The tongue is the organ of taste and the sense of taste is provided by the taste buds found on the surface of the tongue. Tiny protrusions found on the surface of tongue are called the papillae and contain the taste buds. Papillae help determine whether the food is sweet, salty or sour. Oftentimes, the papillae become enlarged that can lead to discomfort. To learn to recognize and manage mouth conditions including enlarged papillae, register for a first aid course with a credible provider near you.
Types of papillae
- Fungi-form papillae are found in the side of the tongue. They are mushroom-like shaped and can detect sour and sweet taste.
- Filiform papillae are scattered all over the tongue and function as an abrasive layer and perceive sour taste.
- Foliate papillae are positioned at the side areas of the tongue and the circumvallate papillae detect bitter taste. They are found at the back of the tongue and have a V-form appearance.
Causes of enlarged papillae
- Smoking causes irritation on the tongue especially when smoking excessively and will lead to the broadening of the papillae.
- An infection of the tongue after a tongue bite
- A tongue that becomes scald and traumatized by drinking hot beverages which causes the papillae to swell and enlarge.
- Bumps on the tongue can be caused by canker sores and due to stress.
- Gastrointestinal issues such as reflux and colitis can lead to an enlarged papillae
- A sore that does not seem to heal in 2-3 weeks can indicate a serious condition such as cancer.
Treatment and home remedies
- Apply an ice pack or cold compress on the affected parts of the tongue in order to minimize discomfort and pain caused by the enlarged papillae. Drinking cold drinks can also help.
- Gargle the mouth with the mixture of salt and lukewarm water, drink plenty of water and eat a balanced diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables.
- Chewing mint leaves can also help ease the enlarged papillae.
- Treat thrush infection by eating yogurt on a daily basis and applying yogurt on the affected areas of the tongue.
- Nutritional deficiencies can be alleviated taking Vitamin B12 and iron supplement and changes in the diet.
- Avoid biting the tongue and any infection in the tongue can be treated by applying glycerin on the affected area.
- Avoid eating salty, spicy, acidic and hot foods.
- Consume low-fat content dairy products
- Oral infection and enlarged papillae can be prevented by drinking soups made from garlic, ginger and pepper at least two times a week.
- When dentures are used, they should fit properly
- Observe good oral hygiene by daily brushing of the teeth and tongue as well as flossing and visiting a dentist at least once a month in order to prevent infection.
- Stop smoking in order to minimize the enlargement of the papillae and put an individual at high risk for developing oral cancer.