Causes & Natural Treatments for Bumps on Back of Tongue

Bumps on back of tongue

The appearance of a bump or a lump anywhere on our body is alarming. Any excess tissue growth can be either normal or cancerous. What if you spot bumps on back of tongue?

You will surely be concerned about “what are the red or white bumps on the back of my tongue?” They may be white, pale, or reddish bumps.

Bumps on the back of your tongue is not a serious condition, but you should get them checked. You may only notice these bumps when they hurt or while maintaining daily oral hygiene.

In this article, we will discuss causes and treatments of red or white bumps on the back of your tongue.

Also Read: How to Treat Bumps on the Roof of Mouth

Causes of White Bumps on Back of Tongue

The bumps on the back of your tongue can be white or red in appearance. You should first identify what type of bumps you have on your tongue.

Let’s see how white bumps appear like and their causes.

Your tongue has numerous tiny papillae. The size of papillae may vary from person to person. Some people have small papillae while others may have bigger. The size of tongue bumps is much more than the normal papillae (1).

You may notice yellowish white bumps on back of your tongue. The causes for the white bumps on your tongue are:

1. Canker Sores

Canker sores are a type of mouth ulcers. They can appear on your tongue or the gums. Mouth ulcers are caused due to many reasons such as stress, injury, vitamin deficiency or consumption of particular food.

Canker sores on the back of your tongue can look like white bumps. These bumps may hurt while speaking, eating or swallowing. In many cases, canker sores heal on their own in few weeks.

2. Oral Cancer

There are several causes of oral cancer. Smoking and chewing tobacco increase the chance of developing oral cancer. White bumps on your tongue may be one of the signs of oral cancer. A cancerous bump bleeds easily. One may also experience:

  • Bad breath
  • Numbness in the affected area
  • Sore throat
  • Ear pain

3. Syphilis

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) wherein you get a bacterial infection. In syphilis, you get painless sores on the tongue which look like white bumps. However, such lesions can also occur in other parts of your body like genitals or rectum.

4. Oral Thrush

Oral thrush is a fungal infection caused due to a yeast called candida. Poor oral hygiene can be the reason for the oral thrush. It can cause white or yellowish white bumps on your tongue.

Causes of Red Bumps on Back of Tongue

Your tongue contains papillae which aren’t visible until irritated. When you eat or drink hot, papillae enlarges and turns red. A sinus infection can also cause swelling of your papillae. Red bumps on

A sinus infection can also cause swelling of your papillae. Red bumps on tongue are nothing but the swollen red papillae.

Papillae at the back of your tongue are larger than those present on the front. To identify whether you have a swollen bump on your tongue, you need to understand the four types of papillae- filiform, fungiform, circumvallate, and foliate.

Fungiform and filiform papillae are present on the top surface of your tongue.

Circumvallate papillae are larger and present in V-shape at the back of your tongue.

Foliate papillae are present on the sides of your tongue.

Now you know the different types of papillae, let us also see the causes for the occurrence of red bumps:

1. Trauma or Injury

Injury due to a bite or a burn can cause red bumps to appear on your tongue. Such bumps usually occur at the site of injury and mostly in the front area of the tongue rather than on the back of your tongue.

2. Allergies

If you are allergic to a particular food or medicine, consuming the same can cause bumps on the tongue. Your bumps will be on the back side of your tongue, and they appear within a few minutes after consumption.

Allergy reaction may also affect other body parts such as face, skin or throat. Hence you must consult a doctor in case if the symptoms get unbearable.

3. Warts

Warts are caused by a virus and affect different parts of the body. When warts occur in the mouth, they also affect the tongue. They may cause painless, red or white bumps on back of tongue. Warts can spread by contact with one organ to another or from person to person.

4. Scarlet Fever

This is a bacterial infection which causes red rashes on the body. Symptoms also include fever, sore throat and inflamed tongue with red bumps (2). The bumps get larger as the fever increases.

5. Kawasaki Disease

This is an autoimmune disease typically affecting children (3). It causes inflammation of the walls of blood vessels. Kawasaki disease also causes red bumps on the back of your tongue. Related symptoms include:

  • Redness in the palms
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Cracked lips
  • Fever
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Joint pain

You should consult the doctor immediately if you see the symptoms.

6. Cancer

Any bump on your body should not be ignored if it remains for a long time. It can be a benign growth or can be malignant. In most cases, cancerous bumps on the tongue are reddish or white and can bleed easily. These red bumps are painful too.

Bumps on the Side of the Tongue

The causes for white or red bumps can also cause bumps on the side of your tongue. Broken teeth or ill-fitting dentures can also cause lesions on the side of your tongue. Consult your dentist in such scenario.

In the case of oral lichen planus, you may suffer from white patches or ulcers in the mouth. Oral lichen planus is a chronic autoimmune condition. The tongue gets inflamed on consuming spicy or acidic food. Avoid eating such triggering food and maintain a healthy oral hygiene.

Natural Treatments for Bumps on the Back of Tongue

In the typical case, your bumps will heal themselves in a week or two, if you avoid irritants that increase the pain.

Let’s discuss some home treatments to speed up the recovery for bumps on back of your tongue:

1. Salt Water Gargles

Salt water acts as antibacterial, and it also rinses out fluid collected during infection. It does not disturb the natural mucous and helps to heal the bumps.

Doctors recommend salt water gargle to maintain oral health. Dissolve half spoon salt in a half glass of warm water and gargle for 30 seconds.

2. Maintain a Good Oral Hygiene

Maintaining good oral hygiene can help you stay away from most of the diseases. When it comes to your mouth, oral hygiene can help prevent many oral issues or can prevent the existing infection.

Choose your toothpaste and toothbrush wisely. It should not be harsh on your delicate mouth tissues. You can also use mouthwash in case of bumps on your tongue.

The antiseptic or anti-aesthetic properties of the mouthwash can help recover your bumps on the tongue.

Drinking 8 to 10 glasses of water can help get rid of tongue bumps and other infections. It can keep you hydrated and your mouth less prone to microbial infections.

3. Avoid Triggering Food and Drinks

When you are trying to resolve the white or red bumps on your tongue, you must avoid food that irritates the bumps and causes pain. If acidic food or drinks such as tomatoes or citrus juices cause discomfort, you should avoid consuming them.

Also, you should not eat spicy food like red or black pepper to prevent irritating the bumps.

Quit smoking and alcohol consumption when you are trying to heal the white or red bumps on the tongue.

4. Consume Soothing Food and Drinks

Yogurt or cold water can reduce the inflammation and discomfort caused by the bumps on the tongue. Apply some ice chips which can also relieve the pain.

If mint does not irritate your bumps, chew mint leaves. They contain anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties that help the bumps to heal faster.

Consult a Doctor

When the above home remedies don’t work for you, and the discomfort increases, you must ask a doctor. Do not delay doctor’s visit as the bumps may be cancerous.

Treat the Bumps on your Tongue before It’s Too Late

While some bumps on back of the tongue may heal on their own, others kind of bumps may pose a serious deep rooted health condition.

For example, if you have symmetrical bumps on both the sides of your tongue, it is normal. But if bumps occur only on one side, it may have the possibility of being oral cancer or other severe disorders.

Bumps on back of tongue may be a sign of oral cancer, and so you must not ignore them. Follow primary treatments for a specific period after which you must consult the doctor.

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Madhvi Bhosale, Microbiologist

Madhvi Bhosale is a microbiologist (M.Sc.) and has experience of research in the field of molecular biology of malarial parasite P.falciparum. She has contributed in the research about P. falciparum epigenome. With the background of research about microbial diseases, she aspire to write health related articles which can help the readers to be aware and stay healthy. She also writes biology educational contents and story boards. With her creative mind, she produces a clear and refined audio-visual biology concepts. The sound knowledge of microbiology enables her to contribute significantly in writing all-inclusive health articles.