White Bumps on Lips and Tongue

Your lips help you communicate with the world. When you have white bumps on them, you might naturally feel self-conscious. These bumps can have different causes. While a lot of aren’t worrying, sometimes white bumps can show oral cancer. Seeking medical attention can guarantee you stay as healthy as possible.


Many causes can lead to white bumps on the tongue and lips. These include:

  • Fordyce spots: These harmless, small (1 to 2 mm) white bumps inside the lips are visible sebaceous or oil-producing glands. These spots tend to grow as a person ages. An individual may have one little bump or as lots of as 100 bumps on the lips, generally on the inner part.
  • herpes simplex: Oral herpes can cause white bumps or canker sores on the lips. These may first appear as little sores then end up being blistered and fluid-filled.
  • milia: Common in infants, milia are small, white bumps that occur when small, dead skin cells ends up being caught in the skin. While milia most frequently take place on the face, they likewise can appear on the lips.
  • oral cancer: A white bump might appear on the face as flat or raised in texture. The bump is usually pain-free in the beginning however might eventually start to bleed or ulcerate. Sun exposure, alcoholic abuse, tobacco use (especially chewing tobacco), and the human papillomavirus (HPV) are all known oral cancer causes.
  • oral thrush: Oral thrush is a fungal infection that causes white sores on the lips, mouth, gums, or tonsils. The fungus Candida albicans is the most common fungal strain to cause oral thrush.

In some cases white bumps on the lips and/or tongue are a safe genetic variation. Just as some people have moles or birthmarks, others might have white bumps on the lips and tongue.

When to Seek Medical Help

White bumps on the lips are rarely a cause to look for emergency medical attention. Nevertheless, you might want to make a visit with your doctor if you have the following symptoms together with white bumps on the lips:

  • bumps that hurt
  • bumps that bleed
  • feeling as if something is caught in your throat
  • jaw or neck swelling
  • numbness of your tongue
  • trouble chewing or swallowing
  • fever or sore throat

If your white bumps do not disappear after two weeks, make an appointment to see your doctor.


A doctor will take a full medical history and carry out a physical exam to view the white bumps on your lips. The doctor will feel your face and jaw for swelling and analyze your lips and the within your lips. They will also examine your neck for lymph node swelling.

If required, your doctor may swab your lip. This is called a culture. A lab can test the culture to determine if bacteria, viruses, or fungi might be causing the bumps. If a doctor suspects you may have oral cancer, a tissue sample might be collected to test for malignant cells.

Oftentimes, a doctor might be able to detect the white bumps on your lips by a visual assessment. Blood tests can likewise figure out if the herpes virus is present.

Treatment for White Bumps on Tongue and Lips

Treatment for white bumps on the lips  and tongue depends upon the reason for your symptoms. Some conditions, such as Fordyce spots, do not need any treatment. However, if you don’t like the appearance of your Fordyce spots, elimination is possible. Doctors can use methods such as electrosurgery or laser treatments to eliminate them.

Thrush is typically alleviated with anti-fungal medications, such as a liquid option you swish in your mouth and swallow.

Antiviral medications can momentarily remove your oral herpes symptoms, however they will not completely treat the viral infection.

Oral cancers need various treatments based upon the condition’s seriousness. Treatments can include surgical elimination of the influenced sore, chemotherapy, or radiation to stop the cancer’s spread.


Despite the reason for white bumps on your lips, prevent choosing at them. This can cause the area to appear more irritated and enhance the capacity for infection.

With your doctor’s consent, you may wish to use a lotion to your lips to keep them from getting too dry and painful. Rinsing with warm saltwater can also assist reduce inflammation. Mix a half-teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water and swish the water in your mouth prior to spitting it out.

Questions and Answers

What is Fordyce spots on lips?
Fordyce spots are little (1-5mm), somewhat raised yellow-colored or white papules or spots that can appear on the glans or shaft of the penis, or the vulva of the female, the inside of the cheeks and on the vermilion border of the lips. They are also called Fordyce granules.

Are Fordyce spots bad?
Although Fordyce spots are sebaceous glands that are in “the wrong location” (not in hair follicles), they are not connected with any disease or health problem. Skin doctors state they are of only of cosmetic concern – people who have them may not enjoy with how they impact the way they look.

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