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Dental and Oral Health Center

Pink bumps on tongue

08/24/2007

Question:

Back in February, I burned my tongue on a steak sandwich. The next day I noticed some raised bumps on my tongue and it was sensitive for a couple of days. The following week, my doctor did a work-up and found out that I have hypothyroidism, for which he started me on a low dose of Levothyroxin. For the next couple of weeks upon starting the medication, my tongue had a few more pink raised bumps as well as a white coating that would not go away.

For two months, I went to my PCP and let him look at my mouth. He seemed to think it was a combination of the medication, as well as the taste buds. He recommended for me to stop my medication and to wash my mouth out daily with Milk of Magnesia.

It has been 6 months now and my tongue still has the bumps and the white coating. When I scrape my tongue with a tongue scraper, it seems like it takes some of the white coating away, but not all. Is there any advice you could give for me as far a treatment to resolve this?

Answer:

It is difficult to assess your problem with the information you have given. It is normal for the tongue to have a bumpy appearance in some areas with normal taste buds. You have not mentioned any pain, discomfort, or bad taste associated with your condition.

Coatings on the tongue can result from medications, foods (including liquids) that we ingest, changes in saliva, dry mouth, and many others. In addition, normal colors of the tongue vary greatly.

Since this has been occurring for six months, I would recommend that you schedule your six month check up with your dentist and ask him/her if they see any problems on your tongue. They can then make a recommendation on how to correct it if they see that there is a problem.

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Response by:

D Stanley Sharples, DDS
Clinical Assistant Professor of Primary Care Dentistry
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University