Bumps in mouth may result from different illnesses and health conditions. Different types of sores or bumps can appear anywhere in the mouth, but some of the most common places include gums, inner cheeks, bottom of the mouth, tongue and lips. The bumps often appear as a response to an allergen, but they can be sexually transmitted as well. Depending upon the causes, the symptoms may vary from person to person. Most of the bumps usually require no further evaluation by an oral specialist, but sometimes it makes sense to consult an expert to ensure there's nothing serious.

Common Causes and Treatments of Bumps in Mouth


For Food Irritation

A bump may appear inside your mouth due to food irritation, usually caused by eating overly salty, spicy or sour foods.

Treatment: Avoid eating spicy food and ensure that the temperature of your drink or food is not that high.


For Papilla Inflammation

Bumps caused by inflamed papilla can appear around taste buds. Burning by hot food and drinks or other injury like biting by accidents can causes papilla to be inflamed.


  • This kind of bumps can heal on its own. 

  • Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen and aceraminophen can soothe your pain. 

  • You can prevent thses bumps by avoiding juries to tongues and be cautious when drink or eat anything hot.


For Canker Sore

Canker sores look like a yellow or pale ulcer with a reddish outer ring. You may have one or more of these sores. They are painful but aren't contagious. Canker sores are usually caused by hormonal changes, a weakened immune system, stress or lack of certain minerals and vitamins in your body (such as folate and vitamin B12). Similarly, mouth injury during dental work, biting the cheek and food allergies can also cause canker sores to appear.

Treatment: These sores usually heal on their own, but certain topical medications such as Anbesol will help alleviate the pain. Rinsing your mouth will salt water or a mouthwash will also help.


For Mucous Cysts

These bumps will appear on the inner surface of your lips and don't usually affect the roof or floor of the mouth, inside of the cheek and the tongue. These fluid-filled sacs are painless. Mucous cysts are caused by some damage to a salivary duct, which may occur if you have accidentally sucked your lips hard between your teeth. Mouth piercings may also create these cysts.

Treatment: The cysts usually rupture and drain without a treatment, but you may need a surgery, if they don't disappear after a few days.


For Oral Lichen Planus

This inflammatory condition produces bumps in mouth, especially inside of your cheeks and on the sides of your tongue. It is caused by hepatitis C infection, liver disease, certain vaccines, allergies and medications.

Treatment: You may have to use certain medications, including retinoids, corticosteroids and other antibacterial agents. A laser treatment is also available for Oral Lichen Planus.


For Cold Sores

Starting as blisters, these sores can sometimes be extremely painful. The blisters stay for some time and then crust over. It is usually caused by the herpes simplex virus and passed from person to person through shared utensils, a kiss or other close contact.

Treatment: Several OTC ointments and creams may speed healing and alleviate pain as well.


For Thrush

It is a yeast infection of the mucus membrane lining your tongue and mouth. Candida is a fungus that naturally found in your mouth. If the immune system is weakened and fails to keep it in check, the overgrowth of Candida, leading to thrush.

Treatment: It usually goes away in a few weeks, but eating yogurt and taking OTC acidophilus capsules can accelerate the healing process. Brushing with a diluted 3% hydrogen peroxide solution will help clear a thrush infection. Sometimes your doctor may prescribe stronger medications such as itraconazole or fluconazole to clear serious infection.

Understand Bumps in Different Places of Mouth


Bumps on the Tongue

If you find a bump in mouththat's exactly on the back of your tongue, it could be due to circumvallate papillae, which are the small structures at the back of your throat. Transient lingual papillitis is another common issue that causes tiny bumps on the upper surface of your tongue. These tiny bumps are usually referred to as 'taste buds', but they sometimes become extremely white or red, mainly due to rubbing, biting, scraping and the like.

You may also witness a bump in mouththat's right at the tip of your tongue. This is usually a benign growth known as irritation fibromas and usually caused by trauma or injury like biting your tongue. Similarly, black bumps on your tongue may also cause discomfort, but they aren't usually serious. Still, it is a good idea to have it evaluated by an oral pathologist. Whatever the case, be sure to avoid rubbing your tongue against your teeth, when you have any type of a bump on it.


Bumps on Gums

The bumps on the gums usually appear toward the cheeks or lips. Known as gumboil, they are usually caused by a damaged or decayed tooth. The bump may contain puss that produces a salty taste in the mouth.


Bumps on the Throat

Bumps on the back of your throat are called "subepithelial lymphoid tissue". These tissues or cells protect you from infections and are normally found in the throat and mouth. They look like bumps when you have an infection in this area and will return to normal once the infection is over.


Bumps on the Palate

A bump you usually notice behind the front teeth is called the incisive papilla. These bumps are found naturally in your mouth, but the irritation means that they are enlarged for some reason. If you smoke a pipe or cigar, you may find whitish bumps with a small reddish depression in the middle on the palate. This condition is known as smoker's palate.

You may also witness small bumps to the tongue-side of your lower jaw. This could appear due to a protruding bone in your mouth, which gets irritated or injured by hard foods. The condition is called mandibular torus. Moreover, the formation of mucoceles right on the roof of your mouth will be a common sighting, if your salivary glands are cut or blocked. These bumps in mouth usually disappear when excessive mucus accumulates to its breaking point. This kind of bump will appear again later.


Bumps on the Lips

A white bump inside lips is usually caused by disruption or blockage in the tiny ducts that connect glands in the lips with the surface of your mouth. Sometimes these tiny ducts are cut and the mucus cannot be transferred properly from the lips to the surface and it starts spilling into the tissues present under the lining of your mouth, leading to the formation of painless bumps. It is important to consult a doctor because this bump won't heal on its own.


When to See a Doctor

You should call your doctor:

  • If the bumps get bigger and last longer than two weeks;

  • If some bumps appear soon after you start a new medication;

  • If large white patches form on your tongue as well as the roof of your mouth because this could be due to an infection;

  • If you have bumps with other symptoms like skin rash, fever, difficulty swallowing or drooling.


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