Pimples on the tongue

Day 2 of things that drive me crazy and thank you for all your great suggestions. Keep them coming and I won’t have to use the creative side of my brain for weeks – not using part of my brain meshes very well with my summer ambition of doing as little as possible.  So far, I must say, I am quite the success.

Pimples on the tongue – I hate these things!! They make me talk funny, they hurt and nothing tastes as good.  You may not believe this about me but I love to talk!  Also, eating and drinking delicious, decadent things is one of my summer ambitions, so the mini-abscess in my mouth last week was particularly crippling.

1.  What are they? They occur when one of the little taste buds or papillae on your tongue gets irritated.  It enlarges and swells and may become painful.  There are thousands of papillae on the tongue so any one of them can go rogue.

2.  Who gets them? Anyone with a tongue can get them.

3.  What causes them? I am wholly dissatisfied with the answer I am about to give you, but after much searching this is the best I have.  (Believe it or not, there was not a special class devoted to tongue pimples in med school. ) They can be caused by a virus, bacteria trapped under the surface (like a real pimple), increased acid in your mouth from an upset stomach or acid reflux, and trauma to the tongue.  You may find that if you burn or bite your tongue, one or more of the papillae may become inflamed.

4.  What can you do about them? There are many home remedies and no medically proven ones.  Warm salt water, mouthwash, Tums, avoidance of spicy and acidic foods, and Oragel are all possible solutions.  Time is the best cure as most go away within a few days.  Everything I’ve read and everything I can extrapolate from what I know about the treatment of other abscesses, says not to pop.  That being said, the one I had last week was begging to be scratched off.  I did it and it has not reared its ugly, little white head again.

5. When should you be worried? If you have a sore on your tongue or anywhere else in your mouth that does not go away within 1-2 weeks, see your doctor – especially if you live in a cave, making it impossible for you to understand the risks of tobacco and so, still smoke cigarettes or chew tobacco.  Oral cancer can present as a sore that does not heal.

There you have it.  Tongue pimples – annoying but probably no big deal.  There is no Clearasil treatment but time should do the trick.  My other suggestion is if you feel one coming on, load up on vitamin C, zinc and water as it may be a sign that you are coming down with something.

Have a wonderful, tongue-acne free weekend.  On Monday, and likely just for women, why do we get chin hair as we get older … something to look forward to!


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