Every once and a while, you will develop something that you’ve never had and is kind of weird. Sometimes it’s something that goes away, and sometimes it’s something that may have other issues attached to it. Take bumps on the back of the tongue, for example. They can occur from time to time.
These bumps can be red or white, and may even have different causes. Some causes may be non-important, and others might be symptoms of a bigger issue that you should take care of right away.
In this article, we’ll tackle what can cause these bumps and how you can get rid of them naturally.
What Causes Red Bumps on Back of Tongue?
Before we delve into what causes the bumps on the back of the tongue, it’s important to know that there are two main different types of bumps you may get. One is reddish in color, and the other tends to be white or a yellowish white. So what are the differences? Let’s tackle the red bumps first.
Your tongue is covered in bumps called papillae. These usually aren’t visible until they are irritated. For example, if the papillae at the back of your throat are irritated due to a cold or throat infection, they will become larger and red. These bumps may also be formed due to stress and food irritations.
Red bumps can also be caused by trauma to the back of your tongue. A bite or a cut can cause red bumps. Scolding your tongue with a hot liquid or food can also cause red bumps. Other possible causes can be things like oral herpes and allergies. One of the more serious causes of red bumps is scarlet fever.
These bumps can often be harmless, especially if they pop up on both sides of the tongue. For the most part, these red bumps are also easily dealt with (we’ll cover treatment a little further on in this article), and there isn’t a huge amount to be concerned about. Nonetheless, it is important to keep an eye on them. If they don’t start to fade after time or treatment, it might be a good idea to consult a doctor and see what their opinion is. Along with the red bumps, there is also the possibility of white bumps.
What Causes White Bumps on the Back of the Tongue?
White bumps on the tongue can share many of the same causes as red bumps. However, there are a few instances where it’s a completely different cause, and it should be taken care of in a different way than some of the red bumps. In terms of similar causes, white bumps can also be caused by irritation and trauma infection, but there are a few different reasons as well.
1. Canker sores
Canker sores are somewhat mysterious. Their exact cause is not known as they can be triggered by multiple things. Stress and injury can both trigger a canker sore, but so can certain acidic foods like pineapples, oranges, and lemons. Canker sores appear as a white bump on the tongue or the gums.
2. Oral cancer
A cancer of the mouth, oral cancer, can be caused by a number of things. However, those people who are smokers and tobacco chewers tend to be among the higher risk candidates of getting oral cancer. One of the signs of oral cancer can be the appearance of white bumps around the tongue and mouth.
While not common, syphilis (a sexually transmitted infection), can manifest itself as white bumps on the tongue that eventually become sores. Note, however, while it may rarely start in the mouth, it will spread to the rest of the body.
4. Oral thrush
Oral thrush is an infection of the fungal variety that is usually caused by a yeast called candida. It tends to manifest in white or yellowish bumps on the tongue. Those who with poor oral hygiene tend to be candidates for contracting oral thrush.
Now that we’ve identified the possible causes of both bumps, it’s time to try and take care of them.
How to Get Rid of Bumps on Back of Tongue
Previously, we went over the various bumps on the back of tongue causes, as well as the fact that there are two types of bumps that occur in your mouth—white bumps and red bumps. We will now discuss how to treat them and how to get rid of bumps on the back of the tongue fast. That being said, if you are unsure about the bumps in your mouth or they do not go away after treatments, consult your doctor.
The more serious issues that could be involved—like oral cancer—are better if they are caught quickly as opposed to ignoring them. We will also point out if the treatment we mention is just for white bumps, red bumps, or both.
More often than not, the bumps will go away after 10 days, or so. Just try to avoid irritants that may cause them to stick around longer and keep up good oral hygiene. If they do not disappear or if they get bigger, that may the point you want to talk to a doctor. Time in conjunction with one of the home remedies below will usually do the trick.
2. Gargle with warm salt water
Dissolve ½ teaspoon of salt into eight ounces of warm water (warm, not hot or scolding). Gargle for 30 seconds and then spit it out. It’s best to do this three or four times a day, or until the bumps disappear. This should work for most of the white bumps and red bumps.
3. Antiseptic or anesthetic mouthwash
These mouthwashes can help rinse out the bacteria that may be causing the red or white bumps in your mouth. The mouthwash may also help soothe your mouth from any irritation that may be causing the bumps, or from the pain or annoyance the bumps may be causing themselves.
4. Drink plenty of water
Along with keeping yourself hydrated and less susceptible to some germs and bacteria, drinking water can help flush the bump-causing issues out of your mouth.
The probiotic bacteria that is present in yogurt may help dispose of the red or white bump-making bacteria, especially in cases where the bumps were created by a fungal infection (like in the case of oral thrush).
6. Doctor’s care
If the home remedies aren’t working, or if the bumps are getting bigger, a doctor’s care may be needed. They can prescribe you what may be needed to get rid of the cause of the red or white bumps. It may mean an antibiotic or at the very least, a better opinion on what the issue might be.
Do Not Ignore the Bumps!
Whether they be red bumps or white bumps, bumps towards the back of your mouth could be nothing. They could be cleared up with the passage of time, or a little bit of gargling with salt water. But they could also be the signs of a much bigger and much tougher problem. The best advice is to keep an eye on it. If time and simple remedies don’t work, make an appointment with your doctor. If the white bumps are the first sign that you have oral cancer, it’s not something you want to wait on.
- White Tongue: 10 Causes and Natural Remedies
- Pimple on Your Tongue: Treating Your Lie Bumps
- Top Causes of a Fissured Tongue
- Tongue Color: Everything You Need to Know about Tongue Health
- Tongue Ulcers: Causes and Treatments
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Pietrangelo, A., “Tongue Bumps: Enlarged Papillae and Other Problems,” Healthline, January 21, 2015; http://www.healthline.com/health/dental-and-oral-health/tongue-bumps?s_con_rec=false&r=0#Overview1
Barron, B., “Red Bumps Way Back on the Tongue,” Livestrong, August 16, 2013; http://www.livestrong.com/article/312859-red-bumps-way-back-on-the-tongue/
Lee, J., “A Whitish Tongue With Bumps on the Back,” Livestrong, August 16, 2013; http://www.livestrong.com/article/320020-a-whitish-tongue-with-bumps-on-the-back/