It is most likely a canker sore if a white spot or bumps on the tongue encircled by a red, swollen halo. These frequent lesions can range from tiny to large, singly or in clusters. Canker sores are frequently uncomfortable, and scraping them won’t eliminate them.
Have you ever noticed how inconsistently pink your tongue normally is? If you have white bump on tongue, you might be concerned about what’s going on, especially if you’re in pain or discomfort.
Since there are many possible causes, white patches on the tongue are frequently seen. If you have one or more spots, the cause could be anything from minor damage from biting your tongue to a major medical problem like cancer. Immunosuppressed people might notice an increased frequency of certain forms of white spots on the tongue.
This article will look at the possible causes of tongue bumps and other disorders that may irritate the mouthparts.
Reasons for White Bump on Tongue
According to Felipe Nor, DDS, PhD, clinical assistant professor of oral medicine at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry, a thicker protective layer will grow if you have teeth with very sharp edges or a propensity of chewing the sides of your tongue. This is similar to a callus on your foot.
However, if the trauma is more severe and acute, such as if you bit down firmly on your tongue, an ulcer may form, which can be incredibly painful. Normally, these places won’t hurt.
The best action to take in cases where trauma has left you with recurring white spots on your tongue is to avoid any tongue injuries in the first place. Nor claims that this may represent:
- Visiting a dentist to have sharp teeth softened off
- Eliminate the tongue-chewing habit
- Use night guards or a related device if you are accidentally chewing
2. Candidiasis (thrush)
According to Nor, candidiasis, often known as a tongue, is an infection that causes an overabundance of the fungus yeast in your mouth.
It causes little white spots on tongue, no bigger than a centimetre across, to form on the main surface of the tongue, which is where the taste buds are and is typical in smokers and persons with dry mouth.
The condition known as candidiasis, which can manifest as bigger spots anywhere on the tongue or inside the mouth, is also more common among immunocompromised individuals. You may be particularly vulnerable if you suffer from a condition like:
Other signs of oral thrush, in addition to white bumps on the tongue, include:
mouth tasting like cotton
To stop the overgrowth of fungus, your doctor will need to prescribe antifungal drugs, explains Nor. These might include systemically acting antifungal medications or mouthwash or lozenges that work locally in the mouth in less severe circumstances.
3. Geographic tongue
Geographic tongue is an infection of the tongue that causes white and red bumps that may have slightly increased edges and rapidly shift shape and location every few hours.
According to board-certified dentist Gary Cash, DDS, who works in private practice, the phenomenon resembles a map, hence the name geographic tongue.
Geographic tongue has no known cause, but since some affected individuals have a family history of the disorder, there may be a genetic component. Geographic tongue may also be more prevalent in people with a fissured tongue (deep grooves on its surface).
According to Cash, geographic tongue can look frightening, but it isn’t dangerous or contagious.
Even though many people with geographic tongues don’t have symptoms beyond the characteristic appearance, you could feel pain or burning when eating, especially if you eat spicy or acidic meals. This is a stronger “heat” or “burning” than the ordinary person could feel after eating anything spicy.
Geographic tongue is not treatable, but your dentist may recommend over-the-counter pain relievers or mouthwashes to numb the area and reduce inflammation if you’re experiencing pain.
Cash said that while episodes will subside, people with the condition will have recurrences for the rest of their lives.
4. Lichen planus
A chronic inflammatory disorder called oral lichen planus develops when the immune system destroys cells in the mucous membranes of the mouth. According to Nor, oral lichen planus patients may experience “lace-like” white spots on the tongue or inside of the cheeks.
This illness often affects middle-aged women and those with impaired immune systems. Although the exact cause is unknown, some potential triggers include:
There may also be symptoms other than lacy white bumps on tongue, such as:
Spots that are red and swollen
Any part of the mouth can experience these bumps and sores, including:
Inside the cheeks
The mouth’s roof.
A biopsy or culture is required for diagnosis if there are any occurring infections.
A doctor may educate you on the condition and conduct follow-ups if you remain asymptomatic except for the white patches, says Nor, to ensure the lesions remain asymptomatic.
It may be necessary to prescribe numbing agents, topical steroids, or oral corticosteroids if you suffer from pain or ulcers.
5. Human papillomavirus (HPV)
There are several types of sexually transmitted diseases, but the most common is HPV, which affects both the genitals and the mouth as well as the throat. An individual with the virus is usually infected after tongue kissing or having oral sex with them.
HPV can cause white cauliflower-like lesions on the tongue, according to Nor. It is common for these bumps to be white, elevated, and benign.
To stay safe, avoid tongue kissing and sexual activity if you have white spots in your mouth caused by HPV.
A healthy person may be able to clear HPV on their own within one to two years, but lesions usually need to be surgically removed.
It is also possible to confirm the diagnosis with a lesion biopsy.
6. Pre-cancer or cancer
Precancers or cancers usually cause white bump on tongue.
For instance, leukoplakia, a white bump on tongue that appears asymptomatic but is precancerous, says Nor. Approximately 2.6% of the world’s population suffers from leukoplakia, and 17.5% develop squamous cell carcinoma.
The most common type of tongue cancer is squamous cell carcinoma, which causes white spots on the tongue. The following symptoms may be present:
The appearance of an ulcer-like lesion
An easily blendable lesion
The proportion of oral cancer cases is 3% of total cancer cases, and 90% are squamous cell carcinomas.
To identify the cause of the lesion and develop a treatment plan, a biopsy of the lesion is necessary regardless of whether your doctor thinks it is a precancer or cancer. Surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy are then options for cancer treatment.
It is common to have white bump on tongue. Some can go unnoticed, while others can grow and cause irritation.
There are usually benign lesions, but you should see a doctor if you notice any new growths or if a lesion changes in size. Depending on the severity of the bump, your doctor may recommend treatment.