. When the taste buds (papillae) are irritated they become enlarged.

Nutritional Deficiencies

How can I tell if I have nutritional deficiencies? Presence of bumps on your tongue could be an indication of vitamin B deficiencies. Lack of vitamin B causes problems in your nervous, vascular and digestive system. According to journal of Clinical & Diagnostic Research, ulcers, sore throat, angular Cheilitis, tongue inflammation and bumps in your mouth may be triggered by vitamin B deficiencies.

A healthy diet is essential for your development and providing adequate energy in your body. Meat, seafood, dairy products and eggs is a good source of vitamin B. in case you are allergic to these foods you may take vitamin B supplements.

Hormonal Fluctuations

Burning tongue syndrome do occur during menopause generally characterized by burning sensation on the tongue. Women are prone to these kind of bumps in their life especially during their menses. Pre and post Pregnancy stages are accompanied by hormonal changes that may trigger lie bumps.

If you usually get skin rashes during pregnancy you may be prone to lie bumps too. Generally, these kind of bumps goes away on their own without any medical complications or treatments.

Others include

Dry mouth: dry mouth may lead to irritation especially if you produce low saliva to lubricate your mouth. This may cause irritation from teeth leading to bumps formation on tongue.

Acid reflux: Do you get inflammation on your tongue after eating citrus fruits? Acidic and spicy food may irritate the taste buds. Cutting down these foods in your diet may help get rid of swollen taste buds.

Bumps on the Back of Tongue

Red bumps may appear on the back of your tongue for a variety of reasons ranging from benign to severe and complex causes. The tongue according to Net Wellness is naturally covered by fungiform papillae (small like bumps) and circumvallate papillae (large red bump at the back).

Fungiform papillae normally appear when the taste buds are aggravated by salty and sugary tastes. However, circumvallate papillae are v shaped, point backward and always present in the back of the throat. Infections like cold and sore throat may aggravate the circumvallate papillae.

Canker sores, warts, trauma, biting, allergies and other diseases like herpes and other infections may also lead to appearance of white bumps at the back of the tongue. Buying over the counter oral gel may help numb the bumps. Avoiding hot, spicy, sugary and salty food may also help.

Bumps on the Tip of The Tongue

Do you have bump on the tip of the tongue? Do not panic, a small white bump may commonly appear on the tip of the tongue. The tip is covered by naturally occurring fungiform papillae that are bump like. They are pink flat like structures responsible for temperature sensitivity.

White and painful lesions may appear on the tip due to canker sore. Injury and nutritional deficiency may also lead to formation of bumps on the tip. Excess growth of Candida fungus may result to white patches on the mouth or tongue. This can be triggered by compromised immune system leading to white lesions and bumps on the tip of the tongue.

Smoking and excess consumption of alcohol are culprits since they contain toxic chemicals that irritate the taste buds. Oral cancer, canker sores may cause white spots on the tip of the tongue in both children and adults.

Red Bumps on Tongue

Sinus infection, cold flu and other illness may irritate the taste buds, causing them to become reddish. Trauma, allergies, sores and herpes can also lead to formation of red bumps on tongue. Eating hot salty or sugary food may also cause naturally occurring bumps to get red.

White Bumps on Tongue and Throat

Can I develop white bumps due to sore throat? Sore throat is a viral infection that cause cold flu. This compromises the immune system making you vulnerable to bacterial infection that can cause inflammation of your taste buds.

It’s a common occurrence to have white lumps when you have sore throat. Other causes of white bumps include; allergic reaction, strep throat and thyroid cancer. Seek medical attention if you have white pimples on the tongue and throat, since it can be a serious life threatening condition.

Bumps on Tongue and Gums

A hard, soft mass or lump on the gums may appear due to localized abscess or bacterial infection. Gum and mouth cancer can lead to a mass on the gums and tongue. Canker sores, traumatic injuries and hormonal changes like during pregnancy can cause a small bump (pyogenic granuloma) near the gums.

Gingivitis, a gum inflammation disease may make your gums bleed while brushing, or look red and swollen. Health gums appear firm, coral pink and do not bleed and sometimes appear dark in certain ethnic populations.

Bumps on The Sides of The Tongue

Ill-fitting denture, trauma and above mentioned causes can lead to bumps formation on the side of the tongue. Oral lichen planus is one of the causes of inflammatory condition that can lead to white patches and ulcers on the mouth lining. Lichen may also cause red sores and bumps on tongue as well.

Lichens planus bumps may be post cancerous signs. White bumps on one side of the tongue can be a sign of oral cancer. Most oral cancer patient realizes it at the second stage when big damage has already occurred. Seek medical help if you have white lesions on the side of your tongue. Avoiding spicy and acidic foods could help prevent lichen planus.

Bumps Under The Tongue

Can pimple affect under the tongue? Red pimples may appear under the tongue as a sign of disease or irritation from eating sugary, salty or acidic foods. Appearance of these bumps under the tongue may be a nuisance, painful, although they are likely to disappear on their own after a few days.

Viral infection (canker sore) may cause appearance of red bumps under the tongue. Mouth injuries, stress and food allergies are the main reason for appearance of red painful bumps with either yellow or white center.

An extra bone may form in the lower jaw (exostosis) and press into the tender under side of the tongue. If you are eating hard foods or crunchy you may accidentally poke this bump, which is very painful.

Appearance of hard pimple under the tongues can be a swollen submandibular lymph node as a result of oral infection, blocked salivary duct or benign or cyst growth. Painless lumps under the tongue may appear due to oral cancer, vascular mass, torus, sialocele, salivary duct stone or inclusion cyst.

Bumps on The Roof of The Mouth

Are you concerned you have a sore on the roof of your mouth? Mouth ulcers are not common. Eating hot food and taking hot drinks may burn the roof of your mouth (pizza palate). A burned palate takes 3-7 days to heal.

Don’t be surprised to feel canker sore on the roof of your mouth. The main cause of these masses, researchers believe is from issues concerned with immune system and triggered by stress, hormonal fluctuations and certain foods. These bumps may hurt for over 7 days and heal completely after 2 weeks.

Inflammation caused by cold sore, herpes simplex virus may affect the hard palate. These sore may be painful fluid filled blisters that raptures and crust to less painful lumps. Harmful oral cancer sores may also form in the roof of your mouth. If you have sore that hasn’t healed after 2 weeks seek medical attention from your dentist.

Bumps on The Taste Buds

Black hairy painless condition may occur when little bumps on your tongue grow and trap bacterial that live in your mouth. This make the tongue surface look black and hairy. The causes include:

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Smoking
  • Drinking a lot of coffee and tea
  • Inadequate production of saliva
  • Use of antibiotics.

Painful and Itchy Bumps on Tongue

Neuralgia is one of the causes of severe pain due that occurs along the damaged nerve on the tongue. This can occur due to diabetes, infections, tumors, aging and multiple sclerosis.

Remedies to Get Rid of Bumps on Tongue

One fundamental way of being able to address lie bumps is the ability to identify them and seek appropriate lifestyle changes and treatment. The following home remedies may be used to treat lie bumps.

  1. Gargle with warm salt water solution. Saline solution has antibacterial properties that may help relive inflammation of the tongue.
  2. Eat soothing foods such as daily products; ice cream, milk and yogurt may help alleviate pain and discomfort.
  3. Drinking cold or cool beverages as a normal daily routine may help soothe the tongue bumps and inflammation.
  4. Sucking on some ice cube may help provide additional relief for the lie bumps.
  5. Apply apple cider vinegar on the bump. ACV is a potent natural anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and antiseptic that may help reduce swollen bumps caused by stomatitis.
  6. Apply some baking soda on the affected area of the tongue. It is an anti- inflammatory agent that can help reduce, cleanse and get rid of lie bumps.
  7. Gargle with Aloe Vera solution, it’s a good anti-inflammatory and antibacterial agent.
  8. Applying hydrogen peroxide can help suppress spots, treat lesion, prevent infection and get rid of lie bumps. Hydrogen peroxide is a good anti-inflammatory and antibacterial agent.
  9. Topical application of tea tree oil can help prevent infections, swelling and unwanted spots on skin.
  10. Magnesia hydroxide generally known as magnesia milk have healthy effects on muscles and nerves. It can also help reduce acid concentration in stomach promoting healthy food digestion. This would help cure canker sores, constipation, skin rashes and gastric issues. Internal use should only through doctors’ prescriptions and direction.

Prevention Measures

  1. Natural remedies may help to relieve pain and heal your lie bumps easily and cost free. However, prevention is better than getting infected or more irritated.
  2. Avoid foods that cause tongue irritation or discomfort such as acidic foods and drinks (sodas, coffee, tomatoes, orange and citrus juice, pepper, cinnamon, mint or even chili powder).
  3. Avoid tobacco products like smoking cigarette and chewing tobacco.
  4. Maintain oral health by brushing and floss your mouth every day.
  5. Avoid squeezing, cutting, tweezing or scraping away inflamed lie bumps. This may lead to a lot of bleeding which can be difficult to stop and at times secondary infections.
  6. Gargle or Rinse with antiseptic or anesthetic mouthwash to treat infections and kill bacteria.
  7. Consult your doctor and seek his/her advice on how to take care of your mouth.
  8. Taking vitamin B supplements can help reduce lie bumps triggered by nutritional deficiency.