Bumps on Back of Tongue – Causes Symptoms and Treatments

How to get rid of bumps on back of tongue fast and naturally?A healthy tongue appears to be pink and covered with small bumps or nodules. These small bumps on the surface and sides of the tongue are called fungiform papillae. Unnoticeable under normal conditions, papillae give the tongue a rough texture and help taste food.  You only notice bumps on back of tongue if they become infected, swollen or inflamed. Some examples that contribute to this condition include bacterial or viral infections, allergic reaction, and injury.

Because the tongue helps us talk, eat, and swallow, it can be uncomfortable and exasperating when tongue problems arise, such as soreness and discoloration. Fortunately, there are many home remedies that can help you get rid of swollen bumps. Saline water, witch hazel, and apple cider vinegar contain antimicrobial properties that can assist in eliminating infections that cause inflammation on the papillae.

In this article, we will discuss the possible causes of bumps on back of tongue and treatments to get rid of bumps on back of tongue.

Bumps on Back of Tongue

Causes and Treatments for Bumps on Back of  Tongue

Let us take a look at the common causes of white or red bumps on tongue.

1. Canker Sores

Also known as aphthous ulcers, canker sores are shallow lesions that develop at the base of gums or on the soft tissues of the mouth. This condition can be painful and make talking and eating difficult. Canker sores are not contagious and usually go away within two weeks.

Minor canker sores are small and oval shaped. They heal in one or two weeks without scarring. Major canker sores are deeper and larger, usually with defined borders. They are extremely painful and may take up to six weeks to fade.

The common causes of canker sores include:

  • Minor injury to the mouth (cheek bite, dental work, etc.)
  • Food sensitivities
  • Lack of zinc, iron, folate, or vitamin B-12
  • Hormonal changes and stress
  • Toothpaste or mouthwash that contains sodium lauryl sulfate

To treat canker sores, rinse your mouth with salt water. You can also apply a small amount of magnesia milk on the area a few dimes daily. Avoid spicy, acidic and other abrasive foods to prevent further pain and inflammation. Make sure that you use a soft tooth brush when brushing your teeth.

If you develop unusually large canker sores, persistent sores, and high fever, visit a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.

2. Oral Thrush

Oral thrush is also known as oral candidiasis. The common cause is the fungus Candida albicans. This microorganism is normally present in the mouth but overgrowth can cause an infection and painful symptoms. Although this condition can occur to anyone, oral thrush is more likely to occur in older adults and babies due to low immunity. Other factors that can increase the risk of oral thrush include diabetes, certain medications, vaginal yeast infection, and other oral conditions.

The common signs and symptoms of oral thrush infection may include:

  • White lesions on inner cheeks, tongue, tonsils, gums, and roof of the mouth
  • Cottony or creamy feeling in the mouth
  • Raised lesions that look like cottage cheese
  • Soreness, redness or burning sensation
  • Redness and cracking at the corners of the mouth

To treat oral thrush, it is important to inhibit the growth and fungus. Treatments also depend on the cause, overall health, and age.

  • Infants and breastfeeding moms – Your doctor may recommend an antifungal cream for your breasts and antifungal medication for your baby.
  • Healthy children and adults – Your doctor may prescribe antifungal medication which comes in several forms, such as tablets, liquid or lozenges.
  • Adults with suppressed immune system – Your doctor may recommend an antifungal medication.

In addition to antifungal medications, you can also use salt water rinses and practice good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing daily.

3. Cold Sores

Also known as fever blisters, cold sores are a viral infection that may cause bumps on back of tongue. These small fluid-filled blisters appear on or around the lips and are usually grouped in patches. When blisters break, they create crusts and result in sores. Cold sores usually disappear within four weeks without scarring.

The common cause of cold sores is herpes simplex virus (HSV-1), but it can also be caused by HSV-2. The infection spread from one person to another by direct contact, such as kissing. People with strong immune system do not usually develop signs and symptoms. The virus lies dormant in the nerve cells and the occurrence may be triggered by:

  • Fever or viral infection
  • Stress and fatigue
  • Weakened immune system
  • Hormonal changes
  • Exposure to wind and sunlight

Cold sores clear up within four weeks, but the virus will remain in your nerve cells. Antiviral drugs that can help in accelerating the healing process include Valacyclovir (Valtrex), Acyclovir (Zovirax, Xerese), Famciclovir (Famvir), and Penciclovir (Denavir).

You can also alleviate pain and discomfort with over-the-counter creams for cold sores, lip balms and creams, and cool compress.

4. Lie Bumps (Transient Lingual Papillitis)

Lie bumps are small white or red bumps on the tongue that can be uncomfortable and painful. These bumps that feel or look like pimples can make be aching even when not drinking or eating. Lie bumps can be caused by high stress levels, trauma, eating too much spicy foods and sugary foods. Other possible causes are food allergies and gastrointestinal complications. This condition usually resolves in a few days and do not require treatment.

In most cases, over-the-counter treatments and home remedies can reduce the symptoms and speed up the process of recovering.

  • Gargle and rinse with salt water
  • Brush your teeth at least two times a day
  • Take OTC topical treatments, such as Zilactin
  • Do not eat irritating foods

See your doctor if the symptoms of lie bumps do not go away after a week to have the bumps examined. If lie bumps accompanied by other symptoms like fever and swollen glands, this condition may be eruptive lingual papillitis.

5. Scarlet Fever

A bacterial infection that develops in individuals who have strep throat, scarlet fever is one of the possible causes of bumps on back of tongue. Often, this condition is accompanied by a high fever and sore throat. Usually occurs in children between 5 to 15 years old, leaving scarlet fever untreated can lead to severe health conditions that affect the kidneys, heart, and other vital organs of the body.

Caused by Streptococcus bacteria, the common signs and symptoms of scarlet fever include:

  • Bumpy and red tongue (strawberry tongue)
  • Rashes that look like sunburn and turn pale when you press
  • Red lines in the folds of skin around knees, groin, neck and armpits
  • Flushed face

You may also experience fever of 38.3 C (101 F) or higher, red and sore throat, enlarged lymph nodes, headache, nausea or vomiting, and difficulty swallowing. See a doctor if your sore throat is severe and accompanied by a fever of 38.9 C (102 F) or higher. Your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic to get rid of the infection.

6. Syphilis

A bacterial infection commonly spread via sexual contact, Syphilis begins as a painless sore around the genital area, mouth or rectum. Caused by Treponema pallidum, this disease spreads by mucous membrane or skin contact with the sores. After direct contact, the syphilis bacteria lie dormant for years before becoming active. Without prompt treatment, it can damage the brain, heart, and other vital organs. It can also be passed to an unborn baby.

Syphilis occurs in stages which may overlap. Signs and symptoms may also occur in different order.

  • Primary syphilis – A painless small sore or sores develop at the exact spot where the syphilis bacteria entered the body. These usually appear after three weeks of exposure.
  • Secondary syphilis – A rash may start on the trunk and gradually covers other areas of the body, including soles of the feet and palms of your hands. In this stage, sores may appear in the genital area or mouth. You may also experience muscle pain, swollen lymph nodes, fever, and hair loss. These symptoms may disappear after a few weeks but may come back again.
  • Latent syphilis – Without any treatment, the disease will move to the latent syphilis stage. In this phase, no symptoms will develop and the condition may progress to the tertiary phase.
  • Tertiary syphilis – Individuals who do not get proper treatment may experience tertiary syphilis (late stage). In this phase, the disease may affect your nerves, brain, blood vessels, heart, joints, liver and bones.
  • Congenital syphilis – Infected infants acquire the condition during birth or through the placenta. Rashes may appear on the soles of feet and palms of hands. Later signs and symptoms may include saddle nose, deafness, and teeth deformities.

It is easy to cure syphilis when diagnoses early and treated promptly. Penicillin, an antibiotic medication, is preferred to kill the harmful organisms that cause the condition. Your doctor may also prescribe another antibiotic if you develop allergic reaction to penicillin.

If you experience any of the signs and symptoms of syphilis, see a doctor immediately for diagnosis and right treatment.

7. Squamous Cell Papilloma

A result of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection, squamous papilloma could be the cause of small, red or pink bumps on back of tongue. The noncancerous growths usually occur on the tongue but can also develop on the inside of the cheeks and on your lips. The bumps are usually pink or red, but when they grow bigger, the bumps become whitish and look similar to cauliflower.

The tongue bumps caused by HPV infection can be left alone unless they start to spread or cause discomfort. See your doctor if you experience symptoms that worry you. Surgical excision may be performed to remove the head and base of the lesion. In rare cases, papillomas in the throat area multiply and may interfere with breathing.

HPV infection occurs when the virus penetrates the body through a small tear in the skin, abrasion or a cut. The virus is transferred commonly by direct skin contact. There is no cure for HPV but its symptoms can be alleviated.

8. Mouth Cancer

Also known as oral cancer is a growth of cells or sore in the mouth that does not go away. It can develop in any part of the mouth, such as tongue, inner cheeks, lips, roof of the mouth, floor of the mouth, and gums. Mouth cancer and other neck and head cancers often have similar treatments.

Mouth or oral cancer occurs when cells in the mouth or on the lips develop DNA changes. The mutations let cancer cells grow continuously while damaging surrounding tissues. The accumulation of cancer cells creates a tumor. Without prompt treatment, it may spread to other areas of the mouth, neck, head, and parts of your body.

Other signs and symptoms of oral cancer may include:

  • Bleeding sore
  • A sore that does not heal
  • A lump, growth or thickening of the lining of the mouth or skin
  • Tongue pain
  • Jaw stiffness or pain
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing
  • Sore throat
  • Loose teeth
  • Poorly fitting dentures

If you have persistent symptoms that last more than two weeks, see a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.

9. Glossitis

Glossitis is the inflammation of the tongue and causes it to change in color and swell. It may cause small bumps on back of tongue or surface. Severe inflammation can result in difficulty eating and speaking. The common causes of glossitis include allergic reactions to food, medications or other irritants, iron deficiency, certain diseases like herpes simplex virus infection, and mouth trauma.

Other symptoms of glossitis include:

  • Swelling of the tongue
  • Tenderness or pain in the tongue
  • Tongue discoloration
  • Difficulty eating, speaking or swallowing
  • Loss of papillae on the tongue

Treatment for glossitis include antibiotics, other medications prescribed by your doctor, and home remedies. Brushing your teeth and flossing several times a day can improve the health of gums, teeth, and tongue.

Final Word

Most conditions that affect the tongue are not serious and can be treated with home remedies, such as saline water, aloe vera juice, lavender essential oil, licorice, and honey. Sore tongue and canker sores usually last for two to four weeks. If bumps on back of tongue cause you concern, you experience difficulty speaking, drinking or eating, see a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *