Tongue Bumps: 9 Types and Causes

Tongue Bumps

Tongue bumps appear due to several reasons. While most of them go harmless, they serve as an indication of an infection or a disease.

We always use our tongue for tasting food items or swallowing refreshing drinks. But, there are many reasons why people may have to bear bumps.

Your tongue contains fungiform papillae that are small bumps, giving your tongue a rough texture helping you taste and eat foods.

Moreover, several reasons exist why these papillae enlarge. While most of them aren’t serious, you’ll need to consult your doctor if tongue bumps persist.

So what are the causes behind them? Let’s detail them below.

Types and Causes of Tongue Bumps

1) Oral Thrush


Oral thrush usually relates to yeast infection due to strains of Candida spp.

It’s more likely that aged people and infants have this condition. Yet, people taking steroids might also get oral thrush.

Often, individuals suffering from an oral thrush might observe white bumps towards the inner cheek and tongue. Blood may also ooze out in case the bumps are scraped.

oral-thrush tongue bumps

The person might find it tough to swallow and deal with the cracked skin around the corners of the mouth. As far as the causes are concerned, it might be due to a weak immune system or chemotherapy, killing healthy cells.

Diabetes is yet another ailment that can be the root cause of oral thrush. Suppose the pregnant woman is suffering from a vaginal yeast infection. In that case, the baby might get infected once it is completely developed.

2) Leukoplakia


Leukoplakia is nothing but a medical condition that leads to excessive growth of cells in the mouth.

The white patches on the tongue may indicate cancer or bring in an irritating sensation due to the presence of foreign bodies.

Leukoplakia usually occurs around the gums, inside the cheeks, or beneath the tongue.


Though the exact cause of the condition is not determined, excessive smoking can be the prime cause.

If you come across hairy leukoplakia, then it is owing to the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), which enters the body and remains dormant for quite some time. However, the outbreak is common in AIDS or several problems associated with the immune system.

3) Oral Fibroma


Oral fibroma is observed whenever a person has to bear an irritating sensation and a scar-like reaction.

Usually, the condition is prevalent in adults who bite their lips and cheeks or constantly rub a rough tooth.

The common location for oral fibroma is along the inside of the cheeks, where the lower and upper teeth are in contact. Besides the appearance, no symptoms are related to oral fibroma.


However, the bumps might grow up to 1 cm in diameter across a period of a few weeks and months.

4) Lymphoepithelial Cysts


Known as branchial cyst, lymphoepithelial cysts are considered to be benign.

While you might observe the condition in the form of multilocular or unilocular lesions, the cysts contain a yellow-colored non-viscous fluid.

The cysts are always prominent in people who are suffering from sexually transmitted diseases like AIDS.


These normally occur in an individual whose age lies between 30 and 68 years. Moreover, the cyst may start paining if the cheeks are injured or eating something hard.

5) Canker Sores


Canker sores can occur anywhere in the mouth, including the areas beneath the tongue.

As the cause of the red sores is unknown, they are not contagious and get better within 10 days.

The painful sensation normally arises around the lips or the cheeks.


It’s never difficult to diagnose the bumps because they experience a tingling sensation, a red area in the mouth or yellow oval-shaped ulcers. But, if the condition becomes severe, then the lymph might get swollen or feel feverish.

6) Lie Bumps


In case the papillae get swollen, then the condition is diagnosed as lie bumps.

Among the variants, eruptive lingual papillitis is common in children and is likely to be contagious.

Even though doctors haven’t found the root cause, lie bumps may be associated with stress, hormonal imbalance, and consumption of some foodstuffs.

liebumps tongue bumps

Though the person can get rid of the lie bumps through remedies, the bumps may recur over a while.

7) Squamous Papilloma


Squamous cell papilloma is caused due to the infection of the human papillomavirus (HPV) transmitted due to oral sex.

Apart from skin infection, the virus may also affect the mouth and the throat.

As a single lesion is commonly observed, the person may get irritated due to finger-size projections.


If the keratin has built up around the lesion, then the projections might become long and pointed at the end.  On the other hand, less keratinized lesions resemble a small raspberry as they are pink or red.

8) Scarlet Fever


Also known as “strawberry tongue,” Scarlet fever may cause the tongue to swell and make it look red.

The bacterium Streptococcus pyogenes, or group A beta-hemolytic Streptococcus, is the prime cause of the infection.

While the area around the mouth might burn, the individual might have a tough time swallowing foodstuffs.


The area becomes red only when white coats forms on the tongue, and they tend to peel off after some time.

9) Glossitis


Glossitis usually refers to tongue sores that leave behind a reddish surface.

As the tongue appears smooth and shiny, there’s always a considerable loss of lingual papillae.

Due to swelling, the person might find it difficult to chew or swallow and speak with someone else.

Glossitis tongue bumps

If the causes have to be noted down, then the tongue condition could be due to Anemia, Vitamin B deficiency and viral, bacterial or fungal infection. At a later stage, the person might have to bear Syphilis due to Glossitis and atrophy of lingual papillae.

Key Takeaways

On a concluding note, tongue bumps are usually harmless. However, they may be a sign of a more severe oral infection or disease.

Thus, you should always eat nutrient-rich foods and maintain oral hygiene from time to time.

Hardip Koradia

Hardip Koradia is a pro health blogger with years of experience in writing resourceful articles on different health topics like alternative health, natural health, home remedies, yoga, diet, etc. His passion for health inspired him to start AyurHealthTips, a growing health blog.

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