Bumps on Back of Tongue

What causes bumps on the back of tongue? Is it due to sore throat, std, strep or cancer? Here are symptoms, treatment and pictures of white, red and big bumps on tongue.

Although the bumps on tongue can natural, big, red or white bumps at the back of the tongue, on sides and under the tongue are unusual. There are many serious conditions that associate such symptoms, therefore investigation to know the causes and hence treatment is important.

Causes of bumps on back of tongue

Here are the the causes for the red or big bumps at the back, under or on the sides of your tongue:

Natural Bumps

Bumps on back of tongue
Natural Bumps on back of tongue

The tongue as the strongest muscle in the body contain small nodules regarded as papillae. These structures house the taste buds and they appear structurally as bumps. At the back of the mouth, there are also lingual tonsils that are round in shape.

Due to various uses of the tongue such as tasting, talking and mixing food, natural bumps on the tongue can be affected in various ways that makes them slightly changed in the color or shape. Naturally the tongue is pink in color and when you see white, red, black or brown then something is wrong.

Lie Bumps

Almost everyone experience lie bumps at a point in life. These are small white or red bumps that are formed on tongue when the papillae becomes irritated and inflamed hence uncomfortable. This is mainly due to stress, trauma, hormones and allergic reactions.

Lie bumps are not contagious and symptoms usually go away within few days without any serious treatment. Eruptive papillitis is a common condition in children and it is characterized by fever and swollen glands. This contagious ailment is associated by viral infection and should be treated uregently.

Trauma and Tension

Biting or scalding your tongue accidentally can traumatize it hence causing formation of bumps especially at the tip of the tongue. Also when you clench your teeth there is possibility of soreness and painful bumps formation at the sides of the tongue.

Stress, smoking, physical injury, gastrointestinal upset, sour or acidic food and menstruation are some of the major causes of such trauma and tension. Lie bumps are often caused by the taste bud/buds splitting.

Allergic Reactions

When the tongue gets in contact with some substances, allergic reactions can take place leading to formation of bumps on back of tongue, side or under the tongue. Such irritants include; medicines, drugs and food substances.

LeukoplakiaRed bumps on back of tongue

This is a condition that causes excessive growth of cells in the mouth hence leading to the formation of white patches in the mouth, on the lips, gums, tongue, inside cheeks and on the floor or roof of the mouth.

What causes leukoplakia?

There are is no specific medical test for this condition but experts have established some of the main factors that can increase the chances of as follows:

  • Persistent candida infections can lead to candida leukoplakia.
  • Heavy tobacco smoking and regular consumption of alcohol.
  • Frictional keratosis due to misaligned teeth, regular tongue or cheek biting and ill fitted dentures.
  • Deficiency of vitamins in the body especially A or B.
  • Presence of other conditions such as oral thrush or oral lichen planus.
  • Too much sun exposure to the lips.
  • Oral cancer, HIV or AIDS.
  • Hairy leukoplakia is mainly caused by viral infection (Epstein – Barr virus).

Symptoms of Leukoplakia

Bumps on back of tongue, spots and patches in the mouth are main symptom of this condition. It may also be hard to rule out if there are symptoms since they don’t usually affect a person’s way of living. It is therefore important to conduct your dentist or doctor for checkup that will enable treatment.

Grey colored patches on the gums and roof of the mouth is also a symptom. These patches develop slowly from weeks to month after which they eventually form a slightly raised rough and hardened texture. In is normally without pain but may feel sensitive to touch, heat and spicy foods among others.

How to Treat Leukoplakia

This condition doesn’t cause permanent damage to tissues in the mouth although it can easily lead to a more serious mouth and tongue problem such as oral cancer. Therefore it should appropriately be examined and treated. The dentist will carry out diagnosis and may recommend biopsy a test that rules out other causes such as oral cancer. During biopsy, there is removal of a small piece of the tissue from the lesion and examined in the lab.

Here are the best ways on how to get rid of leukoplakia:

  • Stop regular consumption of alcohol and avoid heavy smoking or chewing of tobacco since they are the main causes.
  • Surgical removal of the lesion by the dentist or oral surgeon especially for patients who are likely to develop oral cancer.
  • A diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables may help in improving the immune system to fight the cases.

Canker Sores

Canker sores can cause bumps anywhere in the mouth including on sides and under the tongue. It is characterized by white or red painful bumps although not contagious. The real cause for this condition is not known and symptoms go away after few days without treatment.

You will have to see your doctor when symptoms persist for more than 10 days especially when it associate fever. The doctor may prescribe over the counter painkillers or tropical treatments to ease the symptoms.

Oral Thrush (Candidiasis)

This is a fungal infection of the mouth caused by a group of yeasts called Candida. It is not contagious and can successfully be diagnosed and treated by antifungal medications. The condition is more common in infants although adults are also at risk.

Oral thrush is also characterized by formation of bumps, swelling of the tongue and painful soreness. When you don’t take appropriate measures the yeast will multiply causing mouth ulcers due to rupturing and bleeding of the lie bumps.

What Causes Oral Thrush

Naturally, there are low numbers of candida fungus in the mouth and digestive system of most human beings. They cause no problem except only when they multiply and increase in numbers due to the following factors:

  • Use of antibiotics for a longer period or at high dose.
  • Generally poor oral hygiene.
  • Chemotherapy, or radiotherapy for the treatment of cancer.
  • Using inhaled corticosteroid medication especially for asthma.
  • Dry mouth due to underlying medical condition or due to medicines you are taking.
  • Poorly fitted dentures.
  • Underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, iron deficiency, vitamin B12 deficiency, HIV and underactive thyroid among others.

How to Treat Oral Thrush

Oral thrush can successfully be treated with antifungal medicines in form of gels, capsules and tablets. While using tropical medication, regular use on daily basis is recommendable.

There are possibilities of side effects while using such medication. This include nausea, bloating, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain and bloating.

Antibiotics or corticosteroids use may also lead to oral thrush and for such a case, a different administration method may be preferable as well as reduction on the dose.

Symptoms of Oral Thrush

  • Creamy white lesions on tongue or inner cheeks.
  • White patches in the mouth.
  • Red spots on the tongue.
  • White spots on tongue, tonsil and inside cheeks.
  • White, red or big bumps on back of tongue.
  • Painful irritating and burning sensation in the mouth.
  • Cracks at the corners of your mouth.
  • Lack of appetite and bad taste in the mouth.
  • Difficult in eating, drinking and swallowing especially in babies.

How to Prevent Oral Thrush

You can prevent oral thrush through different ways among them include the following:

  • Rinse you mouth after every meal.
  • Using fluoride toothpaste to brush at least twice a day.
  • Clean the gums, tongue and inside the mouth by brushing with a soft brush at least twice a day.
  • Regularly visit a dentist for check-ups and if your dentures are not properly fitting.
  • Remove and clean your dentures every night. Use soap or paste and water to clean before placing them in a provided solution of water and denture cleaning tablets.
  • Rinse your mouth thoroughly with water and spit it out after using a spacer and corticosteroid inhaler.
  • Get treatment of any underlying medical condition.

Majority of the victims to this condition are the tobacco smokers. Constant irritation of the mouth and tongue can also lead to leukoplakia. Therefore see a doctor or a dentist for diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible you realize the symptoms.

Kawasaki syndrome

The ailment is common among children below the age of five years. The diseases affects the blood supply and vessels in the body causing a brown or red tongue appearance. The syndrome is associated with other symptoms such as high fever, swelling of the hand and redness in the feet. Consult a doctor for the treatment of Kawasaki syndrome.

Vitamins Deficiency

When the body is in deficiency of essential vitamins such as Vitamin B-12 and folic acid, the tongue will be the immediate organ to get affected. This is implicated by the changing of the tongue color to reddish, strawberry or brown. Intake of food substances rich with these elements is the best way of preventing and getting rid of the problem.

Oral Cancer

Bumps on back of tongue that associate pain and soreness may be a sign of oral cancer. Bumps of this nature are normally red or white in color and they are also likely to bleed. Patients with such a problem will find it difficult chewing or swallowing anything due to severe pain.

Mouth ulcers and burning mouth syndrome is also a sign of mouth cancer. The tongue will have a burning feeling. Stress and menopause are closely related to cause this kind of symptoms in the mouth as well. The best way to establish the causes is by seeking medical attention from you doctor.


This is a sexually transmitted disease (STD). At the initial stage, it is characterized by small painless sores that eventually intensify to a severe rash. As the ailment progress, sores and bumps on the tongue forms. It is a life threatening infection when not treated. Strong antibiotics are suitable for the treatment of syphilis.

Lymphoepithelial cyst is a condition characterized by yellow cysts and bumps under tongue. The real cause is not known. Surgical treatment is the best for removal of the cysts under the tongue.

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.

Enlarged Papillae on Back of Tongue

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.

Treatment and Home remedies

Here are self-help and home remedies for the treatment of spots and bumps on tongue.

  • Apply some sea salt solution or an antiseptic solution to the bumps using a clean cotton ball.
  • Take antihistamine drugs that minimizes on trauma and tension.
  • Apply some ice to prevent inflammation and take some pain killers.
  • Use medicated mouth wash at least twice or thrice a day in cleaning your mouth.
  • Apply milk of magnesia using a clean cotton ball to the bumps for twice a day.
  • Reduce on consumption of tobacco and well as minimizing on smoking. Tobacco is one of the major causes of bumps on tongue and mouth.
  • Drink sufficient amount of water. Water not only keeps human body hydrated but also helps in washing out toxins.
  • Spicy and fatty foods can contribute to irritation of the mouth and attraction of bacteria. Minimize or avoid consumption of such food material.
  • Apply a mixture of water and hydrogen peroxide on the white spots on tongue for at least three times a day using a clean cotton ball.
  • Frequently visit a dentist to examine your mouth and recommend treatment for any spots on tongue.

White Bumps on Back of Tongue

Here are causes of white bumps on tongue.

  1. Trauma: when you accidentally hurt your tongue it can become sore and painful due to trauma. This mostly happens during teeth grinding and friction while chewing hard food materials.
  2. Smoking: white bumps on tongue can also be caused by smoking which also makes them irritating and painful.
  3. Underlying medical conditions: Diabetes, HIV and anemia are some of the diseases that causes painful and sore white bumps.
  4. Canker sores: These are mouth ulcers that develop with no reasons and are mainly associated with stress.
  5. Enlarged papillae: It can be your taste buds which gets irritated, swollen or inflamed due to irritants and smoking.
  6. Oral cancer: This is a rare mouth condition that can cause sores, pain and bumps. It is nothing to worry about but it is good to check with your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

Red Bumps on Tongue

The normal natural bumps on tongue are usually pink in color. Red bumps or spots can be sign of an infection. Medical examination and diagnosis should be undertaken to determine the cause for appropriate treatment. Here are some of the main cause or red tongue.

  1. Vitamin Deficiency: Lack of sufficient amount of vitamin B-12 and folic acid.
  2. Geographic tongue: A condition also known as benign migratory glossitis and is characterized by red patches on tongue with white border around it.
  3. Scarlet fever: This also causes a red or strawberry tongue and the patient should seek urgent medical attention from the doctor.
  4. Kawasaki syndrome: This is a disease common in children under 5 years of age. It causes red tongue, high fever, redness and swelling of hands and feet. It is highly contagious and urgent medical attention is recommended.

How to Get Rid of Bumps on Back of 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 bumps on back of tongue. 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.

Proper oral hygiene and frequent medical checkups are the best way to prevent and cure bumps on back of tongue. Avoid use of substances that may cause tongue and mouth problems.

Proper oral hygiene and frequent medical checkups are the best way to prevent and cure bumps on back of tongue. Avoid use of substances that may cause tongue and mouth problems.