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Dental and Oral Health (Adults)

Why did my tongue & taste buds swell?



Three days ago, my tongue became swollen and uncomfortable. I looked in the mirror and the taste buds down the center of my tongue (from back to front) were huge and white. Do you think this was an allergic reaction? The tongue went back to normal in a few hours. I still have a few of the swollen taste buds left near the back of my tongue.


More than likely, you had a local irritation caused by the texture of something you ate. The taste buds can become white or red when they get irritated. They typically calm down pretty quickly. The “swollen” taste buds on the back of your tongue may be normal. Across the back of your tongue are a few large papilla that are called circumvallate papilla.

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Response by:

Daniel Nathan Reed, DDS Daniel Nathan Reed, DDS
Clinical Associate Professor of Primary Care Dentistry
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University