Eruptive Lingual Papillitis

Eruptive lingual papillitis is a benign and self-limiting inflammatory condition that affects the tongue. It is also known as “lie bumps” or “transient lingual papillitis”. The condition is characterized by small, painful, red or white papules on the tongue’s dorsal surface or the tip, sides, and back of the tongue. The exact cause of eruptive lingual papillitis is unknown, but it is believed to be associated with viral infections, food allergies, or trauma to the tongue. The condition is more common in children and young adults, and it tends to resolve on its own within a few days to a week without any treatment.


The exact cause of this condition is not known, but there are several factors that have been associated with its development:

  1. Viral infections: Eruptive lingual papillitis is often linked to viral infections, particularly those caused by the Coxsackie virus. This virus is known to cause a range of infections, including hand-foot-and-mouth disease, which can cause similar symptoms on the tongue.
  2. Trauma: Injury or trauma to the tongue can also trigger the development of eruptive lingual papillitis. This can include accidentally biting the tongue, excessive brushing or scraping of the tongue, or wearing rough dental appliances or braces.
  3. Stress: Some studies have suggested that stress may also be a contributing factor to the development of eruptive lingual papillitis. This could be due to the fact that stress weakens the immune system, making it more susceptible to infections.
  4. Allergies: Allergic reactions to certain foods, medications, or oral hygiene products may also cause eruptive lingual papillitis.
  5. Hormonal changes: In some cases, hormonal changes, such as those that occur during pregnancy or menstruation, may trigger the development of lie bumps.

While eruptive lingual papillitis is generally a harmless and self-limiting condition, it can be uncomfortable and painful. Treatment options typically focus on managing symptoms, such as pain and discomfort, and preventing secondary infections. This may include the use of pain-relieving medications, topical antiseptics, or mouthwashes. In some cases, a healthcare provider may recommend more advanced treatments, such as laser therapy or surgical removal of the affected papillae.


Eruptive lingual papillitis (ELP), also known as “lie bumps” or “transient lingual papillitis,” is a common condition characterized by small, painful bumps on the tongue. These bumps are typically reddish or white and can be clustered or spread out across the surface of the tongue. Here are the main symptoms of ELP:

  1. Pain and discomfort: The most common symptom of ELP is pain or discomfort on the tongue, especially when eating or drinking. The bumps can be sensitive to touch, and some people may experience a burning or tingling sensation.
  2. Bumps on the tongue: ELP is characterized by small, raised bumps on the tongue, which can be red, white, or pink in color. These bumps may be round or oval-shaped and can vary in size.
  3. Swollen taste buds: The bumps on the tongue are actually swollen taste buds, which can become inflamed due to irritation, infection, or other factors.
  4. Difficulty eating: Some people with ELP may experience difficulty eating or swallowing due to the pain and discomfort on their tongue.
  5. Temporary condition: ELP is a transient condition, which means it typically goes away on its own within a few days to a week. However, in some cases, it may persist for a longer period of time.

If you experience these symptoms, it is recommended to consult a doctor or dentist for an accurate diagnosis and treatment.


The diagnosis of ELP is typically based on clinical presentation, as the symptoms are characteristic and distinctive. The following are the primary diagnosis tests for ELP:

  1. Physical examination: The doctor will perform a visual inspection of the tongue to check for the presence of inflamed, red, and swollen bumps on the tongue’s surface. The examination will include checking for other associated symptoms, such as fever, sore throat, and loss of appetite.
  2. Medical history: The doctor will ask about the child’s medical history to rule out any underlying conditions that may have caused the infection. They will also ask about any medications the child is taking.
  3. Laboratory tests: In some cases, a viral culture or a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test may be done to confirm the diagnosis of ELP. These tests involve taking a sample of the affected area and analyzing it in a lab to identify the virus causing the infection.
  4. Differential diagnosis: ELP shares some symptoms with other oral conditions such as herpangina, oral candidiasis, and herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection. A differential diagnosis is essential to rule out these conditions and confirm the diagnosis of ELP.

In most cases, ELP does not require any specific treatment and resolves on its own within a few days to a week. However, if the child is experiencing significant discomfort or the condition is severe, the doctor may prescribe pain relievers or antiviral medications to alleviate the symptoms.


The main treatment for eruptive lingual papillitis is typically symptomatic and focused on relieving pain and discomfort. This may include:

  1. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen reduce inflammation and relieve pain.
  2. Topical oral anesthetics such as benzocaine or lidocaine numb the affected area and reduce discomfort.
  3. Oral antihistamines may be prescribed to reduce inflammation and allergic reactions.
  4. Antibiotics may be prescribed in severe cases to prevent secondary infections.
  5. It is also important to maintain good oral hygiene, including brushing the teeth and tongue gently, using mouthwash, and avoiding spicy or acidic foods.
  6. In some cases, the condition may resolve on its own within a few days or weeks, without the need for medical intervention.

Overall, the goal of treatment is to relieve pain and discomfort, prevent complications, and promote healing. It is important to seek medical attention if symptoms persist or worsen, as this may indicate a more serious underlying condition.