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Mouth Diseases

Yellow Bumps on Left Side of Tongue

07/05/2011

Question:

I can`t seem to find any pictures to match my condition. I have yellow bumps on the side of my tongue in the back(kinda hard to see in the mirror) Any suggestions on what to look at?

Answer:

The tongue has multiple papilla scattered on the tongue:

Except for the filliform papillae, all of the other papilla contain taste buds. The morphology varies from finge like projections (filliform and fungiform), to dome shaped knobs (valate), and the follate that appear as vertical folds (fin-like) on the lateral border of the tongue.

The papilla are covered by keratinized epithelium, and in some cases can pick up extrinsic stain (coffee, tea, smoke, dyes from food, etc.) and appear yellow, black, orange, red or purple. I would suggest that if you are concerned that you have your dentist or primary care provider evaluate this problem. Otherwise brushing your tongue with a toothbrush should decrease the pronounced yellow bumps you are describing.

As an aside while you are looking this up on the web check out the images for "Lingual Pappilla" "Follate Pappilla,"Valate Pappilla".

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Response by:

Richard J Jurevic, DDS, PhD Richard J Jurevic, DDS, PhD
Formerly, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences
School of Dental Medicine
Case Western Reserve University