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Ask Dr.Hans Your Own Question
Dr.Hans, Masters of Dental Surgery
Category: Dental
Satisfied Customers: 644
Experience:  11 years of clinical experience in diagnosing and treating problems in oral and dental health.
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Painless bumps on the back of my tongue with a white buildup.

Resolved Question:

I have bumps on the back of my tongue. They are not painful, however, they are bothersome to look at. Also, I am constantly scraping my tongue due to white buildup. My pcp and my dentist told me they do not know what either or the two is. I tried to consult with an oral surgeon and they do not accept insurance. Is there help out there.?

Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Dental
Expert:  Dr.Hans replied 8 years ago.

Hello and welcome to just answer,

We all have large bumps on the back of our tongue which are taste buds and are normal. You are probably looking at the normal anatomy of the top and sides of the tongue. Lymphoid aggregates and the circumvallate papillae are often found toward the posterior i.e. back aspect of the tongue.

Have a look at the picture:

Coming to the white build up:

Although it appears unsightly, a white tongue is usually a harmless and transient condition. It is due to inflammation of the finger-like projections called papillae on the surface of your tongue.

An appearance of a white coating is created by debris, bacteria and dead cells that get lodged between the inflamed papillae.

There are many causes of inflammation of the papillae, the 3 most important being:


Mild dehydration ,

Excessive mouth breathing.

To prevent or improve the appearance of a white tongue, I suggest

1. Brush your tongue on a regular basis.

2. Quit smoking (if you're a smoker).

3. Drink plenty of water.

4. Increase fiber in your diet. Crunchy foods — such as apples, broccoli and popcorn — help scrape debris from your tongue.

You must also get yourself evaluated once by an oral –surgeon or an oral physician. If insurance is a problem than you can try the following avenues.

1) Consider visiting a dental school nearby you. The treatment rendered here is far less expensive as compared to private dentists. Treatment is provided by dental students under the supervision of their skilled teachers and supervisors, here is the link for details and addresses of all the dental school in USA

2) You can also contact your Local dental state association for help. They can guide to find dental foundations operating in your area that charge less or very minimal fee. You can find the contact details of your local dental society by following this link:

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I am not a smoker, I drink plenty of water and I eat quite a bit of fruits and fiber. I have to ask. Could this at all be cancer? Why didn't my pcp and my dentist know what this is? Is it not a common thing?
Expert:  Dr.Hans replied 8 years ago.

Hello again and thank you for your response,

There is a possibility that you have thrush, a yeast infection of the mouth. It is characterized by a thin white film that covers the oral tissues. It's not necessarily painful.

It is most common in babies, children, and the elderly; it can also effect people suffering from diabetics, women on birth control pills, or those with a weakened immunity or those, who take antibiotic In all of these cases, the healthy balance of bacteria in the mouth can be disrupted, making it easier for Candida albicans to grow and spread.

You can read more about thrush here:

If this is the case, your dentist can give you some antifungal medications to get rid of this condition.

Other conditions that can also cause a white tongue are:


Immunosuppressive medications

Leukoplakia - white tongue or mouth lining.

Mechanical trauma to tongue

Oral lichen planus

Oral thrush - white patches on tongue

Steroid inhalers

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus etc.

You can also refer to the following link for more information:

I would suggest you to visit an oral surgeon or an oral physician and get it biopsied to confirm what it is. A visit to a nearby dental school will be beneficial.

Dr.Hans and other Dental Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thank you