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What are the causes of tongue skin tags?

Updated July 19, 2017

There are a number of reasons for what appear to be skin tags to appear on the tongue. Most tags on the tongue are benign and should not be a cause for concern. However, lumps on the tongue can indicate a more serious problem that your dentist will need to deal with.

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Skin Tags

Skin tags are relatively common and usually occur in middle age. They are thought to occur when skin rubs against skin. A small growth on the tongue may be a skin tag, in which case it should be benign.

Plica Fimbriata

What appears to be a skin tag may in fact just be the plica fimbriata. The plica fimbriata run along the edges of the tongue. They are the free edge of a fold along the mucous membrane. Occasionally the fold protrudes from the tongue a little more in some areas, causing what may look like skin tags. This is natural and should not indicate a more serious problem.

Mouth Cancer

If what appears to be a skin tag only occurs on one side of the mouth, or is red or white and painless, this may be an indication of mouth cancer. However, most cancers usually grow on the sides of the tongue, and almost never on the top.


It is difficult if not impossible to prevent skin tags, and they do not need to be removed, though they may bleed quite badly if cut. In the same way, protrusions from the plica fimbriata cannot be prevented and do not need to be removed. Mouth cancer is a serious condition and should be dealt with immediately. Preventive steps include regular trips to the dentist


If you discover any unexplained or troubling growths on your tongue you should talk to your dentist to make sure that you are safe and to determine any treatments that may be necessary.

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About the Author

Alexander Kennard

Alexander Kennard started writing in 2003. He has written music reviews and articles for "The Reflector" at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Canada, and has been published on antigonishreview.com. He has a Master of Arts in English from the University of Victoria.

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