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Lumps and Bumps in Your Mouth

lumps and bumps in your mouth
Creative Commons image by
Parveen Chopra

You probably don’t pay too much attention to the way your tongue, inner lips and inner cheeks feel. That is, unless you notice something feels or looks different! There are many mild conditions that can cause lumps or bumps in your mouth. Unfortunately, changes in your oral tissue can also be a symptom of more serious illnesses, including oral cancer. Here’s the lowdown on what you might be dealing with if you notice a bump. Always consult with your doctor or dentist if you have a lesion, sore or bump that doesn’t go away within two weeks.

Dental Tori

If you have hard growths on the roof of your mouth or on your lower palate close to your tongue, you might have dental tori. A torus is a bony growth that can develop at any time, often during adulthood. They are generally not painful, but they can be bothersome if you have dentures or a retainer. You can also nick them with your toothbrush and cause an abrasion or bleeding. This is something that your dentist should take a look at to confirm, but dental tori do not turn into cancer or cause any health issues.

Canker Sores

If you’ve ever bitten the inside of your lip or cheek, you might have noticed a few days later that you had a very painful, ulcerated lesion. These lesions are called canker sores, and they often develop after some minor trauma, such as an accidental bite or a nick with a toothbrush or a hard piece of food. They can also develop on the tongue. A canker sore will go away on its own within a week or two in most cases, but it can be exquisitely painful until it heals. Try swishing with milk, which can coat it temporarily. You can also ask your dentist for a mouthwash that will temporarily relieve pain.

Other Lumps, Bumps and Lesions

It’s common to have small bumps in the mouth at various times. You might be experiencing an inflamed taste bud or a ridge on the inside of your cheek where it rubs against your teeth. If you notice something out of the ordinary, however, make a mental note of what it looks like and when it appeared. If it gets worse over time or if it does not heal within two weeks, make an appointment with your dentist to rule out more serious health conditions.

Most of the time, lumps and bumps are nothing dangerous, but they can be painful, get infected, or, in rare cases, indicate oral cancer, so please see your dentist if you have any concerns.

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