White Bumps on Tongue Causes: Back, Tip, Side, under, Treat

White bumps or pimples are small swelling that can develop on different parts of your tongue i.e. on or under the tongue, on the tip, sides or back.
There are a variety of reasons that can result to bumps on your tongue. Most of the bumps are harmless to your health while some can be symptomatic to serious body underlying conditions.
Both children and adults can experience bumps of different sizes and shapes depending on the cause. Some of them are also characterized with other symptoms like inflammation, pain or a burning sensation.
This discomforts may affect the daily normal functions of the tongue that includes speech, chewing, swallowing and testing defferent elements in food i.e. salty, sweet and sour. The tongue has normal tiny bumps known as papillae.

What Causes White Bumps on Tongue?

Bumps can also develop due to the following:

  1. Lie bumps or transient lingual papillitis

White bumps may develop on your tongue when the papillae becomes swollen due to irritations. Many people normally suffers from this condition. The exact cause of lie bumps is unknown although it is linked to stress, hormonal imbalances and certain food allergies.
Transient lingual papillitis is not a problem to worry about. The bumps normally clears on their own without treatment after a few days although they can recur again. This condition is common among children and can be accompanied with fever and swollen glands.

  1. Injuries to the tongue

The common injuries to the tongue normally results from tongue biting, using rough toothbrush to clean your tongue and wearing ill-fitting dentures. They causes irritations to the tongue that can trigger white bumps on side of tongue and other parts.
Tongue injuries are usually accompanied with other symptoms like pain or a burning sensation. Taking over-the-counter pain relievers can help to alleviate the pain. However, rinsing your mouth with antiseptic mouthwash can help to get rid of the bumps.

  1. Canker sores

Canker sores can also result to painful white bumps on tongue and other parts of your mouth. The cause is unknown although they are triggered by minor injuries to the tongue, excessive stress, hormonal imbalances, allergic reactions and poor immune system.
The good news is that, canker sores normally heals without treatment within 7 to 10 day. To speed up the healing process, you can use over-the-counter pain relievers and some of the home remedies for canker sores. However, don’t hesitate to visit your doctor when it is accompanied with fever or when it recurs frequently after a short time.

  1. Allergic reaction

White bumps can develop on your tongue after encountering an allergen. The common allergic reactions normally results from eating certain foods, some dental care products and medication. The bumps are usually larger towards the back of the tongue.
An allergic reaction is usually characterized with other symptoms like sore throat, nausea, vomiting, skin rash and runny nose among others. It is important to visit your healthcare provider when experiencing complications like difficulties in breathing and chest pain. However, minor allergic tongue swellings can be treated by taking some antihistamines.

  1. Oral cancer

Oral cancer causes appearance of white or red bumps in the mouth that does not go away. Oral cancer normally affects the lips, tongue, cheeks and floor of the mouth. It is characterized with various symptoms that includes white bumps on tongue and sore throat, hoarseness, difficulties in chewing and swallowing food, numbness, persistence soreness and weight loss.
The chances of getting oral cancer increases due to smoking, excessive consumption of alcohol, using smokeless tobacco, excessive sun exposure, having a family history of cancer and suffering from other conditions like human papilloma virus.
It is recommended to visit your doctor when having bumps in the mouth or on tongue that does not go away. Oral cancer can easily be treated when discovered earlier. Various treatments like surgery to remove the growth and radiotherapy or chemotherapy.

  1. Smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol

Tobacco or weed smoke and alcohol contain harmful chemicals that causes irritation of the taste buds to form bumps. Food particles, dead cells and other debris can get trapped in the swollen taste buds to make them appear as white bumps.
In addition, smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol increases your risk of contracting life threatening diseases like oral cancer. As you read above oral cancer is also the major cause of white bumps on your tongue. It is therefore important to quit alcohol and smoking and focus on cleaning your tongue and other oral cavities.

  1. Oral thrush

White bumps on tongue can also result from oral thrush. This is a fungal infection that causes the affected tongue to develop bumps that are covered with a white or a yellow coating. Oral thrush normally affects different parts of your mouth like the gums, palate and the tonsils.
This infection is caused by a yeast known as candida. It is characterized with other symptoms that include: white patches in the mouth, loss of taste, cracked mouth corners and painful sensation from the affected areas.
There are various risk factors that triggers the outbreak of oral thrush. Some of the factors includes practicing poor oral hygiene, wearing dentures, dry mouth, smoking, taking antibiotics for a long time, weak immune system and some of the cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

  1. Syphilis

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection that is characterized by small painless bumps to develop on different parts of the mouth including the tongue and on the genitals. When suffering from this infection you are also likely to develop white patches in the mouth and a red rash on the palms and soles of your feet.
The bumps normally disappears and reappear during the second stage. When discovered earlier, it can be treated easily using an antibiotic injection or taking a course of antibiotic tablets. However, it is important to refrain from engaging in sexual activities until it is healed.

  1. Tongue piercing

Different types of tongue piercing like horizontal tongue piercing, venom tongue piercing and snake eye tongue piercing can lead to a white bumps on tongue near the pierced site. This may be an indication that your piercing is infected.
The bump may be accompanied with other symptoms like bleeding, presence of yellow or green discharge from the pierced site, pain, itching and redness. Consult your professional tongue piercing when you start to experience the first signs of an infection.

  1. Poor oral hygiene

Dead cells, food particles and other debris can accumulate on the surface of the tongue blocking the pores. The accumulated materials can also harbor bacteria and other pathogenic micro-organisms that can cause an infection that can lead to bumps.

Reasons for White Bumps on Back of Tongue

There are various reasons that can cause white bumps to appear on the back of your tongue. In the first place, it is important to understand that you have normal bumps on the back of the tongue. It is natural for everybody to have some bumps at the back of the tongue. The size may vary from tiny bumps to large from one person to the other.
Different factors like eating spicy, salty or acidic foods and drinks may irritate such bumps making them to appear bigger. You should also expect to have enlarged taste buds when suffering from various underlying body conditions like sinuses, hyperthyroidism and others.
Practicing poor oral care hygiene may cause food particles, bacteria and other debris to accumulate on the surface of such bumps. This may make them to appear white in color or they may cause an infection that causes inflammation.
Suffering from sexually transmitted infections can also result to white bumps on tongue especially at the back. STDs that are caused by virus or bacteria such as Syphilis and HIV can cause sores or bumps to develop on the various parts of your mouth. They may also trigger inflammation of the normal bumps at the back of your tongue.
An allergic reaction can also cause white bumps to appear at the back of tongue, sides and even under. This happen after encountering an allergen in food, oral care products or in medicines. An allergic reaction is accompanied with other symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, vomiting, sore throat, skin rash among others.
Having conditions like Leukoplakia causes excessive growth of cells in the mouth that may lead white bumps or patches on different parts of the tongue including at the back, on the lips, floor and roof of the mouth and inside the cheeks.
There is no specific cause of leukoplakia although it is linked to smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol, injuries to the oral tissues, too much exposure to the sun, taking a course of antibiotic and having other oral infections like oral cancer.

What does White Bumps on Side of Tongue mean?

What is the meaning of having white bumps on the sides of your tongue? White bumps on the sides of your tongue can result from a number of causes. The common causes includes tongue cancer, canker sores, oral thrush, and irritation from ill-fitting dentures, poor oral hygiene and other oral infections.
When the bumps on the sides of your tongue get infected, they may be characterized with other symptoms like pain, inflammation, burning sensation or bleeding. This may cause a lot of discomforts when chewing and swallowing food.
Oral cancer is also characterized with white bumps on side of tongue and sore throat. Such bumps don’t go away even after tying some of the home remedies treatment. They may spread to the underside of tongue and floor of the mouth during the second stage.
Most people normally discover that they are suffering from oral cancer during the second stage when it has already caused a big damage. The chances of survival are higher when cancer is discovered early. It can be treated using various treatments like surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

Does STD Causes White Bumps on Tongue?

White bumps on the tongue can also result from sexually transmitted diseases or infections. The major STD that results to this tongue condition includes syphilis and HIV. This infections are also accompanied with other symptoms that includes sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, rashes on genitals and some other parts of the body among other symptoms.
Syphilis is caused by the bacterium treponema pallidum. The symptoms of this infection varies depending with the stage. It results to a single painless bump during the primary stage. The secondary stage is normally accompanied with multiple sore and rash on the feet soles and palm. The sores also develops on the mouth and genitals.
Syphilis is transmitted through sexual activities and also from the mother to the baby during delivery. This infection is treated using antibiotic injection or taking a course of anti-biotic tablets.
HIV infection is the other common cause of white bumps on the mouth including the tongue. It is also accompanied with other symptoms like sore throat, dry cough, sores on the skin, rapid weight loss, fatigue and pneumonia among other symptoms.
There is no treatment for HIV and AIDS, it is therefore important to protect yourself by having protected sex, having one faithful sexual partner and getting tested after every three month.

Why do I have White Bumps on Tip of Tongue?

The common cause of white bumps on tip of the tongue is tobacco smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol. Tobacco smoke and alcohol contain toxic chemicals that causes irritation of the taste buds located at the tip of your tongue. They may also leads to an infection that causes zits to appear on your tongue.
Injuries or trauma to the tip of the tongue can result to painful bumps. The common injuries are caused by accidentally tongue biting, tongue piercing, taking very hot, spicy or acidic foods and drink. The injury can also get infected leading to various symptoms like pain, inflammation or a burning sensation.
White spots on the tip of the tongue can also result from oral infections and diseases like, oral cancer, oral thrush and canker sores. This infections can affect both adults and children. It is important to get diagnosed to determine the specific cause of your condition before trying the various treatments.

Can you have White Bumps on Tongue and Sore Throat?

It is common to have white bumps on your tongue when having a sore throat. Sore throat simply occurs due to a viral infection that brings the cold. This normally happen when your immune system is weak. It therefore creates a chance for bacteria to multiply and spread to cause inflammation of the taste buds located on the surface of the tongue. Other causes includes:

  • Thyroid cancer. It causes white bumps on the tongue and throat. Other symptoms included cough, swollen lymph nodes and hoarseness among others.
  • Allergic reactions
  • Strep throat.

It is important to consult your doctor when having white pimples or bumps on the tongue and throat. It may result from life threatening conditions that requires immediate treatment. However, less serious conditions can be treated by using some of the home remedies treatment.

How to Treat white Bumps on your Tongue

Most of the white tongue bumps usually heals on their own without treatment while others may require a medical treatment to get rid of the underlying condition. However, you can use the following remedies to speed up the healing process and alleviate the discomforts that are associated with the bumps.

  • Gargle with a saline solution

Salt water contains antibacterial properties that will help to kill germ and other micro-organisms that causes bumps on your mouth. It also helps to relieve any swelling and inflammations that may be present with the bumps.
Simply dissolve 1 tablespoon of sea salt in a glass of warm water. Gargle the solution in your mouth for at least half a minutes before spitting it out. Use the salt solution after taking every meal daily until when your condition improves.

  • Maintain a good oral hygiene

Use a soft bristle brush to clean your teeth and tongue after taking every meal. It is also important to floss your teeth regularly. This may help to get rid of the white bumps before contracting an infection. You can also use a tongue scraper to remove all the debris that accumulates on the tongue.
Rinse your mouth with a high quality mouthwash for at least twice daily. It helps to kill the bacteria that can cause an infection. Avoid using a mouthwash that contains alcohol as it may cause irritation of the bumps.

  • Avoid foods and products that triggers irritation

It is important to avoid certain foods that causes irritation or pain when trying to get rid of white bumps on tongue fast. Acidic foods and drinks such as tomatoes, citrus fruits, coffee and sodas can cause irritation and other discomforts. You should also exclude some spices in your meals like chili powder, pepper, cinnamon or mint.
Refrain from food and oral care products that triggers an allergic reaction like eggs, shellfish, wheat and others. It is also advisable to quit smoking and alcohol consumption when trying to resolve your tongue condition.

  • Eat cold and soft foods and drinks

Consuming cold and soft foods and drinks reduces the inflammation and other discomforts that comes with tongue bumps. Drinking ice cold water or drinks help to numb the tongue temporarily. Soft foods prevents further damage to your tongue.
Stick to soothing foods like ice cream, yogurt, milk and other soft drinks. Avoid consuming hard foods like snacks, chips, crispy and other hot foods and drinks.

  • Apply some ice chips on the tongue

Allowing some ice chips to melt of the surface of your tongue may help to provide an addition pain relief from the bumps. It aids in numbing the affected areas temporarily as well as reducing any swelling that may be present.
The ice also moisturizes your mouth preventing it from dryness. To use this remedy, you simply place some ice chips on the tongue and allow it to melt. Avoid sucking on the ice as it may cause damage to the bumps.

  • Chew some mint leaves

Mint leaves are effective on how to get rid of white bumps on tongue that hurt. It contains both anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties that relieves the pain as well as guarding the bumps against infections. You simply chew some mint leaves daily before going to bed until when your condition heals.

  • Use over-the-counter products

There are various over the counter antiseptic products that can help to get rid of the bumps fast. Covering the bumps with Oral base or Zilactin prevents irritations and speeds up the healing process without exposing them to infection.
There are also various antiseptic and an aesthetic mouthwash containing benzydamine or chlorhexidine that you can use without doctor’s prescription. They helps to relieve pain and well as preventing bacterial infections. Use these products as directed by the manufactures instruction.

  • Consult your dentist or doctor

Tongue bumps that are caused by serious underlying conditions like canker may not disappear even after trying the above remedies and treatment. It is therefore important to make an appointment with your doctor when having bumps that are related to fungal, viral or bacterial infection, bumps that are persistence or when they causes excessive pain or bleeding.
The doctor will diagnose your condition to determine the cause. He or she may perform blood test or oral culture test to find out the cause behind your condition. The doctor will therefore prescribe the medicines to use.

Further References:

  1. Tongue bumps: http://www.healthline.com/health/dental-and-oral-health/tongue-bumps#Overview1
  2. Tongue problem basics: http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/tongue-problem-basics-sore-or-discolored-tongue-and-tongue-bumps?page=3