Everyone suffers from bumps on their tongue sometimes. These should not be confused with the normal small bumps or roughness that is present in everyone: the papillae. The tongue has four different papillae, including the taste buds. Sometimes a papilla is inflamed, but often a bump or ulcer on the tongue has another cause. In most cases, Duit is harmless and heals on its own. In the worst case, it is tongue cancer.
The function of the tongue
The tongue is a “piece of meat” located in the oral cavity. The tongue is important in the formation of words. The tongue also helps with swallowing and sucking. In addition, the tongue is an important tool in the formation of the jaw in the first 18 years of life. The teeth are also formed with the help of the tongue.
We know the tongue mainly through its sense of taste. We perceive salt, sour, sweet and bitter with the tongue. At the back of the tongue are the taste buds that detect bitterness. On the sides of the tongue we find the acid-sensitive taste buds. We perceive sweet and salty with the tip of the tongue.
The tongue contains bumps, is this normal?
A slippery tongue would not be good. The tongue has a rough surface. This is rougher in the elderly than in the young, but every person has a rough tongue. The roughness is caused by papillae located all over the tongue. The papillae are visible as small bumps. Each papilla contains a nerve ending. These nerve endings are responsible for sensing pressure. In addition, the tongue contains many taste buds, which are also visible as bumps. The taste buds have a slightly different shape and resemble small red mushrooms.
Disease of the tongue
A healthy tongue is pink and not excessively but evenly rough. Slight roughness is caused by the papillae. A diseased tongue can often be recognized by a deposit (white, gray, yellow, brown), excessive roughness, redness, swollen, cracks or fissures in the tongue, bumps, sores or growths or other irregularities. A diseased tongue often hurts, is numb or has a changing sense of taste. But the above complaints are not always equally common.
Bumps on the tongue
One of the most common complaints is bumps on the tongue. Bumps on the back of the tongue are completely normal. These are the taste buds for bitter and are often somewhat larger than the other papillae. The taste buds on the side of the tongue are also larger than the others. We also call these larger papillae the leafy papillae.
Bumps that are evenly distributed over the tongue (as many on the left as on the right) are in most cases papillae. Sometimes a (taste) bud becomes inflamed. We call this papillitis. The papilla is swollen, red and painful. Another condition in which the papillae are swollen and red is raspberry tongue or strawberry tongue. Papillae may become detached. A raspberry tongue often occurs with scarlet fever, intestinal inflammation, heart disease, liver disease and Kawasaki syndrome (inflammation of the medium-sized blood vessels).
Canker sores are small sores that can develop not only on the tongue, but also on the cheek mucosa, oral mucosa or on the gums. They are caused by the herpes virus. Some people suffer from canker sores more often than others. The exact cause is not known, but poor oral hygiene could contribute to the development of canker sores.
An infection with a certain type of bacteria can also cause bumps. In these cases, the doctor will have to determine which bacteria this is. Often there are other symptoms present, making the illness noticeable.
Pellagra is a disease in which there is a serious deficiency of vitamin B3. There are various symptoms such as a bright red and sore tongue, bumps on the tongue, headache, diarrhea, reduced sensation and several complaints.
When the papillae on the back of the tongue start to proliferate, we call it a hairy tongue. Often a black or white layer develops on the tongue. New cells are produced faster than they are shed. The cause is often found in the use of coffee, tea, tobacco and poor oral hygiene. Generally, this condition is not painful, but the tongue may be tender.
Tuberculosis, abbreviated TB, is a disease caused by bacteria. The disease results in lumps. This infection often occurs in the lungs: pulmonary tuberculosis. With every form of tuberculosis, nodules develop somewhere on or in the body. Bumps or lumps can also develop on the tongue. Syphilis (syphilis) causes gray deposits on the tongue in the form of plaques. The papillae are also raised in these places.
A burnt tongue also causes bumps or blisters to develop on the tongue. These disappear again after a few days. It usually takes 5 to 10 days for a burned tongue to heal. Until then, the tongue may be sore or numb.
Cancer of the tongue often occurs as a result of tobacco and alcohol use. Not everyone who uses tobacco or alcohol gets tongue cancer, and sometimes people get tongue cancer without using tobacco or alcohol. Other causes may also be present. Of all cancers in the head and neck area, cancer of the tongue is the most common. Often the first symptom is a bump, sore or wound on the tongue that does not heal. At a later stage, pain occurs and the bump becomes larger. The pain may radiate to the ear. Problems with swallowing often arise. Eating solid food becomes more difficult. The neck glands may swell. This is often a sign that the cancer cells are spreading (metastasize).
Treatment will often be surgical, in which the tumor is removed. The neck glands are also sometimes removed. In addition , radioirradiation and/or chemotherapy will take place. Sometimes surgery is not possible and only radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy will be used.