What Are Lie Bumps?

“Lie bumps” is a common name for transient lingual papillitis. The common name derives from a superstitious belief that telling a lie causes these bumps to appear on your tongue. The name is still used even though we know this is not the real cause. These bumps are typically small, red or white, and may be painful or uncomfortable. They appear suddenly and generally disappear in a few days. In most cases, no treatment is necessary. If these bumps appear anatomy of human tongue - paid - Depositphotos 95368080 s-2015alongside other symptoms, you might have “eruptive lingual papillitis," which is caused by a virus. They are most commonly found in children. If they persist for more than a week, it is wise to see your dentist or doctor. If these bumps recur in children, it is wise to see their pediatrician.

Transient Lingual Papillitis vs. Eruptive Lingual Papillitis: The bumps that appear on the tongue in either of these conditions look alike. Eruptive lingual papillitis differs in several ways”

  • It can last as long as two weeks.
  • It may be caused by a virus.
  • It is contagious.
  • It may cause swollen glands.
  • It may be accompanied by fever.
  • It is more common in children.

CAUSE: Scientific research has not been able to identify or document a definite cause of lie bumps. A number of possible causes have been advanced, including: stress, gastrointestinal upset, menstruation, acidic food, sour food, food allergies, spicy food, smoking, and local trauma (e.g., biting or burning the tongue). They are often caused by the taste buds splitting.

TREATMENT: Lie bumps typically require no treatment. To manage the symptoms, you might try:

  • Avoid acidic, sour, or spicy food.
  • Rinse the mouth with salt water.
  • Brush after every meal.
  • Use mouthwash to reduce bacteria in the mouth.
  • Use an over-the-counter topical treatment (e.g., Zilactin)

WHEN TO SEE A DOCTOR: There are several types of bumps that can appear on your tongue, each with its own cause. If you have bumps that are not caused by transient lingual papillitis (lie bumps) or eruptive lingual papillitis, you should see your dentist or doctor. Other bumps might be caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), canker sores, syphilis, scarlet fever, oral cancer, traumatic fibroma, or lymphoepithelial cysts.