You might have swollen taste buds in the mouth, on the tongue, at the back of the tongue or on the tip of the tongue.This is caused by the various allergic reactions, hot spicy food or by std.Find the cause, symptoms and home remedies to get rid of swollen taste buds.

There are over a thousand taste buds on the surface of our tongue, esophagus, and intestines. Taste buds are essential in determining the taste of the food. As we are aware, the palate of our tongue is covered with taste buds with each area containing taste buds for different flavors; the taste buds on the tip of tongue detect sweetness, the ones on the back recognize foods that are bitter and the ones on the sides, foods that are salty.

The primary tastes that the tastes buds can detect include sweet, salty, sour, bitter.It is established how essential taste buds are. Infected and inflamed taste buds, however, cannot determine how spicy or bland the food is.

When the taste buds are swollen, receptor cells are unable to detect the taste, and hence, you will taste little to nothing.

Since no particular taste is detected, the brain will be unable to determine the type of food that is being consumed. This is why oral cavity is promoted so enthusiastically. Along with ensuring that our teeth are clean, we must keep our tongue in prime condition.

What Are The Symptoms Of Swollen Taste Buds

What Are The Symptoms Of Swollen Taste Buds
What Are The Symptoms Of Swollen Taste Buds

Swollen taste buds are usually red, enlarged and distended. The swelling occurs on the tip of the tongue, the sides, and the back and even on the inner cheek and soft-palate.

The enlarged papillae can cause severe discomfort and pain.

The inflammation and ulcers usually disappear on their own, but they can be treated to hasten the healing process.

What Are Causes of Swollen Taste Buds

There are numerous reasons for the taste buds to get irritated. Some of them are listed below:-

a. High acidic content

Some foods have high acidic content and need to be taken in limited quantity. An overdose of acidic food can trigger inflammatory responses on the tongue.

b. Spicy foods

The reason is the same as foods with high acidic content. Spicy foods can irritate the taste buds and cause them to swell. It is advised against rubbing the inflamed tongue as any friction can only make it worse.

c. Hot foods

Taste buds are extremely sensitive. Foods and drinks that extremely high in temperature can burn the taste buds. When you consume hot coffee, for instance, you will immediately notice your taste buds numbing after a spike of pain.

d. Allergic reactions

Everyone’s body has different tolerance levels and the same goes for allergic reactions. Presence of certain allergens can cause the taste buds to react cause them to swell. This increases white blood cells, particularly eosinophil which causes inflammation.

e. Alcohol

Excessive consumption of alcohol can lead the body to react negatively and inflamed taste buds are one of the effects.

f. Smoking

Smoking does not just cause lung diseases but is also responsible for inflammation of taste buds.

g. Insecticides

The high chemical content is likely to cause the taste buds to react and get swollen. It is best if harsh chemicals are avoided.

h. Stress and mental issues

High-stress levels can induce swelling of taste buds. When stressed, the immunity level drops and hormonal imbalance occurs. You are invariably susceptible to infections and other illnesses.

i. Acid Reflux condition

Our stomach contains regurgitated acid which can potentially harm other sensitive parts of the body. When this acid comes in contact with the tongue, the taste buds can react and cause inflammation.

j. Other conditions

There are numerous diseases such as oral cancer, oral thrush, mouth ulcers, candidiasis and canker sore, etc. that can trigger possible swelling of taste receptors.

The mucous membranes on the tongue get easily irritated in an infected environment.

The taste buds are prone to get irritated if near the affected area.

k. Physical trauma or injury

Any oral injury can cause the taste buds to swell up painfully. This includes lacerations, burns, cuts, etc.

Biting on the tongue or scrapping it can provoke the taste buds to get swollen.

It is always advised that dental products such as tongue scrapers be used with caution.

It is best the affected area be avoided till it heals completely.

l. Vitamin deficiencies

Nutrients are requisite for a proper functioning of the body, and this includes the maintaining healthy taste buds.

Lack of vitamin B, C or folate, in particular, could lead to the swelling of taste buds.

m. Strong mouthwashes

Certain oral hygiene products contain ingredients that are too strong for the tongue to handle. The taste buds on the muscle are extremely sensitive and need to be taken care of. Pick products that will not cause the taste receptors to react negatively.

n. Carcinoma

Presence of cancerous cells in the mouth can cause the taste buds to erupt in an inflammatory reaction. As a result, the healthy cells in the muscle get destroyed.

o. Chemotherapy and Radiation therapy

Chemotherapy and Radiation therapy are known to have had some disastrous and often drastic effects on the patients.

Inflamed taste buds might just be one of them.

When destroyed, cells are quick to revive and multiply rapidly. Continuous radiation slows down this process, subsequently causing the cells to degenerate and unable to fend the exposed tissues.

p. STDs

Enlarged taste buds can be a result of sexually transmitted diseases. Copulating with safety precautions is always recommended.

STDs transmitted through oral intimacy include oral herpes, syphilis, and oral gonorrhea. Such STDs are notorious for causing the taste buds to swell, making the sensitive papillae to get irritated.

STDs can also lead to mouth sores and other infections. Oral gonorrhea can cause itching and soreness in the throat. It is responsible swelling of taste buds in the back of the throat.

What Are Different Types Of Swollen Taste Buds

What Are Different Types Of Swollen Taste Buds
What Are Different Types Of Swollen Taste Buds

The types of swollen taste buds are differentiated based on their location and each infected area maybe because due to different reasons.

1.Swollen Taste Buds On the tip of the tongue

This area is mainly occupied by fungiform papillae; the mushroom-shaped sensory buds that detect sweet and sour foods.

Swollen fungiform papillae will result in an enlarged tongue. This could indicate an issue with the papillae itself but can be caused by numerous other reasons such as physical injuries, teeth scraping, etc.

Women who suffer from swollen taste buds during pregnancy are advised to seek medical attention.

2. Swollen Taste Buds On the sides of the tongue

This area mainly consists of foliate and fungiform papillae. Inflammation can be caused by any of the aforementioned reasons and needs to be treated according to the determined cause.

3. Swollen Taste Buds On the back of the tongue

This region mainly consists of the two types of clustered foliate papillae. The enlarged taste buds maybe distended, raised or big; each inflammation looks different and is caused by different reasons.

Swollen taste buds on the back of the tongue can indicate various discussed reasons, especially gastrointestinal disorder. It can also indicate the severity of flu or another symptom.

4. Swollen Taste Buds On the throat.

One of the most common areas where inflamed taste buds are found. This can indicate upper respiratory problems as well oral gonorrhea. Dehydration can also be the cause of the congestion on the lining of the throat.

5. White swollen taste buds

These are small, raised and white mounds that can occur anywhere on the tongue. This inflammation can be red in color as well.

If found on the tip or back of the tongue, there are high chances you might be suffering from transient lingual papillitis.

Transient lingual papillitis is also known as lie bumps.

It is an inflammatory disorder that typically affects the fungiform papillae. Patients suffering from transient lingual papillitis usually suffer pain and tingling sensations.

White swollen taste buds could also indicate stress, gastrointestinal upset, menstruation, acidic or sour food, smoking, and local trauma. They will be treated according to the determined cause.

How To Get Rid Of Swollen Taste Buds Fast

 1. Ice

Ice On Tounge
Ice On Tounge
  • Placing ice on the affected area will provide relief. The ice cube should just be dabbed and not scrapped against the tongue.
  • The ice cube should be kept on the tongue for an only minimal amount of direct contact with for longer duration could restrict the circulation of blood on the surface of the muscle.
  • Consuming shaved ice is also favorable.

2. Salt solution

Salt solution gargling
Salt solution gargling
  • Gargling warm water and salt is said to encourage blood circulation and reduce the inflammation.
  • It is advised to gargle a glass of warm water with 2-3 tablespoons of salt mixed in at least thrice a day for effective healing.
  • Be cautioned, however. Never let the hot water come in direct contact with your tongue. This will only have a reverse effect and further aggravate the swollen taste buds.

3. Baking Soda

  • Baking soda is a basic substance and can help counter help counter inflammation, especially the swelling caused by acid reflux condition.
  • To relieve the swelling, baking soda needs to be directly applied on the affected area.

4. Glycerine

Applying glycerine on swollen taste buds
Applying glycerine on swollen taste buds

Glycerine is known for its soothing properties. Applying glycerine to swollen taste buds, especially lacerations, burns, and mouth ulcers can provide relief. It gives comfort from the burning sensation.

5. Tea Tree Oil

Tea Tree Oil
Tea Tree Oil
  • Tea tree oil is known for its anti-bacterial properties. To use it, tea tree oil needed to be diluted with warm water and applied on the affected area.
  • The patient must, however, be wary of the effects of tea tree oil. One too many drops and the patient can suffer from hallucination. Use only prescribed amount.

6. Honey

  • Honey has anti-bacterial properties, and it is often said that ingesting honey can result in a lot of beneficiary effects.
  • Honey can relieve and heal the inflammation on the tongue and other parts of the body. The swollen taste buds will subside and return to their normal state upon healing.

7. Garlic, ginger, and pepper

This powerful decoction can reduce and heal inflammation. It is advised to consume a mix of garlic, ginger, and pepper four times a day if the inflammation is caused by bacteria.

8. Bland Diet

It is also advised to stay on a bland diet till the inflammation heals. Consuming foods such as yogurt can help combat fungal infections and promote the growth of good bacteria in the digestive tract.

9. Oil of Oregano

Oregano oil on swollen taste buds
Oregano oil on swollen taste buds

This oil is reputed to contain potent anti-fungal properties. One must, however, not apply it directly to the infected area. Dilute it with water or another oil before using on the tongue.

Medicinal Treatment Get Rid Of Swpllen Taste Bud

Drugs should be consumed only if and as prescribed by the medicinal practitioner. It is strictly advised against experimenting with drugs without consultation.

Infection caused by bacteria, fungi, and viruses should be treated with prescribed medicines The aforementioned treatments can also be incorporated after ensuring that it will not interfere with the medicine in any way. In case the inflammation is caused by vitamin deficiency, take the needed supplement.

How To Prevent Swollen Taste Buds From Occurring

While swollen taste buds cannot be avoided altogether, there are few measures which can be taken in order to reduce the frequency of their occurrence.

  • Avoids foods that are too spicy or salty, even if your tolerance levels are way beyond your taste buds’. Your internal organs react more violently to discomfort and are more vulnerable.
  • Avoid foods and drinks that are too hot and cause burns
  • Refrain from consuming excessive alcohol consumption
  • Limit yourself from smoking and chewing tobacco
  • Ensure you use oral products that cater to the sensitive needs of your tongue
  • Avoid scraping or rubbing your tongue too much
  • Do not use dentures that do not fit perfectly

Swollen taste buds may occur once in a while due to an unforeseen circumstance and can be sometimes beyond your control. These occurrences can, however, be reduced by incorporating simple steps into your lifestyle. Keep your body’s restriction in mind and treat it accordingly.


Dr. Anand Ashok Buchake is an expert in the field of Ayurveda and works as medical practitioner. His expertise in the field of Ayurveda is proven from the fact that he was the topper in the final MD examination in the subject Dravyaguna in the year 2002 at Pioneer international university of Ayurveda, also known as the Gujarat Ayurveda University.He is associated with many reputed organizations such as the American Heart Association ACLS and BSL Course in South Africa.