Bumps on Tongue: Causes & How to Get Rid of Them

Most people at some point in their lives will experience having a bump or bumps on their tongue, most often they will also not know where it has come from either. The fact is that there are a whole multitude of things that can cause bumps to appear on the tongue, some of which are serious, but most of which are fairly harmless. Fortunately enough there are some ways to tell what the causes might have been in most cases, after which remedy can usually follow.

What Causes Tongue Bumps

Hundreds of things can cause painful bumps on your tongue. Allergic reactions, oral herpes, a viral or bacterial infection, a recent or current illness, a vitamin deficiency – just to name a few. Then again, the bumps may just be a minor, temporary irritation. Think about it. Your tongue is a highly sensitive organ. Is there anything you might have done or are doing that could be the cause of this condition? Let’s read on these common causes as below:


The most common cause of painful tongue bump is in fact biting the tongue whilst sleeping. Most people do not even wake up when they have bitten themselves, but it is actually a very common cause, particularly if someone is drunk when they fall asleep. Aside from biting all kinds of trauma to the tongue can cause it to swell, and in a localized area this causes a bump. Bumps of this kind are usually sore, and may well have a white surface, where the skin is repairing the damage. This can even appear to look like scar tissue, or a growth, but usually is only a temporary condition.

Cuts or Abrasions

Another common cause of bumps of the same type as this can be cuts or abrasions caused by certain types of food. Potato chips for example often have sharp edges and can cut the tongue if eater improperly. These in turn can cause a bump whilst the tongue repairs itself. This kind of bump however is usually noticed at the time of the injury, and of course heals itself after a few days.

Allergic Reactions

Allergic reactions are another common cause, and can be caused by literally anything you might have come into contact with in the last few days. Often with allergic reactions the tongue is at least partially covered in bumps, rather then the development of a single one. Many people have many minor and sometimes even major allergies that they aren’t aware of, and often it is only contact with their particular allergy that shows them this.

Swelling of the tongue is a more common allergic reaction than the development of bumps, although both can certainly occur. The difficulty of determining firstly whether an allergic reaction is the cause of bumps, and then secondly what the allergy is can be quite difficult. Food allergies are certainly the main culprit in these cases, however it can also be something inhaled, drank or even just touched. And the difficult part is that the reaction doesn’t always occur instantaneously, but sometimes several hours or even days later. Also it isn’t always a significant amount of any substance that causes a reaction, often mere traces is enough in fact.


A much more rare cause of bumps on tongue can be cancer, although the bumps will be markedly different from those found usually. With cancer the bump is usually hard, and does not have any feeling to it. Also only a lump will be felt on the surface, with the bulk of it being below the skin. As causes go this type of bump is one of the rarest, although can’t be ruled out if the symptoms match. If you find this to be the case the medical personnel should be contacted immediately for a complete diagnosis. In many cases this still wont be cancer anyway, however a medical opinion is always the best option.

There are a handful of other diseases and afflictions what also have bumps on the tongue as one of the symptoms. These are usually easier to diagnose however, because the bumps are only one of several symptoms that are experienced, and so in all likelihood a medical opinion has been sought already. Many of these types of illnesses will also present a weeping and infected bump or bumps, rather than a passive one. Some can simply be a sign of being run down, and might be similar to lesions or ulcers in nature.

How to Get Rid of Bumps on Tongue

Thus, if you really would like to remove those bumps, don’t take a rasp or something equally awful to them. Here are some common approaches to getting rid of bumps on your tongue:

First, if you are suffering with these unsightly and uncomfortable bumps on your tongue, try taking an antihistamine. Why? Good question. Bumps on tongue are often some kind of allergic reaction, either to something you ate or something in the environment. These allergens could include pollen, dust, milk, seafood or something else. The antihistamine blocks the allergic reaction. So try an antihistamine such as Benadryl and wait to see if the bumps become history.

If the antihistamine works, your next move should be to try to figure out what caused the allergic reaction. Identify some likely suspects and eliminate them all from your diet. Then add one back in at a time. When the bumps show up again, you will know which food caused them.

Incidentally, you can take the same medicine, usually, to get rid of hives.

Second, and this is quite similar to the issue above, think about what you have recently eaten. There are times that you get it due to some kind of minor chemical imbalance. Thus, try to identify what set off the balance of your chemistry and then take steps to re-balance said chemistry. This might require the elimination technique outlined above.

Thirdly, you may need to see a doctor. If these bumps don’t go away soon, you may have a form of oral herpes or an oral ulcer. These conditions require a doctor’s attention, so be sure to get whatever help you may need. You might be tempted to take over the counter medicine if you think you have oral herpes or oral ulcers, but you need to resist the temptation. Your best bet will be to go to your care provider and he or she will help you get to the bottom of the mystery.

Conclusion of Treatment

In general treatment of any unusual bumps should be left to trained professionals, although drinking plenty of water is always a good start. Secondly using a mouthwash can help stop the bumps from spreading if they are open wounds and will help to keep them free of bacteria and infection. A last point to make is that tongues are already covered in taste pads, which may resemble bumps of a sort, which aren’t to be confused with anything bad. They appear at regular intervals, and appear to be red circular impressions about the size of the nib of a pen.