What Causes Bumps to Appear in Your Mouth? How to Cope

Mouth bumps are usually harmless although they may be uncomfortable and even painful. Get to know possible causes and managements here.

A small bump in mouth that looks like a pimple may be caused by a few possible conditions like foods irritation. In most cases they may resolve on their own, but you still need to see a doctor if the bumps persists for a long period or becomes worse over time. 

Symptoms of Bumps in Mouth

Bumps on the Palate

  • Whitish bumps on the palate of the mouth may be due to smoking.
  • Mandibular torus or exostosis occurs on the palate of the mouth or at the lower jaw near the tongue with an extra bone protruding, which is often injured by eating hard or sharp foods.
  • Mucoceles form when the salivary glands are either blocked or cut.

Bumps on the Tongue

  • Circumvallate papillae are bumps found at the backmost part of the tongue, which can only be seen when you stick out your tongue really far.
  • Transient lingual papillitis appears on the upper surface of your tongue due to local trauma (like biting or scraping) or contact reactions to certain foods.
  • A fibroma is a benign growth at the tip of the tongue, which can arise after local injury, like biting the tongue.
  • Exostosis or a mandibular torus can also be found on the tongue.
  • Lingual tonsils are found under the tongue, and may become red and swollen during a viral infection or cold.
  • Black bumps are usually noncancerous but you can ask an oral pathologist for evaluation.

Bumps on the Throat

These bumps are called subepithelial lymphoid tissue, which are composed of lymphocytes or immune cells (lymphocytes). They usually enlarge during a bacterial or viral infection in the area, but they become unnoticeable when the infection is gone.

Bumps on the Gums

These gumboils are also called parulis and are found around the teeth near the cheeks or lips and on the roof of the mouth. They are usually caused by a tooth with a nerve that died due infection and decay.

Bumps on the Lips

  • These bumps are normal structures like openings of minor salivary gland or oil glands that are found on the upper lips and cheeks.
  • Mucoceles may also be found on the inner side of the lower lip.

General Causes and Remedies of Bumps in Mouth

Foods Irritation

  • Causes. A bump inside your mouth may be caused by burning after drinking or eating something that was too hot. Bumps inside the mouth may also be due to irritation caused by eating overly spicy, salty or sour foods.
  • Remedies. Make sure the temperature of your food or drink is right before taking it. Avoid certain irritating foods.

Canker Sores

  • Causes. These are ulcers that appear at the base of your gums, tongue, roof of the mouth and in the inner surface of the cheeks and lips. The exact cause of these sores is unknown, but they are believed to be triggered by food allergies, hormonal changes, menstrual periods, poor diet and stress. Trauma to the mouth tissues, such as recent dental work or cheek biting can also lead to canker sores.
  • Remedies. They usually resolve on their own within a few weeks. However, you may apply an over-the-counter product, rinse your mouth with salt water or mouth wash and avoid spicy foods to relieve your discomfort. You may need to consult a doctor if the canker sores persist for more than 3 weeks or if they occur more than thrice a year.

Mucous Cysts

  • Causes. These bumps in mouth usually develop on the inner surface of the lips cheeks, the tongue, and the roof or floor of the mouth. Mucous cysts are thin, painless, and appear as fluid-filled sacs. They are believed to be associated with sucking the lips between the teeth and tissue trauma from piercings.
  • See a Doctor. These bumps spontaneously rupture, draining on their own. If they cause great discomfort, you can ask your doctor to drain the sacs using a sterile needle.

Oral Lichen Planus

  • Causes. These are bumps caused by inflammation of the mucous membranes in the mouth. Inflammation causes bumps or lines to develop inside the cheeks or sides of the tongue, which may be triggered by liver disease, allergies and certain vaccines and medications.
  • Remedies. It may resolve without treatment but you must call a doctor if the bumps persist or if you experience pain. Treatments include retinoids and corticosteroids to reduce inflammation.

Inflamed Papilla

  • Causes. Bumps in mouth caused by inflamed papillae may be found where taste buds are usually located. They become inflamed because of injury from burning the tongue with hot food or drinks or accidental biting of the tongue.
  • Remedies. The bumps usually resolve without treatment. You can avoid injuries to your tongue by being careful with hot food or drinks. OTC painkillers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be taken to relieve pain.



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