Q: I've just suffered through another bout with a tongue pimple. At least, that's what it looks - and feels--like. The bumps are super-painful for few days, then they disappear. What's causing this and what can I do about it?
Dr. Donnica: A "tongue pimple" is a great way to describe it, but it is probably an inflamed papilla, or taste bud. Eating too many tomatoes, citrus, or other acidic foods; pokes from a food that has a sharp edge like a chip or pretzel; or a tiny puncture from broken dental work can trigger the micro-irritation that leads to a swollen bump. Within about five days, it will go away on its own, but until it does, resist the urge to check on it to see if it's still there by rubbing your tongue against your teeth. To sooth the soreness, try rinsing with warm salt-water 2-3 times a day or dab the bump with a milk of magnesia-soaked cotton swab to create an acid-neutralizing barrier. While the bump is healing, stick with a soft diet and steer clear of anything potentially irritating, like acidic, hot or spicy foods. If your tender taste bud doesn't shrink back to normal within ten days, see your doctor or dentist.
Created: 8/27/2006  - Donnica Moore, M.D.