Remedy for salt bumps on tongue

Updated April 17, 2017

Bumps on the tongue are a common condition, but the cause is not clear in most cases. Most of the time they do not pose a health threat, but they can cause some discomfort. Some people call them "lie bumps;" a folksy explanation states they are caused by telling falsehoods.

Causes of Tongue Bumps

There is no official single cause for the condition known as transient lingual papillitis, but a couple of theories exist. Trauma to the tongue, such as scraping or scratching your tongue with your teeth, accidentally biting it, and drinking very hot coffee, is thought to be one reason your taste buds could become "lie bumps." Other possible causes might include eating foods that are high in acid content, like tomatoes and strawberries, and eating too much granular salt or sugar.


One popular folk treatment you might try is saline (salt water). Stir 0.25 teaspoon of table salt in an 236ml glass of filtered water. The temperature of the water can be warm or cool depending on your personal preference. Take a mouthful of the water and swish it around your mouth, concentrating on the area where the bump formed. Even if the bump does not clear up faster, this solution can provide relief if your bumps are irritated or painful.

Spray on an antiseptic numbing spray like the kind used for sore throats. This can provide you with temporary relief if you are experiencing pain with your papillae.

Avoid acidic, salty and other irritating foods while you wait for your bump to clear up. Drink plenty of water to keep your tongue hydrated. Dry mucous membrane is more prone to infection. Even without treatment, transient lingual papillitis rarely lasts longer than a week. If your bumps do not disappear within a reasonable time, seek medical attention. Bumps can become infected, and sometimes what you thought was a simple "lie bump" is actually a more serious condition that needs treatment.

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About the Author

Theresa L Johnston is a Southern writer with expertise in alternative medicine, gardening and behavioral and women's health issues. She has been published at, in "The Mostly ARTzine," and has edited several newsletters. She has written procedures manuals, call scripts, and youth group curriculum for her various employers over the last 10 years.