Painful and Enlarged Papillae on Tongue: Causes and Treatment

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If you are a smoker and are experiencing painful papillae on the tongue, you should immediately stop smoking. Not only is smoking a major cause for papillae on the tongue but is also seriously detrimental to your overall health. When you notice papillae are becoming painful, it is important to quit your habit. If you feel that you absolutely cannot quit smoking, try purchasing an electronic cigarette. Although it still contains nicotine, it is much less invasive to the body.

2. Engage in Good Oral Hygiene

Properly taking care of your mouth will ensure that you do not develop painful, enlarged papillae. By taking the time to brush your teeth at least twice a day, you will take the steps to avoid this uncomfortable condition. You should also take care to brush the tongue every day and may want to think about investing in a tongue scraper to remove excess bacteria. Flossing is also extremely important in maintaining good oral hygiene and will only increase your chances of maintaining a healthy mouth.

3. Avoid Spicy Foods

As delicious as spicy foods may be to some, they also tend to cause the enlargement of papillae on the tongue and help induce the pain that goes along with it. If you find that papillae become painful, you should stop eating spicy foods at once.

Until symptoms improve, it is wise to steer clear of anything with extra spice such as curries and dishes made with jerk seasoning. If you notice that symptoms return when you resume eating these foods, it is a wise decision to cut them out of your diet completely.

4. Gargle with Salt Water

When papillae become painful, you should gargle with salt water regularly three times a day until symptoms improve. Salt will help kill any bacteria that may be causing painful papillae to form. If they are the cause of an allergy, the salt water rinse will help in relieving symptoms associated with the allergy. Papillae that become irritated are often signs of a cold, and gargling with salt water can also help if this is indeed the case.

5. Eat Some Yogurt


Yogurt can be a great way to help rid of painful papillae on the tongue. Yogurt contains essential probiotics and will greatly improve gastrointestinal flora. This will restore balance to the body and help to quickly relieve painful symptoms.

You may also try increasing dairy products such as low-fat milk to see if symptoms improve. If you cannot stand yogurt, there are probiotic pills that are widely available that will do just as good a job as yogurt to introduce healthy bacteria to the system.

6. Increase B12 and Iron Intake

Vitamin B12 is one of the most essential vitamins you can put in your system. Deficiencies in this powerful vitamin may cause sores in the mouth and irritate papillae on the tongue. You should always maintain healthy levels of vitamin B12 for increased energy and better concentration as well.

Iron is absolutely required to manage the pain and irritation of papillae on the tongue that have become painful. Consider iron supplements to help in reducing pain and getting papillae back to their normal state. Iron is also found in abundance in nature and eating foods like dates and prunes are an excellent way to get the necessary iron intake you need.

While enlarged and painful papillae are not too serious, they can cause a major upset and become very difficult to deal with. Any of the above-mentioned remedies should work to decrease their severity and take the pain away completely. It is wise to always practice good health habits to keep conditions such as these at bay.

Remember that stress is a major cause for sores to develop on the tongue. Doing what you can to relieve stress such as getting adequate sleep, eating a well-balanced diet, and engaging in activities you enjoy are all excellent ways to reduce stress.

You may want to consider trying meditation to relieve stress. Yoga is also extremely beneficial in keeping away stress and has the power to keep you calm in the midst of stressful situations that may arise and are out of your control. Be sure to get plenty of exercises to keep the body functioning as it is designed to.

When you take care of your body, your body will take care of you. Unfortunately, we often neglect our bodies by eating foods that destroy our systems, not getting nearly enough exercise, smoking cigarettes, and remaining stressed out as life throws different situations our way. Painful and enlarged papillae on the tongue are often a result of the mistreatment of our bodies and are but a not so gentle reminder that it may be time to start treating our bodies with more care.

Painful and Enlarged Papillae on Tongue: Causes and Treatment
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  1. Any treatment for the infection?
    I cant eat or drink its painful. I think I get this tongue burn when I eat super sour pineapple.
    Do you have any suggestion to what kind of food and drink can I eat? And what treatment can I apply? Thank you for your help.

    1. I find eating chicken noodle soup with cayenne pepper to help it… Surprisingly cayenne pepper can help… Google it

  2. I have had this for years. When I eat BBQ sauce, ketchup, mustard, tomato sauce and anything that has a lot of vinegar this happens to me. I have found a Herb called L-Lysine it works wonders. I take one in the morning. Now I can eat my hamburger with mustard, spaghetti with the grandkids and my favorite BBQ. But before you start taking any herb or medication ask your doctor. Also research the herb before you start taking it.

  3. I have this now and no matter what I do or use it just gets worse and more sore and swollen. I'm 15 – can barely eat drink talk or sleep. Please help me

    1. Go to your pediatrician, mine prescribed "nystanin oral suspension" and it worked. I was doubtful that a mouth rinse could help because it was so painful, but it did. Best of luck to you!

  4. I have about 4-5 on the back of my tongue and I thought I was getting a sore thought.. But these bumps was causing my throat to stay sore, I was told to stay away from spicy foods and soda and rinse my mouth out with warm salt water.

  5. The tongue is not responsible for all of our taste sensations (in reference to the first sentence of the article), only five (sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami). The rest of the flavours we experience come from our olfactory cells (from smell). Food particles travel up the back of the mouth into the nasal passage where they are recognized as a certain smell. It is something like 80% of the taste we know actually cocmes from our sense of smell- not out tongue.

  6. Can anyone help me? after taking the anti biotic Flagyl, I developed White hairy tongue or elongated papillae hypertrophy.  Hyperkeratosis of the tongue from allergic reaction from Flagyl, Metrodinzole.  difficult shedding or desquamation. Naturally buildup or keratin on tongue. Condition has been present for 7months, and I am totally depressed.
    These are Treatments prescribed and taken to date;
    1.nystatin mouth wash
    2 nystatin powder,
    3 probiotics,
    4 diflucan,
    5 tongue scraping,  
    6 grapefruit seed extract,
    7 salt rinse
    8 baking soda rinse,
    9 tazorac,
    10 detoxes,
    11 papain,
    Current Prescribed Treatment;
    Dr Eisen,
    1. Salagen pills; for increased saliva.
    2. Fresh Pineapple
    3. Tretinion gel / Retin A
    Up until now the
    Raw pineapple has helped with minimum effect but hair grows back in a few hours or next day. Dr Eisen states that it can take a few months to see results. 30 days into treatment, no visible change.
    Seeking to normalize shedding of tongue and normalize  production of keratin on tongue. returning tongue to normal healthy pink condition.
    Tongue does is not painful.
    Tongue swab culture tests have been done confirming it is not THRUSH or any fungal or bacterial infection.
    Diagnosis is:
    Elongated Papillae; White hairy tongue.

    Can anyone Help me?

    1. How are you doing now? Have you been able to find something that works for you. I am having a similar problem.. I did have thrust for a while. The elongated papillae are all the way in the back of my tongue.

    2. I have the same thing apart from scraping my tongue made the papillae swell up and it’s now hairy around the swollen papillae. Has your problem resolved yet?

  7. I have been getting these ever since I was a very young kid. Any sign of a bad cold or flu coming on and I get these hardened spots on my tongue and go there so painful. I have them now I feel like crap and I just don’t know what to do

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