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Mouth Diseases

Wart Like Bumps on Tongue

10/17/2000

Question:

A couple of winters ago, I got really sick with the flu and had a sore throat and cough for almost a month. During that time I used a lot of cough drops. Because of that(I think) I got these slightly painful wart looking bumps at the back of my tongue. The pain did not last long, but I still have the bumps and a nasty white coating that covers my tongue. I`ve tried every mouth wash and tongue scraper I can find, but nothing has worked.

Answer:

While the level of tongue coating varies from patient to patient, even without the presence of any disease or infection, you may be trying to remove something that is "normal" for you. Check with your dentist.

I have a suspicion that the bumps on the back of the tongue may also represent normal structures. In this area, there are usually 8 to 10 rounded bumps or papillae between 1/8 to 1/4 inch in diameter. They form a V-shape pointing toward the back of the throat. They are called the vallate (or circumvallate) papillae, which contain numerous taste buds and have special lubricating glands associated with them.

Thankfully, they are pretty resistant to most tongue scrapers on the market.

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Response by:

John R Kalmar, DMD, PhD John R Kalmar, DMD, PhD
Clinical Professor of Pathology
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University