It is totally normal to have bumps on back of tongue which are named papillae. Many types of papillae are present on your tongue as well as bumps on the back of your tongue. There should be nothing to worry about as long as you’re not having any symptoms.

Sometimes, they get enlarged and cause pain and irritation. In some cases, the formation of new bumps can also be caused by various infections, allergies, and injuries which can be the sign of several diseases. 

Many people get so concerned about the bumps on their tongue and start worrying about having cancer but oral cancers are very less common. But you must see a doctor and get it checked if there is anything.

In this article, we will let you know about the causes, symptoms, and prevention of these bumps.

Diagnosis of Bumps on Back Of  Tongue:

In some cases, bumps on back of tongue can be a sign of oral cancer. These bumps appear red or white and cause pain, uncomfortable feeling, and bleeding while swallowing. If you feel any of the mentioned symptoms, go and see a doctor. He might perform a biopsy and refer you to an oncologist to find out the cause.

Causes of Having Bumps on Back of Tongue:

Some common causes of the bumps on the back of the tongue are described below:

  • Oral thrush:

It is the infection that is caused by the yeast that grows in dark and moist places. If the inner surface of your mouth gets red and you notice some white and rough patches on the inner cheeks and tongue then it might be a sign of oral thrush.

  • Cold sores:

The other name of cold sores is fever blisters. Cold sores usually result from the herpes simplex virus. They can show up on the lips, tongue, and inside the cheeks. Normally, they appear as fluid-filled blisters that burst after 1-2 days of formation and start healing. They last around 8-10 days and are very infectious.

You should prevent oral contact, sharing utensils, lip creams, and such other things while having cold sores.

  • Oral squamous papilloma:

Oral squamous papilloma is a benign mass that usually appears on the side of the tongue. They are caused by human papillomavirus

The chances of them reappearing are very low after treatment, except in those patients who are immunocompromised.

  • Scarlet fever:

One of the most common symptoms of scarlet fever is the strawberry tongue. The tongue appears bumpy and red. The other symptoms include high-grade fever, red rashes on the skin, sore throat, and bright red groin. It is common in children and is caused by group A streptococcal bacteria. 

  • Leukoplakia:

The principal symptom of leukoplakia is the formation of white and red patches on the gums, tongue, inside the cheeks, and bottom of the mouth. They can not be wiped off. The common cause of this condition is tobacco.

These patches of leukoplakia are normally not cancerous but in some rare cases, they can be the initial symptom of cancer. But if you notice such patches then you must visit the doctor as early as you can.

  • Tongue cancer:

In some rare cases, bumps on back of tongue can be a sign of tongue cancer. The lump in this condition usually appears on the side of the tongue but it can show up on any part of the tongue. It is often difficult to diagnose until they grow in size. 

It is very important to book an appointment with the doctor as soon as you notice the lump. The doctor will perform the biopsy and might refer you to the oncologist.

Treatment of Having Bumps on Back of Tongue:

In general, treatment is dependent on the cause of the appearance of the bumps on back of tongue. For oral thrush, antifungal medications are used. For bacterial infections, antibiotics are prescribed. While in the case of oral squamous papilloma the most effective way to get rid of bumps is surgery.

In cold sores, they start to heal on their own but the healing process can be sped up by using some antiviral medications. In scarlet fever, doctors usually prescribe antibiotics. In some cases like cancer, the biopsy is performed.

Some bumps may also go on their own. Some of the home remedies can also help in reducing pain and healing. They include:

  • Drinking a lot of water.
  • Preventing using alcohol-based mouthwash has to speed up the healing process.
  • Use oral numbing gels.
  • Avoid eating spicy and acidic foods.
  • Do gargles with warm water having baking soda dissolved in it.

How to Prevent the Appearance of Bumps on Back of Tongue?

Having good oral health can help greatly in preventing the appearance of bumps on the tongue. You can improve your oral hygiene by taking the following measures.

  • Brush your teeth twice a day.
  • Floss at least one time a day.
  • Avoid eating the food that affects the gums.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Avoid chewing tobacco or any other such kind of product.
  • Limit the intake of alcohol.
  • By Keeping up with the dental checkups.
  • Avoid eating sugary foods as it causes tooth decay.
  • If you use steroid inhalers then rinse your mouth after using.

You should also consider taking the human papillomavirus vaccine (HPV) if your age is up to 26 years.

The Bottomline:

Having bumps on back of tongue is quite normal which is called papillae. But sometimes, they enlarge or get infected or new bumps may form which may lead to various other diseases such as leukoplakia, tongue cancer, scarlet fever, oral thrush, and oral squamous papilloma. They are treated by antifungals, antivirals, and antibiotics or they may go on their own. 

But some simple things like drinking a lot of water, gargling, and avoiding spicy foods can help to speed up the healing process. But you should take care of your oral hygiene by brushing your teeth twice a day, quitting smoking, flossing the teeth, and avoiding alcohol intake. Getting your dental checkups done is an important step towards dental hygiene which can definitely prevent you from catching oral infections.