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How to get rid of swollen taste buds on tongue

What are swollen taste buds?

Bigger, enlarged or distended taste buds are known as swollen taste buds.  They are mostly characterized by enlarged fungiform, foliate papillae and circumvallate. The swollen taste buds can be on the back of the tongue, on the side on the tongue or on the tip of the tongue [1].

Symptoms of Taste Bud Swelling

When someone has swollen tastes buds, the papillae will most likely appear elongated, irritated and have a rough surface. Apart from being swollen, the patient might experience redness, sore throat, tongue surface color changes, loss of tasting function, white sores and pain. The symptoms will actually depend on the cause of the swollen taste buds [2,5].

What causes swollen taste buds?

Swollen taste buds are common, and they can be very irritating and painful.  Some of the causes include the following:

Spicy, acidic and salty foods

Taking food that is too salty, spicy or acidic can make your taste buds to swell. Most of these foods irritate the taste buds, which leads to the swelling. Sometimes, these foods can trigger an itchy tongue. When this happens, many people scratch and rub the tongue against their teeth, which worsens the situation and irritates the buds even more [3,6].

Swollen taste buds

Picture 1 : Swollen taste buds
Image Source : www.healcure.org

Hot drinks and foods

Did you know that taking too hot food or drinks can be harmful to your taste buds?  Very hot food or drinks will cause inflammation to your taste buds and burn your mouth, causing a swollen tongue.

Trauma, rubbing, injuries and biting

Any type of tongue injury, tongue biting and oral surgery can trigger very painful and swollen taste buds. Tongue scrapping can also result to this problem.  It is advisable to avoid scrapping, biting or even rubbing the tongue against objects [2,4,7].

Allergic reactions

Allergies are very common, and some of them are responsible for taste buds swelling. When an individual notices a change in their taste buds after taking a certain food, medications or any dental care products, it is advisable to avoid them.  They could be behind the swollen taste buds.

Tobacco chewing and alcohol

People who indulge in tobacco chewing and alcohol consumption are prone to swollen taste buds on the tongue. Tobacco and alcohol irritate the buds and bring other infections in the mouth that might trigger the swelling [8,9,10].

Stress and depression

Experts have proven that individuals who have a lot of stress are prone to swollen taste buds. This is because stress affects the hormonal balance in the body and also weakens the immunity. When the body is weak and vulnerable, infections are common.

Acid reflux disease

Acid reflux dieses are very common, and most of the time, they irritate the tongue, taste buds and the mouth.

Mouth infections and conditions

There are several mouth infections such as oral cancer, mouth ulcers, candidiasis, canker sores and oral thrush that are known to cause swollen taste buds.

Swollen Taste Buds STDs

Sexually transmitted diseases that can affect the mouth and the taste buds are known as enlarged tastebuds STDs. Some of these dieses include:

  1. Syphilis: this disease causes sores on the patient’s mouth and lips, and this causes swollen and very painful taste buds.
  2. Type 1 (HSV-1) oral herpes. This disease is known for causing sores on different parts of the body.  The mouth and tongue are not spared, and this leads to swollen taste buds.
  3. Oral gonorrhea causes soreness and itching to the throat, yellow and white exudates and swallowing difficulties.  This means that it can be responsible for swollen buds at the back of your tongue.

Deficiency in some nutrients

When the human body lacks important nutrients like vitamin B complex or folate, the possibility of someone getting painful and swollen taste buds increases.

How to get rid of swollen taste buds

Nobody likes getting swollen taste buds. They can be very irritating and painful, preventing you from doing your daily activities. It is possible to get rid of the swollen taste buds when they occur. Here are some remedies.

Antiseptic mouth washes

When a bacterial infection causes your taste buds to swell, it is advisable to use an anti-septic mouth wash. Apart from healing the painful buds, the mouth wash will be able to prevent future infections in the mouth. It is however, not healthy to swallow the mouth wash [2].

Treat underlying cause

There are several medical conditions that cause swollen taste buds. When you have received the right diagnosis from a qualified doctor, ensure that you follow the treatment given. This way, the swollen taste buds will get cured too.  The most common treatments you will get include antivirals, antifungals or antibiotics.

Sea salt water gargles

You can cure swollen taste buds by using warm water and sea salt.  Mix one teaspoon of sea salt and some warm water then gargle three times a day.  The solution is effective in reducing the inflammation and swelling [5].

 Use of ice

Ice is a good remedy for enlarged taste buds. The patient should chew or apply the ice on the mouth, and this brings down the swelling. However, when using ice to cure the buds, the patient should be keen not to overdo it. Keeping ice for too long in the mouth can affect the blood circulation [8].

Baking soda

Baking soda is known to be a very effective anti-inflammatory.  This means that when you apply it on the swollen taste buds, the problem will be solved.

Garlic + pepper+ ginger

It is very easy to cure swollen taste buds by eating foods that have healing properties and those that are helpful in fighting infections. If your food contains ginger, garlic and pepper, you will be cured in a short time. Your chances of getting infections will also decrease significantly.

Swashing honey

Honey is known for its healing and antibacterial properties. If you have enlarged and painful taste buds, swash honey in the mouth, and in no time, you will be healed.
How to prevent enlarged taste buds
Swollen taste buds can prevent you from doing your daily activities, so it is advisable to prevent them from occurring. Here are some tips to help prevent them [10]:

  • Ensure that you avoid any drinks or foods that are too hot, spicy and salty.
  • Avoid chewing or smoking tobacco.
  • Ensure that you do not take any toxic materials such as poison, alcohol, insecticides or other irritating solutions.
  • Maintain a good oral hygiene to avoid infections that trigger swollen taste buds.
  • Avoid scrapping or rubbing the tongue with your teeth or other objects.


References :

  1. WebMD. Tongue Problem Basics [Internet]. 2016 [cited 16 January 2016]. Available from: http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/tongue-problem-basics-sore-or-discolored-tongue-and-tongue-bumps?page=2
  2. Healthool.com. Inflamed Taste Bud – Pictures, Causes, Treatment, Remedies [Internet]. 2016 [cited 16 January 2016]. Available from: http://healthool.com/inflamed-taste-bud/
  3. Med-health.net. Inflamed Taste Bud | Med-Health.net [Internet]. 2016 [cited 16 January 2016]. Available from: http://www.med-health.net/Inflamed-Taste-Bud.html
  4. Treat, Cure Fast. Swollen Taste Buds Causes on Tongue, Back, Side, Tip of Tongue, STD, Get Rid of Swollen Enlarged Taste Buds [Internet]. 2015 [cited 16 January 2016]. Available from: http://www.treatcurefast.com/tongue/swollen-taste-buds/swollen-taste-buds-and-how-to-get-rid-of-swollen-taste-buds-on-tongue-tip-back-sides/
  5. Emedicalhub.com. Inflamed (Enlarged) Taste Buds – Pictures and Treatment [Internet]. 2016 [cited 16 January 2016]. Available from: http://emedicalhub.com/inflamed-taste-buds/
  6. Komaroff A. The Harvard Medical School family health guide. New York: Simon & Schuster; 1999.
  7. Lockie A. The family guide to homeopathy. New York: Prentice Hall Press; 1991.
  8. Parsa Stay F. Secret gateway to health. Garden City, NY: Morgan James Pub.; 2008.
  9. Zocdoc.com. What are inflamed taste buds? | ZocDoc Answers [Internet]. 2016 [cited 16 January 2016]. Available from: https://www.zocdoc.com/answers/3894/what-are-inflamed-taste-buds
  10. Healthline. Tongue Problems [Internet]. 2016 [cited 16 January 2016]. Available from: http://www.healthline.com/health/tongue-problems-2

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