Bumps on the Back of My Tongue

posted in: General Dentistry | 0

You’ve taken a good look at your tongue in the mirror, and you can’t help but think what those tiny bumps at the back are. Are they normal? Should I be worried? Should I call my dentist?

Well, there’s no need to worry because we’re here to answer all your questions. 


For the most part, small bumps on the tongue are normal and a part of the tongue’s normal anatomy. However, sometimes these bumps can be inflamed, swollen, irritated, or infected. 

This can be due to a host of various reasons, but in order to correctly diagnose and treat them, we need to distinguish whether the bumps are normal or pathogenic. 


What Are the Bumps on Your Tongue Exactly?

In medical terminology, normal bumps on the tongue are commonly known as papillae. These papillae serve to help grip food for chewing and contain taste buds that allow us to savour the foods we love. 


Bumps on the Back of My Tongue


These bumps are typically unnoticeable, and you’d have to look really hard in the mirror to notice them. However, on rare occasions, these bumps can get irritated and become enlarged or painful due to a variety of reasons that vary in severity. 


This article is going to be all about the potential causes of bumps on the back of the tongue and how to treat them. So without further ado, let’s get to it!



Your tongue might get injured by accidentally biting on it or eating hard and sharp food items. This could cause localised swelling or bumps on the tongue that may or may not be painful in nature. 


The bump will almost always heal independently; you can facilitate the healing with ice packs and anaesthetic ointments. In case the lesion fails to heal within three weeks, please consult your dental care provider as soon as possible. 



Your tongue papillae might become irritated or enlarged due to certain foods or drinks. Usually, candies and acidic foods or drinks can lead to tongue irritation, which can lead to bumps or small swellings on your tongue. 

Bumps on the Back of My Tongue

Food-related irritation will heal on its own; just make sure to keep track of any recent dietary changes to narrow down the irritant. In order to facilitate healing, you should avoid hot, spicy, and acidic foods. Saline rinses and non-alcoholic mouthwashes will also help alleviate the irritation. 


Lie Bumps

Lie bumps are also known as transient lingual papillitis. It is a common condition that causes red and white bumps as a result of irritated papillae. These sores or bumps disappear on their own within a few days. 


A few things one can do to alleviate the symptoms is to avoid spicy and acidic foods and hard candies. Moreover, one should consume soft foods, maintain good oral hygiene, and use over-the-counter pain meds if needed. 


In case the bumps persist, your dentist might prescribe antivirals or antifungals to fight off the infection. 


Canker Sores

Canker sores or aphthous ulcers can appear anywhere in the mouth, including the tongue. These can occur due to accidental injuries like biting your tongue, food sensitivities, and stress, and are often associated with systemic diseases that affect the digestive system. 

Bumps on the Back of My Tongue

Canker sores will heal on their own in about 7-10 days. You can use painkillers and topical ointments to alleviate some of the symptoms. If the sores persist for over 2-3 weeks, you should consult your dentist for the next course of action. 



A fibroma or traumatic fibroma is a smooth hyperplastic growth that looks the same as its surrounding tissue. It is most commonly formed on the tongue due to chronic irritation that might be because of a sharp tooth edge, a dental prosthesis, or some other factor. 


Fibromas are benign and don’t pose any significant threat. They consist primarily of scar tissue and need to be surgically removed. After the removal of a fibroma, it is vital to address the cause of chronic irritation, or the fibroma will reform again. 



Often times your tongue can develop small bumps or become swollen as a whole due to particular food or medicine allergies. 


In case of an allergic reaction, you should be vigilant in seeking immediate medical attention if you are exhibiting symptoms of anaphylaxis. These include a swollen tongue or lips, rashes, and breathing difficulties. 



Syphilis is a sexually transmitted bacterial infection that causes small sores or bumps all over the tongue during the second phase of infection. 

Bumps on the Back of My Tongue

Syphilis is a very serious disease and requires urgent medical attention. The treatment involves a rigorous course of antibiotics. If you notice sores on your tongue accompanied by a rash on your body and groin area that won’t go away on its own, contact your physician as soon as possible. 


Scarlet Fever

Scarlet fever is a bacterial infection that causes the characteristic strawberry tongue. The tongue becomes swollen, covered in bumps, and red. This condition is more common in children as compared to adults. 


Scarlet fever is treated with routine antibiotics; the tongue heals as the infection subsides. It is essential to treat scarlet fever as it can result in critical complications. 


Oral Herpes

Herpes is a very common viral infection that can cause painful sores and bumps on the tongue and gums, albeit rarely. This contagious infection can easily be passed on through saliva and contact with the infected area. 


The treatment of oral herpes involves the use of antiviral medications and topical ointments and over-the-counter pain medications. It is very rare for sores to appear inside the mouth as the disease usually doesn’t present in this pattern. 


Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is the worst-case scenario for tongue bumps, swellings, or ulcers. The most common type of tongue cancer is oral squamous cell carcinoma which presents itself on the lateral aspects of the tongue. 


If any lesion or bump on your tongue persists for over two weeks, be sure to get it checked out by a qualified dentist. If the bumps or swelling seems suspicious, your dentist will order a biopsy to rule out any malignancy. 


The treatment for oral cancer will depend on the stage and type of cancer. Your treating physician will decide whether to go with surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy. 


Looking for a Consult?

If you’re worried about the bumps on your tongue and want to get them checked out, look no further than Vue Dental


Get a consult with Dr Keshavi Patel today by calling us at 512-888-9340 or book an appointment online via our website. We offer all sorts of dental services, so feel free to contact us with any query related to your smile!