Conditions That Affect the Tongue
Since the foliate papillae live on the sides of the tongue, they can become injured relatively easily. According to Stanford Children's Health, the mouth has a rich blood supply, which means tongue injuries may bleed a lot. Some people may accidentally bite down on the sides of their tongues while they're eating. Other people may hurt their tongues while playing contact sports.
Hot foods or drinks like pizza or coffee can also burn these papillae. Tongue burns will heal over time, and sipping cold water can help ease the pain in the meantime. If it feels like you've burned off your taste buds, rest assured that taste buds regenerate. In fact, it's natural for your taste buds to regrow, as the sensory cells in taste buds renew every week.
Another condition that may affect your papillae, including the foliate papillae, is black hairy tongue. Black hairy tongue looks just like the name suggests. Black hairy tongue occurs when the papillae are longer than usual, so they catch food debris, bacteria, and dead skin cells. While the condition is not harmful to your health, it is unsightly and may cause bad breath and alter your sense of taste.
Oral cancer can also develop near these papillae, and it may be challenging to detect due to the folds of tissue in the area. Cedars Sinai explains this may come in the form of a lump on the side of your tongue. Your dental professional can examine the papillae and the rest of the tongue during a thorough oral cancer screening.