The tongue is often referred to as the strongest organ in our body. The tongue is used for a range of everyday activities like tasting food, swallowing and talking. Its study is categorized under that branch of science and medicine known as, Otolaryngology. Usually a healthy tongue does have a few bumps on its surface which are actually small nodules called papillae. However, if you have wake up one morning to find small red or white painful bumps on your tongue, it might be a cause for concern; especially so if the bumps are sore and discolored. While majority of the causes of bumps on tongue may not be very serious, some may warrant concern.
Causes of Bumps on the Tongue
Injury: The most common reason for the appearance of red spots on the tongue is some stress or trauma to the tongue. Some people may bite their tongue while eating or when they have fallen asleep. You may even injure` to your tongue by eating certain types of foods that are hard or coarse in structure. In most cases the injury will heal by itself. However, for instant relief, you can use an antiseptic (however, make sure you consult your doctor about which antiseptic you can use safely). You may even rinse your mouth with saltwater. In some cases, the doctor may prescribe an antibacterial medication to prevent an infection.
Allergies: Allergies such as those caused by food or medicine may result in the appearance of the ugly warts and painful red spots or hives all over the tongue. A minor allergic reaction on the tongue can be easily treated with antihistamines recommended by your doctor.
Oral Thrush: Oral thrush is the result of candidiasis, a yeast infection caused by Candida sp. It results in white patches of sore bumps on tongue. They usually affect infants and elderly people, especially people who wear dentures. People with compromised immune systems can also be affected with oral thrush. Diabetics and people inhaling steroids to help provide relief from asthma or lung disease can also contract this condition. They usually occur after the use of antibiotics, which may kill the "good" bacteria in the mouth. Eating plain yogurt with live and active cultures of good bacteria, or medication, may help restore the disease fighting bacteria in your mouth.
Leukoplakia: Leukoplakia is a condition which causes the cells in the mouth to grow excessively leading to the formation of white patches inside the mouth, including the tongue. In certain cases it might be a precursor to cancer. They usually develop when your tongue has been irritated by the presence of foreign objects mostly in the form of tobacco products.
Herpes: Oral herpes or herpes simplex can cause small, red lesions on the tongue which can turn quite painful. They usually occur for a week or so and can affect any part of the mouth such as, the roof of the mouth, throat, gums and the front of the tongue. The virus is related to genital herpes and is usually transmitted via oral sex.
Stomatitis: Aphthous ulcer or stomatitis are usually the result of a poor dental hygiene and can result in small, red blisters on the tongue.
Scarlet fever: People suffering from scarlet fever or a streptococcal infection usually have a red rash on their tongue. These scarlet bumps are in most cases accompanied by very high fever. The doctor may prescribe antibiotics for the treatment.
Kawasaki Syndrome: The Kawasaki syndrome or disease, is observed in children under the age of five. It affects the blood vessels in the body and can cause bumps on the back of tongue. In the acute phase of this illness, a child may run an extremely high fever and have swollen hands and feet.
Apart from this certain vitamin deficiencies, an absence of folic acid may cause bumps on tongue accompanied by a reddish appearance. If you observe such bumps on your tongue then it is advisable to consult a doctor as soon as possible, who can help diagnose the cause and provide effective treatment.