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Mouth Diseases

Bumps on Tongue

08/02/2011

Question:

I have noticed many bumps far back on my tongue that I can only feel when I put my finger deep down I can only see two one on each side on the back they have been there a few wks or more. I also get bleeding when I brush but experience no pain. Only thing is I had been using meth for about a month and thought that might be the cause but I quit using and the bumps are still there. I also am a heavy smoker 30 yrs of age.

Answer:

Bumps that are lined up across the very back part of your tongue and are about the same size probably represent what are known as circumvalate papillae. Most people have about 6 to 8 of these normal structures that form a V that points to the back of the throat, but often they are not noticed because they are so far back. Usually these structures can't be seen unless a person sticks their tongue out really far, and they may not be noticed until later in life when a person might have a sore throat, stick their tongue out, and look at it in a mirror with good lighting.

The painless bleeding from brushing may be a sign of gum disease (either gingivitis or periodontitis). You should see your dentist to determine whether or not professional care may be needed to get your gums back to health. 

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Response by:

John R Kalmar, DMD, PhD John R Kalmar, DMD, PhD
Clinical Professor of Pathology
Associate Dean of Dentistry Administration
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University