Remedy for Salt Bumps on Tongue

By Theresa L Johnston

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.

Young woman licking lips, close-up of mouth
credit: Christopher Robbins/Stockbyte/Getty Images
Salt bumps on the tongue

Causes of Tongue Bumps

Woman sticking out tongue
credit: Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images
Closeup image of a tongue

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.


Mature man using mouth spray, close-up
credit: Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images
Antiseptic numbing spray

One popular folk treatment you might try is saline (salt water). Stir 0.25 teaspoon of table salt in an 8-ounce 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.