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Flesh Colored Bumps on the Tongue

by
author image Melissa McNamara
Melissa McNamara is a certified personal trainer who holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and communication studies from the University of Iowa. She writes for various health and fitness publications while working toward a Bachelor of Science in nursing.
Flesh Colored Bumps on the Tongue
A child sticking out his tongue looking in a mirror. Photo Credit Keith Brofsky/Photodisc/Getty Images

Flesh colored bumps on your tongue can be painful or painless depending on the cause. Some causes of whitish-flesh colored bumps are canker sores, candidiasis and early stages of syphilis. If you’re unsure what’s causing the tongue bump, contact your family doctor for an examination of the affected area.

Causes

You may have canker sores if your diet lacks vitamin B-12, zinc, folate or iron, according to MayoClinic.com. If your experiencing emotional stress, have had dental work done or participate in sports, you may also have canker sores. Candidiasis is caused by a fungus. It occurs when normal oral fungus is out of its normal balance because of diseases or antibiotics. Having a dry mouth increases the risk of candidiasis, according to Dental Gentle Care. Syphilis is passed from one person to another through direct contact with a syphilis sore, also called a chancre. This is most commonly caused by sexual intercourse, but oral sex can cause chancres to be present in the mouth since the sore appears at the spot where syphilis entered the body, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Identification on the Tongue

A canker sore can be painful, especially if it rubs against your teeth or comes in contact with spicy foods. A tingling sensation may develop shortly before the actual sore appears on the tongue. The sore is usually round and whitish-yellow in color. Candidiasis may appear as red or cream colored raised patches on the mucous membrane of the tongue. These patches can be painful and will usually bleed if removed. Chancres from the primary stage of syphilis will usually be firm painless bumps that are usually red, but they can also be a whitish-gray color.

Diagnosis

No testing is required for canker sores other than a physical examination of the ulcer. Candidiasis can be diagnosed through a skin biopsy so the affected area can be observed through a microscope. A medical laboratory may culture the candidiasis sample to grow the fungus for further examination, according to Dental Gentle Care. Syphilis can be diagnosed by a blood test or viewing a skin sample under a microscope.

Treatment

A mild canker sore will disappear on its own within a few weeks, according to MayoClinic.com. There are several oral over-the-counter treatments containing benzocaine or flucinonide that temporarily reduce the pain associated with canker sores. Mouth rinses and nutritional supplements are also treatment options, according to MayoClinic.com. An antifungal medication is often prescribed for candidiasis. Artificial saliva and consuming aloe vera juice is another way to treat the mouth ulcers associated with candidiasis, according to Dental Gentle Care. The first stage of syphilis is easily treated with an injection of penicillin or an alternative antibacterial injection for penicillin allergy sufferers.

Considerations

If you have painless white bumps on your tongue, cancer is a possibility. Oral cancer usually appears on the side of your tongue, according to the Merck Manuals. If you have candidiasis or want to avoid it, practice good oral hygiene by flossing daily and brushing twice per day. If syphilis is left untreated, it can lead to secondary stage and then eventually to late stages where internal organs become damaged and could possibly lead to death.

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