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How to get rid of swollen taste buds

Updated April 17, 2017

If the smallest bump on your tongue feels like a volcanic eruption, it could be a swollen taste bud. The tongue is a sensitive organ with multiple nerve endings. One or multiple tongue bumps are referred to as "transient lingual papillitis". They occur in one out of every two people -- and who knows why -- You might have eaten something irritating, or bitten your tongue: You could have a viral infection or just be experiencing an unusally high level of stress. There are treatments that can alleviate symptoms of pain and redness, but patience is the thing you need most.

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  1. Do not rub them. Avoid scraping, picking, or brushing them with force. These methods will only aggravate the problem. These are not a foreign body that needs to be removed. Leaving them alone is best.

  2. Drink cold fluids. Drinking warm or hot liquids might irritate a swollen taste bud. However, cold water or milk will usually make them feel better. Rub an ice cube directly on the bump for immediate relief. Avoid beverages like soda or lemonade.

  3. Rinse with salt water. Mix a ½ teaspoon of salt with warm water. Take a mouthful of the mixture and swirl it around the affected area. Then spit out the remainder. Repeat several times until the swollen taste bud feels less painful or appears smaller.

  4. Use a mouthwash with antiseptic. If the bumps on your tongue are related to an infection, an antiseptic mouthwash will help. Gargle with the mouthwash for about 30 to 60 seconds, then spit it out.

  5. Eat cold and mild foods. A mouthful of cold yoghurt or ice cream might lessen the pain of swollen taste buds. Spicy and exotic foods could cause them to flare up. In general, eat healthy foods that you can tolerate.

  6. Tip

    An oral numbing agent can alleviate swollen taste bud symptoms too.


    If the condition does not improve in several days, consult a dentist or physician.

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Things You'll Need

  • Antiseptic mouthwash
  • Salt

About the Author

Vanessa Newman

Based in Colorado Springs, Vanessa Newman writes for "Women's Edition" magazine and has been published in "Rocky Mountain Sports," "IDEA" magazine and "The Teaching Professor." She has been writing professionally for over 10 years and holds a master's degree in sports medicine. She has written online courses for companies such as Anheuser-Busch and Chevron, but prefers creative writing.

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