Why are there Bumps on the Back of the Tongue?

The bumps on the back of your tongue can often go unnoticed until they become irritated or inflamed. They are also known as lingual tonsils or circumvallate papillae, which prompts questions about their origin and significance. The discovery of bumps can be cause for concern and curiosity for many.

These bumps on the back of the tongue may seem smooth and uniform on the surface at first glance. But their presence can raise questions about their origin, significance, and potential implications for oral health.

Causes of Bumps on the Back of the Tongue

There are several factors that can contribute to the potential cause of these. That’s why we’ve put together a list of factors so that you can gain insight into your oral health and make informed decisions about seeking medical evaluation and treatment when necessary.

1. Tongue Injuries

Some common causes of tongue injuries like accidentally biting the tongue, eating sharp or hard foods, trauma from dental procedure convert into swollen bumps. They can start burning from hot liquids or foods for a few days after the injury.

The treatment depends on the severity of the injury, symptoms may include pain swelling, bleeding, difficulty eating or speaking, and potential infection. For minor injuries, such as small cuts or abrasions, rinsing the mouth with warm salt water and applying a topical antiseptic or numbering gel can help to reduce discomfort and promote healing.

2. Oral Herpes

Oral herpes is common viral infection caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV), also known as herpes liabilities or cold sores which typically manifests as painful, fluid-filled blisters. These sores form on or around the lips, mouth, or gums and are highly contagious. The virus can be transmitted through close contact with an infected person, such as kissing, sharing utensils or drinks and lip balm or touching the affected area.

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Photo by- Anna Shvets/pexels

Oral herpes require antiviral medications to help reduce the severity and duration of outbreaks. Over the counter creams and ointments can also provide relief from symptoms of pain or itching. Avoiding triggers such as a stress or sun exposure can also help to heal oral herpes. You can maintain a healthy lifestyle and prevent the condition altogether by practicing good hygiene.

3. Canker Sores

Canker sores are small, painful ulcers, that develop inside the mouth, inner cheeks, gums, tongue, or the roof of the mouth. They also known as aphthous ulcers. The exact cause of canker sores is not fully understood because of the uncertain symptoms. Canker sores can form at any age or time, but they occur more often in teens and young adults, and they’re more common in females but often people with recurrent cancer sores have family history of this disorder due to hormonal changes.

Proper treatment of canker sores can relieve pain, promote healing, and prevent recurrence. Canker sores can be typically healed by several remedies such as mouthwash, oral medication, topical medication and nutrition. If its frequent or severe and do not heal within two weeks, seek your nearest dentist or healthcare provider for further evaluation, and appropriate treatments.

4 .Transient Lingual Papillitis

Transient lingual papillitis is a common condition which is also known as “lie bumps” or “fungiform papillary glossitis”. These bumps typically appear as small, painful bumps or lesions on the tongue’s surface. Transient lingual papillitis may be white or red in color and are usually harmless. They typically resolve on their own without treatment, within few days to a week.

They are caused by irritation or inflammation of the fungiform papillae, which are small, mushroom-shaped bumps present on the tongue’s upper surface. Transient lingual papillitis is not a serious condition and often goes away without medical treatment. But if they don’t go away within two weeks it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare provider or dentist for the guidance.

Also read: Healing Tongue Ulcers Naturally: Effective Home Remedies and Tips

5. Allergies

Sometimes infection and allergies can coexist or be mistaken for one another due to similar symptoms. For allergies, identifying and avoiding the trigger allergen and alleviating the symptoms of the allergic reaction is crucial.

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Photo by- Engin Akyurt/pexels

In some cases, experts evaluate the symptoms which can help manage your condition. Food intolerance and allergic reactions may cause the bumps on the tongue or make it swell. In these cases, treatment involves addressing the specific irritant and taking medications accordingly.

6. Syphilis

Syphilis is an infection which is spread through sexual activity and caused by treponema palladium. This bacteria can stay in the body for many years without causing any symptoms. Syphilis is considered a sexually transmitted infection (STI) and highly contagious disease. It can start with soreness and pain but is often painless and typically appears on the genitals.

But during the initial stages, it can appear in your oral region, mainly the lips, tongue, gums and back of the tongue near the tonsils. They appear as sores, known as chancres. They appear as small red patches that can progress into large open sores that are red, yellow or grey.

Syphilis can be transmitted through a mother to her newborn child by breastfeeding or during the pregnancy. The unborn child can get infected through the organs that provide nutrients and oxygen in the womb.

Syphilis develops in several stages, and if let untreated, can affect the brain, spinal cord, eyes and other body parts. Syphilis can be diagnosed through blood tests that detect antibodies to the bacterium.

The treatment of syphilis is easy if it is found in early stages and typically involves antibiotics including penicillin. It is crucial to seek prompt medical attention if you have syphilis or suspect to have been exposed to someone with the infection.

For syphilis, early detection and treatment are essential for preventing complications and reducing the risk of transmission to others. Use precautions such as practicing safe sex, using condoms, and getting tested regularly for syphilis. Specific meditation can also help to limit the spread of syphilis and other transmitted infections.


Bumps on the back of the tongue can indicate injury, infection, allergies, or be something that isn’t due to any underlying cause. They can be caused by various factors such as infections, allergies, and other underlying health conditions. Mostly bumps on the tongue are harmless and resolve on their own, but persistent or severe symptoms on the other hand it may indicate a serious problem like cancer or syphilis. It is essential to monitor them closely and seek medical attention if there’s any change in appearance or symptoms.

Most tongue bumps appear without obvious cause and go away on their own or may comeback months or years later. For better healing and maintaining good oral hygiene, you should avoid irritants, and follow proper medical advice. Other more severe cases may require medications, lifestyle modifications, and proper self-care measures to alleviate discomfort and promote healing.

Last Updated on by Akankshaumrao



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