Have You Ever Heard About Lie Bumps?

lie bumps
Schwerdhoefer / Pixabay

We’re looking at you, Pinocchio! We’re just kidding about that. Lie bumps, scientifically, have nothing to do with the number of fibs or downright whoppers that you find yourself telling on occasion(although they do occur most often in children). So, what are these lie bumps anyways and what do you need to know about them?

What are lie bumps?

Lie bumps, also known as transient lingual papillitis in medi-speak, are small white or red bumps that manifest on your tongue. The name comes from the early belief that these bumps were a sign that someone was lying to you(considering some early beliefs, at least with this one you were more likely to get punched or accused of having pants on fire than getting burned at the stake.). What do lie bumps on the tongue mean from a medical perspective? What causes lie bumps? Let’s discuss a little and enlighten you on what you should know about this condition.

Transient lingual papillitis: Just the facts

Medically, these can often be innocuous. Sometimes they may be itchy, mildly painful, and maybe even swollen, but the bumps and symptoms may disappear on their own within a few days. That said, if these symptoms are accompanied with the following symptoms then you may have a condition known as eruptive lingual papillitis and may wish to speak with a physician:

Eruptive lingual papillitis is contagious and may be related to a virus, so if you schedule a medical examination it might be good to bring along your significant other, just to be on te safe side. So, when we are not talking about the evil twin of lie bumps, what are the causes of these little tongue rascals?

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What causes lie bumps on the tongue?

lie bumps on tongue
TeroVesalainen / Pixabay

We’re glad that you asked. A number of things can cause lie bumps to manifest on your tongue. We’ve compiled a list of the most common reasons for lie bumps to manifest. Many are quite innocuous but there are a few that you will want to pay attention to. Common causes of lie bumps are as follows:

  • Physical damage to the tongue – Accidentally biting your tongue or burning it on that delicious lasagna(can’t you wait 10 minutes?) is one cause of lie bumps.
  • Allergies to food – Mild allergies are a possibility. If you notice that you are getting lie bumps after particularly tame(ie not so spicy) foods then you might want to check with an allergist. You might have a mild allergy at play.
  • A Caustic diet – Gotta have those ghost peppers? Eating lots of acidic foods like pineapples or lemons? While delicious, some of these foods in large or regular quantities can cause these painful bumps to appear. Relax your diet a little if you seem to be getting lie bumps often. Use those foods as a treat rather than an edict and your lie bumps should take the hint and schedule their visits according to your new diet.
transient lingual papillitis
Free-Photos / Pixabay

What if there are other bumps on my tongue?

Now that we have discussed what lie bumps are, let’s discuss what they aren’t. Other factors, sometimes quite nasty ones, can cause bumps to appear on your tongue. These should not be confused with lie bumps and some require swift medical attention. Here are some other causes of bumps on your tongue:

  • Oral Herpes – Affecting approximately 60% of American adults, it can manifest in a number of ways. Some people will show no signs, but most commonly contagious cold sores will appear periodically on the lips. Some may also experience painful blisters on the tongue or on the gums and this symptom may last up to a week. If you are experiencing something like this then there are medications that can help you to manage. Check with your physician for options, this is very contagious.

“Eruptive lingual papillitis is contagious and may be related to a virus.”

  • Oral thrush – If you have diabetes or are using an inhaler for asthma, you are at higher risk for this condition(as are children.). Oral thrush is a yeast infection in your mouth that can cause white patches to appear on the tongue or even on the lips. Cottonmouth(dry mouth) often accompanies these symptoms, so if you are experiencing these things you may want to consider a round of antibiotics if your physician confirms it and prescribes them.
  • Oral Cancer – Don’t panic yet. This is quite uncommon. If the bump in question is painless and growing on the side of your tongue, it might be worth getting it checked out. Again, this is a rare condition but worth looking into if you are suspicious and the growth last longer than a week or two.
  • Tuberculosis – While rare, lesions on the tongue can be an early sign of developing tuberculosis. While it is a disease that affects the lungs, tuberculosis often causes sores to manifest on various parts of the body as well.
  • Syphilis – Treatable but vicious(it can kill you), Syphilis is a bacterial infection that can sometimes manifest early signs of large, white sores on the tongue. This is most common if the tongue is the source of the infection due to the Syphilis spreading from oral sex. If you see symptoms such as this following an intimate encounter it is best to see your physician immediately, as you do not want to put this off.

There you have it. We’ve discussed lie bumps, what people used to think they were and what the medical community ascertained them to really be. We’ve also reviewed some of the vicious cousins of lie bumps, so that you will recognize them and be prepared in the unlikely case that something nasty is afoot. We hope that you won’t draw any panic from this information, as those bumps in your tongue are probably from that delicious curry you had yesterday.

Until next time!

John D

Editor at Toothsy.com
Joh is the editor at Toothsy.com where we're passionate about you getting the best tips about oral health. There are a lot of questions asked about every detail of this topic and that's where we come in, to answer them as quickly and helpfully as possible for you.
Have You Ever Heard About Lie Bumps? 1

1 thought on “Have You Ever Heard About Lie Bumps?”

  1. I use my inhaler so often and wonder why it is that I had some small white patches. They don’t often bother me n I must confess I have skipped the dentist for so long I didn’t get an answer, now I know I’ll be booking an appointment today.

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