Causes Of Painful Enlarged Papillae On Tongue And Its Treatment

The tongue is responsible for the sense of taste. It contains the taste buds which are found on the surface of the tongue around the papillae. These papillae are small structures which detect whether the taste is sweet, salty, sour, bitter, or umami. Below are the four types of papillae on the tongue.

  • The fungiform papillae are located in a scattered manner on the surface of the tongue but most of them are located on the apex and the sides of the tongue. They have a mushroom shape and detect sweet and sour tastes.
  • The filiform papillae are V-shaped and are long and thin. These are the most numerous types of tongue papillae and serve as an abrasive coating to the tongue. These papillae detect sour taste.
  • The foliate papillae lie on the sides of the tongue. They each have an elongated fold and are clustered into two groups.
  • The circumvallate papillae have taste buds that are sensitive to bitter taste. They are located at the back portion of the tongue and are arranged in a V-form that is heading toward the throat.
    Most people only have between ten to fourteen circumvallate papillae.

Enlarged Papillae On Tongue Causes

Most of the time, enlarged papillae is a normal part of growing. However, there are also certain harmful conditions that resulted to the enlargement of the papillae. There are several reasons that cause the papillae to be enlarged. The causes of the enlargement of the papillae on the tongue include the following:

  • Excessive smoking can cause irritation to the tongue. This can result in enlargement of the papillae on the tongue.
  • Canker sores can be present in the mouth with no known cause. And when the person is experiencing stress, this condition may be more severe.
  • There are some medical conditions that have symptoms that include the enlargement of the papillae. Gastrointestinal conditions like GERD and ulcerative colitis are known to be associated with enlarged papillae on the tongue.
  • An oral cancer may be present if the sore does not disappear after two weeks.
  • Infection may result from trauma of the tongue caused by biting, eating something hot or foods that are too acidic.

Treatment For Painful Papillae On Tongue

Some tips on treating the painful papillae on tongue include the following:

  • Stop smoking.
  • Promote good oral hygiene by brushing teeth and tongue, flossing, and eating healthy foods.
  • Avoid eating hot, spicy, and acidic foods.
  • Gargle with salt water or a mouth rinse to ease the pain.
  • Yogurt can help improve the balance of bacteria in the body. Increase the intake of diary food products like low fat milk.
  • Avoid biting the tongue.
  • Have a dentist smoothen sharp teeth.
  • Increase the intake of Vitamin B12 supplements which are helpful in the management of mouth ulcers and cold sores. Intake of iron supplements or natural sources of iron like prunes, dates, etc are also required for the management of enlarged papillae on the tongue.

7 thoughts on “Causes Of Painful Enlarged Papillae On Tongue And Its Treatment

  • March 14, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    My age is 26, lately I am stressed due to marital problems. I used to smoke a lot, but since few months I have stopped smoking. Since few days my tongue has become sore and I am finding difficulty to eat. When I got up in the morning, I saw a white colored patch on my tongue, what I should do.

  • March 24, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    I had impacted tooth which was removed 6 weeks ago. There is no problem in that area of tooth, but after a week I got sore throat. I have bumps at the back of my tongue. I took antibiotics for two weeks but there is hardly any relief. According to doctor it is an allergy. I am also suffering from TMJ problem. Is my problem related to it? What should I do?

    • April 11, 2012 at 4:02 pm

      You should do salt water gargling regularly three times in a day. The bactericidal property of salt will help in killing any germs that are involved in causing sore throat. Even if there is an allergy it natural salt will help in relieving the symptom. Also drink warm milk add a pinch of turmeric powder to it and mix it well before drinking. Drinking warm milk will soothe the throat and turmeric powder will reduce the inflammatory process in the throat.

  • April 13, 2012 at 1:10 am

    On several occasions I had painful swollen Papillae. I am pretty sure they were caused by stress and not from anything else. They would hurt for several days. My friend has advised me that the only way I may get any relief is to cut it off. Is it worth trying?

    • April 23, 2012 at 3:36 pm

      In any case you should not follow your friend’s advice. It may do more harm than good. Cutting papillae can give rise to infection that may be difficult to cure. If at all you feel extremely annoyed with your problem the best way is to consult your doctor. Besides, try to control stress and anxiety. Yoga and meditation are best holistic treatment for reducing stress. Also eat plenty of vegetables and fruits as they contain helpful vitamins and minerals. Eat yogurt, it contains friendly bacteria that keeps your oral cavity healthy and clean.


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