What Are Lie Bumps?

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  • Written By: Christina Edwards
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 11 April 2019
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Lie bumps are small, tender, white or red tongue bumps. Although they were once believed to be caused by lying, this has since been proved to be erroneous. These bumps can be caused by tongue irritation, acid reflux, and even some foods. Pain medication and ice chips can be used to alleviate the discomfort of these bumps. While these bumps are not usually serious and they usually go away within a few days, swishing salt water or antibacterial mouthwash can help prevent infection.

Known scientifically as transient lingual papillitis or fungiform papillary glossitis, lie bumps are a common problem that can affect the tongue. These bumps are usually white or red, and they usually affect the top part of the tongue where the taste buds are located. They are also usually somewhat uncomfortable or sore.

According to a popular old wives tale, lie bumps typically appeared on a person's tongue when he told lies. Modern medicine, however, has since proven this theory to be wrong. In fact, these bumps are generally caused by tongue irritation.

People who chew on their tongues or bite their tongues often may also have problems with these bumps. Even some sharp, crunchy foods can irritate the tongue enough to cause these bumps, along with acidic, spicy, or sour foods. Indigestion and acid reflux can also sometimes cause bumps. Constant friction or vigorous scrubbing on the tongue can also cause these bumps to form.


Although they can be somewhat uncomfortable, lie bumps are generally not considered to be a serious ailment. They will usually go away on their own within a few days to a week. If symptoms persist longer than this, medical attention may be necessary. In the meantime, a few things can be done to help ease the discomfort of these bumps.

Pain medication can be taken to control the pain and inflammation. Some individuals may find that dental numbing gels and liquids will also help numb the sensitive areas. Ice chips or ice cubes can also be held on the tongue to help ease pain and inflammation.

Lie bumps can also get infected without proper care. When this happens, an antibiotic is often needed to help get rid of the infection. To prevent this, many doctors recommend swishing salt water in the mouth. Some alcohol mouthwashes can also help prevent infections on the tongue.


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Post 3

I've got a lie bump on my gum. Now when I talk, it hurts.

Post 2

I find that salty foods create a lot of the lie bumps I've had. I'll get one or two on the side of my tongue, but it'll feel like there are ten or twenty. If I cut way back on salt during the life cycle of a lie bump, it will usually fade away in two days. If I can't help myself, it will be more like three or four days before the bumps go away.

Post 1

I have discovered from painful personal experience that the last thing you should do is try to squeeze or pop a lie bump. The pain can be excrutiating, and the bump usually flares up again. As tempting as it may be, don't go after a lie bump with a needle or your fingers. It will only make matters worse.

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