Have you ever woken up with an odd and totally unexplainable bump on your tongue? Yes, it does happen from time to time. You tongue is a very active organ – being used for both speech and eating. As such, there are more than a couple things that can happen to make it sore and bumpy. Let’s take a look at some of the common, and not-so-common, causes of bumpy a tongue.
Before getting started with the list of causes, there are a few things to consider when looking at a bumpy tongue. First, look for any odor, drainage or pain on the tongue. Is the problem just on the tongue, or is it on other parts of the mouth as well? Have you taken any new medications lately? Do you have any history of sexually transmitted diseases? How about tooth brushing? Do you do it regularly? Same with flossing? These are all questions your doctor is likely to ask you if you have to make an appointment.
One of the most common (and likely) causes of bumps on your tongue is trauma. Your tongue often has something of a mind of it’s own. It can, and does, get nipped by your teeth from time to time. Or the teeth of someone else if you’re really lucky, but that’s a different topic. Hot food and drinks can cause a small burn which will appear as a small (or large) bump.
Stomatitis, also known as an aphthous ulcer, can cause a bump on your tongue. These ulcers are seen on the tongue, lips, cheeks and roof of your mouth. The ulcers are painful. They are often associated with poor dental hygiene.
Herpes simplex ca cause a bumpy tongue. These small lesions can be seen anywhere in the mouth, not just the tongue. They are typically very painful and can last up to a week at a time. The primary lesion can often be preceded by a day or two of tingling. The virus that causes these lesions is related to genital herpes, and in fact the virus can be transmitted to others via oral sex.
A fungal infection known as candidiasis is a cause of bumps on the tongue. This fungus will cause soft, elevated plaques on the tongue and mouth. The plaques are typically white and can be scrapped off with a toothbrush. Scrapping the fungus off will generally not cure the problem, as the little that is remaining will just grow back.
A pre-cancerous lesion known as leukoplakia can cause a lesion on the tongue. These lesions will look like those caused by the candida fungus, but they cannot be scrapped off. These lesions are most often caused by chronic irritation, such as that seen with smokers or poor fitting dentures. Leukoplakia is considered a precursor to oral cancer and must be treated.
In some cases, lupus can cause bumps on your tongue. Lupus is an autoimmune disorder with most of it’s symptoms not related to the mouth. Bleeding ulcers are seen from time to time however.
Allergies are a common cause of bumps on your tongue. These allergies can be to food or medications. Drugs such as penicillin are common causes of bumpy tongues. Allergies to foods, such as peanuts, can cause lesions on your tongue as well.
Bear in mind that there are other causes of bumps on your tongue. This is NOT meant to be a comprehensive list. It is also not meant to provide a guide to self-diagnose yourself. If you have a sore or bump on your tongue that you are concerned with, you should make an appointment with your doctor. Your doctor can take a look at the bump and tell you definitively what the cause is.