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Ask Dr. Abby Your Own Question
Dr. Abby
Dr. Abby, US Board Certified MD
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 10330
Experience:  Family Physician practicing medicine for over 10 years, United States
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Some small bumps on the back of the tongue

Resolved Question:

i have some small bumps on the back of my tongue.what is this
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. Abby replied 7 years ago.

Are they a light pinkish color? If not, what do they look like?
Are they sore?

Dr Abby
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
they are light pinkish and they do not hurt at all
Expert:  Dr. Abby replied 7 years ago.

I suspect what you are seeing are the circumvallate papillae, which are larger taste buds at the very back of the tongue. Or you may be looking at the lingual tonsils at the back of the tongue.

Here is a diagram of the tongue (you will have to copy and paste into your browser)

Let me know if this does not seem like what you are looking at and we can discuss further.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
It seems like this is what i am looking at. Does these bumps go over to the side of the tongue and should I be concern about these bums on the back of the tongue. I dont see any bumps on the back of my throat. Also how or is there any thing i can do to get rid of this or over the counter medication. How long will this last
Expert:  Dr. Abby replied 7 years ago.
These are normal.
They are part of the taste buds. They sense bitter taste and they also help with flushing of secretions in the mouth.
You do not need to be concerned about them at all.

Dr Abby
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
One last thing and this should be all i need. 1st it seems like i always taste a nasty taste in my mouth is this normal with this. 2nd I brought some orajel antiseptic mouth sore rinse yesterday will this help or hurt. 3rd. How long on average will they stay on on tongue or go away. thanks for your help ive been worried about this
Expert:  Dr. Abby replied 7 years ago.
The papillae themselves should not be causing you a bad taste.
Do you have any post nasal drainage?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
no. it doesnt cause a constant bad taste all the time only after i eat or 1st thing when i wake up in the morning. No nasal drainage or heartburn. More of a dry taste.
Expert:  Dr. Abby replied 7 years ago.

I don't think it is from the taste buds. (the bad taste)
You can try the antiseptic. It won't hurt.
If it doesn't improve, follow up with your doctor to take a look in your mouth.

The bumps at the back of your tongue, if they are the papillae, will not go away. They are supposed to be there.
Do not scrape them--that is going to irritate them.
Don't overbrush them.
Make sure you stay well hydrated with fluids.

If you continue to have concerns, see your doctor and have him take a peek.
I am happy to answer any other questions you have

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
ok thats what i've been doing was scraping them for the past week and brushing them twice a day i guess thats why they are enlarged . so i understand now that they are part of my tongue but will they go down to normal where you can't see them
Expert:  Dr. Abby replied 7 years ago.
that is probably why they are more prominent.
They are normally raised above the tongue's surface though.
They are pink, raised and round.
They may go down a bit but don't expect them to disappear. They won't.

Here is a picture that shows them somewhat. (copy and paste)
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Thats how the back of my tongue looks but i see like 4 or 5. Do you have a picture how it looks when they are normal and not raised like that
Expert:  Dr. Abby replied 7 years ago.
That is a normal picture.

That is what I was trying to demonstrate for you.

They are raised and pink.

Here is another normal picture.

Dr Abby
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Thanks i think i understand now
Expert:  Dr. Abby replied 7 years ago.

Ok, good.
I don't want you to worry about the bumps.
You may have irritated them with the scraping and overbrushing so they could shrink down a bit once you leave them alone a bit.

Take care

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