Twitter icon A stylized bird with an open mouth, tweeting. Twitter Snapchat icon A ghost. Snapchat Fliboard icon A stylized letter F. Flipboard Pinterest icon The letter "P" styled to look like a thumbtack pin. Pinterest Link icon An image of a chain link. It symobilizes a website link url. Copy Link
This article was medically reviewed by Debra Jaliman, MD, a board-certified dermatologist with a private practice in New York City.
Medically Reviewed Reviewed By Check Mark Icon A check mark. It indicates that the relevant content has been reviewed and verified by an expert
Our stories are reviewed by medical professionals to ensure you get the most accurate and useful information about your health and wellness. For more information, visit our medical review board.

You are watching: Why do you get lie bumps


*

Bumps on your tongue may be lie bumps, canker sores, cold sores, or in rare cases, oral cancer. Lie bumps are common and happen when the small bumps on your tongue become inflamed. Oral cancer is the rarest possibility and may appear as a growth or sore on your tongue.
If you have a bump on your tongue chances are it"s not a pimple. Pimples can"t occur on the tongue because acne is caused by clogged pores or follicles, which the tongue lacks. Instead, these "tongue pimples" are bumps that can occur for a variety of reasons ranging from harmless to more serious.

1. Lie bumps

Lingual papillitis, commonly referred to as lie bumps, is a common ailment. They appear when the papillae become inflamed, resulting in red or white swollen bumps.

Medical term: Papillae are small bumps on our tongue that house our taste buds.

Lie bumps can range from being mildly irritating to painful, says Rhonda Kalasho, DDS, double board-certified dentist at GLO Modern Dentistry.

There are two causes for lie bumps:

Infection: If you have the bumps along with a fever and swollen glands, it"s likely that they"re caused by a bacterial or viral infection, Kalasho says. In this case, the infection is contagious so you should avoid kissing people or sharing drinks.A trigger like spicy foods or stress: If you notice bumps on your tongue after eating certain foods or going through stressful periods, then you could have "transient lie bumps," which will disappear within a few days. Kalasho says these are the main triggers for transient lie bumps.

How to treat it: If the lie bumps are accompanied by symptoms that indicate infection, Kalasho says you should see a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment. In more serious cases, you may need to be prescribed medication like antibiotics to target the infection.

Regardless the cause, Kalasho says you can soothe symptoms by:

Maintaining good oral hygieneRinsing with salt waterAvoiding spicy or acidic foods

2. Canker sores

Canker sores are white lesions inside the mouth that are typically painful, says Sage Pollack, DMD, dentist and founder of Dentistry of Colorado.

They might appear as a bump or as a shallow ulcer, and they can vary in size. They may affect the gums, the inside of the cheeks, or the tongue.

Common causes of canker sores, according to Pollack, include:

StressSpicy foodAllergic responses

How to treat it: Canker sores will resolve on their own in around seven to 10 days, says Pollack. In the meantime, Kalasho says one of the best remedies to reduce the duration and irritation of canker sores is using a saltwater rinse, mixing one cup of warm water with two tablespoons of salt.

If your pain is severe, Kalasho says you can also look for mouth rinses specifically marketed towards sores that help to numb the mouth.


3. Cold sores

Cold sores are contagious lesions caused by the herpes simplex virus, typically HSV-1 (herpes simplex virus type 1). This is extremely common, with about 67% of the population being infected with HSV-1. Pollack says they look like blisters – red, raised, and painful bumps. They typically occur outside of the mouth on and around the lips, but it is possible for them to occur on your tongue, as well.

How to treat it: Since herpes is contagious, it"s important to avoid kissing, engaging in oral sex, or sharing drinks and food.

To treat cold sores, Pollack and Kalasho say you should see a doctor who can:

Use a laser treatment to remove them.Prescribe oral or topical antiviral medications that can shorten the lifespan of the cold sore and prevent future outbreaks.

4. Oral cancer

While it"s much more likely your tongue bump is caused by one of the above conditions, oral cancer is a possibility. Oral cancer is very rare, affecting 1.7% of men and .71% of women.

Pollack says oral cancer may appear as a persistent growth or sore. If you have a bump that doesn"t disappear in two weeks, have your dentist check it out. They may perform a biopsy if they suspect cancer.

See more: Slime Molds Are An Example Of This Type Of Protist, Characteristics And Classification Of Fungus

How to treat it: Treatment for oral cancer will be determined by your physician, but may include biopsies and excisions, and in more serious cases, chemotherapy and radiation. However, the best treatment is prevention, which means avoiding tobacco and limiting alcohol use.