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Dental and Oral Health Center

White bumps on tongue

08/03/2006

Question:

I have 2 small white bumps on the tip of my tongue. They are a bit painful, but are more irritating. I have not been able to find anything on the internet about them.

Answer:

From your description, these white bumps probably represent a condition known as "transient lingual papillitis".  This is a harmless, but annoying, problem that is thought to be caused by accidentally scraping the surface of one or more of the fungiform papillae.  The fungiform papillae are normal small bumps on the top of the tongue.  In the southern United States, these have sometimes been referred to as "lie bumps" - supposedly the person who gets one of these has recently told a lie, and this is their punishment!  Typically these lesions heal within a few days with no treatment.  If they do not, then you should be seen by an oral pathologist.

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Response by:

Carl M Allen, DDS, MSD Carl M Allen, DDS, MSD
Professor Emeritus of Oral Pathology
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University