Causes of Enlarged Tongue Bumps
Circumvallate and foliate papillae are normally large enough to be seen with the naked eye, but sometimes a papilla grows unusually large due to irritation or inflammation. This condition is called transient lingual papillitis. An accidental bite to the tongue or irritation from foods or chemicals can cause enlarged papillae. Transient lingual papillitis may also be caused by nutritional deficiencies, smoking, alcohol consumption, plaque build-up or dental appliances. The condition is temporary and often resolves on its own.
Tongue bumps can appear as blisters, ulcers and lumps. According to the Merck Manual, other causes of bumps on the tongue include canker sores, bacterial infections, oral herpes, allergies, immune system disorders and oral cancer. A bump can also develop on the side of the tongue in the space created by a missing tooth. Although most cases of bumps on the tongue are harmless, unexplained white or red areas, sores or hard lumps on the tongue should be examined by a medical professional as soon as possible.