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HomeAnswersDentistrycanker soresI have painful canker sores on the top and back of my mouth. Please help.

What causes painful bumps on the tongue?

The following is an actual conversation between an iCliniq user and a doctor that has been reviewed and published as a Premium Q&A.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Vinodhini J.

Published At January 16, 2020
Reviewed AtJune 4, 2024

Patient's Query

Hello doctor,

About a month ago, I had the worst outbreak of canker sores in my life. I had 10 or 12 at once, horribly painful, and I could barely eat or drink. Over about two weeks they healed, but I still have a few painless bumps on the top of my tongue and in the back of my mouth. I will attach a photo of the bumps in the back of my mouth. There are two on either side. The bumps on my tongue are too far back to get a proper photo. I tested positive for HPV so I am mildly concerned about cancer.

Brushing my teeth also causes a lot of pain to my gums. Occasionally they bleed a little. I never had an issue with that before the canker sore outbreak.


Welcome to icliniq.com.

I have read your complaint and the relevant details and also saw the picture you have attached. (attachment removed to protect patient identity).

Since you have mentioned that the ulcers healed two weeks ago and still have few fresh ulcers now, it could be recurrent aphthous mouth ulcers. Aphthous ulcers are usually painful but will not lead to cancerous lesions. But there are small bursts in your palate, which makes me think of viral ulcers as well. You also have a history of HPV (human papilloma virus).

Hence, I advise you to take a blood test to rule out viral origin ulcers. Only then the treatment could be framed. You have also mentioned that they are painless now. So there is no need for topical ointments to get rid of the pain. You should also know a fact that topical steroids should not be used for viral lesions. So I request you to complete the blood check and then go ahead with the treatment from a nearby dentist accordingly.

Regarding bleeding gums, you have to undertake a complete professional cleaning by a dentist to flush out the dental plaque and chunky substances called calculus. After that, maintain good oral hygiene including flossing, tongue cleaning, and toothbrushing twice a day.

Investigations to be done

Blood test.

Preventive measures

Avoid hot and spicy food. Take nutritious food rich in vitamins such as green veggies because ulcers could be associated with vitamin B deficiencies.

Regarding follow up

Follow up after three weeks.

Same symptoms don't mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Dr. Geethanjali. S. S
Dr. Geethanjali. S. S


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