What are circumvallate papillae?
The tongue is covered with fungiform, filiform, foliate, and circumvallate papillae (tastebuds). The only difference between these different types of tastebuds is the shape and the exact taste that each respective type is responsible for. For example, one type is responsible for the sour taste, while yet another is responsible for the sweet taste. Also, combinations of the tastebuds produce certain taste. The Circumvallate papillae are the tastebuds located all the way at the back of your tongue and are rather large. They form a V-shape at the base of the tongue and can be seen by sticking your tongue out.
To view top posts regarding circumvallate papillae and the tongue’s anatomy, click here.
I took a good look of my mouth in the mirror the other day and noticed large bumps on the back of my tongue. I don’t feel any pain or soreness. I take really good care of my teeth and my mouth. What could they be?
Bumps on the tongue could mean a number of things. More than likely, it may be normal anatomy. However, there is also a chance, though slight, that it could be a more serious condition.
Bumps on Tongue
So those bumps on your tongue could be one of the following:
- Tastebuds (normal)
- Inflamed/Enlarged tastebud
- Canker sore
- Oral Cancer
- Normal anatomical variation
Tongue Normal Anatomy:
Now we all know that the tongue is responsible for many functions, including taste, helping in swallowing and digesting food, keeping the teeth lubricated and free of bacteria, and much, much more. Because of its special role in helping us to taste food, the tongue is covered with different types of taste buds, also known as papillae.
Tongue and Tastebuds
As shown by the picture, the tongue is covered with fungiform, filiform, foliate, and circumvallate papillae (tastebuds). The only difference between these different types of tastebuds is the shape and the exact taste that each respective type is responsible for. For example, one type is responsible for the sour taste, while yet another is responsible for the sweet taste. Also, combinations of the tastebuds produce certain taste. Ever notice that if you burn your tongue with something very hot that your taste is briefly interrupted or slightly impaired. This is because certain tastebuds are affected and “disarmed” temporarily.
If you are looking all the way at the back of your tongue, you could just be looking at the circumvallete papillae. These tastebuds are a lot larger than the rest and stand out. They are uniformly aligned and at the back of the tongue. Though you need to stretch your tongue out pretty far to see these, it’s definitely a possibility.
An inflamed tastebud could be caused by a number of things such as:
- Acidic foods
- Very hot or spicy foods
- Vitamin deficiencies
- Systemic problems, illnesses, or medications (for example steroids)
- Dental problems/infected tooth
If inflamed, the tastebud could appear as a small elevated bump on the tongue. Taste may or may not be affected. However, THIS BUMP SHOULD GO AWAY IN A COUPLE OF DAYS. If not, it could be something a little more serious.
Canker sores are mouth ulcers that occur in the mouth as a result of a viral infection. Visit our article on Canker sores to view more information on the appearance and cause of these sores.
This is EXTREMELY SERIOUS. If the bump doesn’t go away after two weeks, consult with your dentist or physician for further analysis. Oral cancer sometimes appears as a small bump in the mouth and may not seem harmful at first. However, this condition is very harmful and should be examined as soon as it’s suspected.
If you bit, burned, or scratched your tongue, this can sometimes cause a small area of inflammation appearing as a bump. This is nothing to worry about and will disappear in a couple of hours or days.
Normal anatomical variation
There are some benign (innocent) lumps that can appear on the tongue that could be remnants from thyroid tissue or other innocent anatomical variation. If the bump has been there for quite some time and doesn’t grow or move, more than likely it’s just a normal variation.
We hope this information helps and Good luck,