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Mouth Diseases

Lumps Appearing on My Tongue

04/15/2010

Question:

when ever i eat, usually frit, spicy food or fizzy sweets i get some lumps appear on my tongue, it feels a bit like pins and needles for sometime then i forget about it and it goes away. i have had it for some time now and i am getting a little concerned as more and more things are setting it off. any ideas what this is?

Answer:

Based upon your symptoms and that certain foods set this off, I would suspect that you may have some form of hypersensitivity to components of the foods you are ingesting.


I would presume that the fruits and “fizzy sweets” are probably high in citric acid (oranges, strawberries, and the sweets like sour patch kids, sweet tarts, smarties, and such). The high acid content (low pH) possibly could cause irritation to the mucosal covering on the top of the tongue and irritate the tissues and cause a “burning/tingling sensation”.  This could also be caused by hot spicy foods (Tabasco/Crystal hot sauces and/or peppers). The chemical agent in these products that causes the “heat” is capsaicin and in high concentrations (measured in heat units called Scovell Units) could also cause the alteration in sensation you experience.

Does the top of you tongue look ulcerated or spotted pink/red/white? The increase in unpleasant sensation may be also related to the loss of protective coating on the tongue surface (benign migratory glossitis or geographic tongue) and would look like an irregular coastline on a map.

If you feel that the problem is getting worse and more frequent, I would strongly suggest that you have your dentist evaluate this problem.

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Response by:

Richard J Jurevic, DDS, PhD Richard J Jurevic, DDS, PhD
Formerly, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences
School of Dental Medicine
Case Western Reserve University