White Bump in Mouth: Meaning, Causes, And Treatment

white bump in mouth

Everyone has had to deal with a sore in their mouth at least once in their lives. The white bumps can be very annoying and often painful. However, with a little time, these bumps often go away on their own. And if not, they are still easily treatable. But there are certain cases when a white bump in the mouth can be an indication of an underlying medical condition.

Worried that white bump in your mouth is more than a simple mouth sore? Here’s everything you should know about what that white bump could be and how to make it go away.

What Is the White Bump In Mouth?


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The white bump in your mouth is most likely a canker sore.

Canker sores, also called “aphthous ulcers,” are shallow, tiny ulcers that develop in the lining of your mouth. These sores can appear as white or yellowish pustules surrounded by tender red flesh.

Canker sores are tiny, measuring less than 1 millimeter, but when irritated and further inflamed, they can grow to up to 1 inch in diameter. They are often quite painful and can make talking uncomfortable and eating an excruciating experience.

Canker sores are classified into two types — simple and complex.

Simple canker sores are the most common type of mouth sore that people experience, up to four times a year in some people. It is more common among people in the 10-20 age range. The life cycle of this type of canker sore is about 1 week.

Complex canker sores are rare and are typically the result of a severe illness like a vitamin deficiency or a compromised immune system. These sores are large and extremely painful and may last for about a month.

Other Causes of White Bump:

#1. A severe burn from drinking something hot. It will often heal on its own.
#2. Mouth injury from cuts, dental work accident, denture irritation, or excessive tobacco use. Such injuries are typically minor and heal on their own.
#3. Mucoceles, or oral mucous cysts, result from an irritated salivary gland. It can take a few weeks to heal.
#4. Squamous papilloma, or human papillomavirus (HPV), can cause cauliflower-like bumps in the mouth. They are noncancerous sores and heal on their own, but a visit to the doctor is recommended.
#5. Candidiasis, or oral thrush, results from the Candida fungus and is a yeast infection. It can typically be treated with antifungal medication.
#6. Torus palatinus is a benign extra bone growth that causes a hard lump to form on the roof of the mouth. It is often harmless, needing no treatment unless it hinders the person’s speech or ability to eat or drink.
#7. Hyperdontia is an extremely rare condition that causes the person to grow an excess of teeth. So, the white bump could be a tooth forming. If you suspect this, a visit to the doctor is recommended.

Causes of White Bump in Mouth


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Depending on what the white bump is, the causes can vary.

A minor tear or injury in the mouth can lead to simple canker sores. Certain foods, especially citric or acidic fruits and vegetables, can also trigger the formation of a canker sore or make a pre-existing canker sore worse.

Using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Ibuprofen can also trigger the development of a white bump in the mouth.

Further, people with weak immune systems or immunocompromised individuals are more susceptible to complex canker sores. If you are diagnosed with Behcet’s disease, lupus, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, or AIDS, these ulcers can be one of the symptoms.

These white bumps are also common if you have a zinc, iron, folic acid, or vitamin B12 deficiency.

Symptoms of White Bump in Mouth


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Canker sores are difficult to miss because it is painful and uncomfortable. You can’t miss it because it makes its presence known.

Here are the common indicators of having canker sores in your mouth:

#1. A tender sore/s inside your mouth either on your soft palate, inside your cheeks, or your tongue.
#2. Prior to seeing the ulcers, you feel a burning sensation in its place, and the area is always reddish and tender.
#3. Actual round sores inside your mouth are either white or gray with a red border.

Complex canker sores also bring with them the following symptoms:

#1. Swollen lymph nodes
#2. Lethargy and overall discomfort
#3. Feverish feeling or actual fever

When Should I Consult A Doctor?


If the white bump in your mouth is a canker sore, it is often easily manageable without a doctor’s intervention. Over-the-counter painkillers can help alleviate the pain, and the sore should heal and go away within a week or two.

However, not all white bumps are harmless. There are instances when you should schedule an appointment with your doctor to avoid exacerbating the condition. Here are some of the reasons when consulting a doctor is a must:

#1. The sores are unusually more prominent.
#2. The sores are spreading to other areas of your mouth.
#3. You experience unendurable pain even after taking pain killers or avoiding trigger foods.
#4. You find it difficult to drink fluids.
#5. The sores have not healed after three weeks.
#6. You developed a fever that won’t break.


Ideally, the pain brought about by these white bumps in your mouth will gradually alleviate in a few days and the sores will heal on their own in about two weeks.

But if the sores show no sign of healing, you would typically be prescribed an antibacterial mouth rinse or a corticosteroid ointment to help the ulcers heal faster.

These medications can also help lessen the pain and prevent the bumps from being further infected.


While you can’t always predict when you’ll get a white bump in your mouth, there are certain preventive measures you can take to lessen the frequency of these sores.

#1. Avoid chewing gum as it can irritate your mouth.
#2. If you can’t entirely avoid it, reduce your consumption of acidic and spicy food.
#3. Be gentle when you brush your teeth. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and floss daily. Gargle after each meal to ensure there are no food particles left in your mouth as that can also trigger sores.
#4. Be wary of the ingredients of your oral hygiene products. Don’t use solutions that have sodium lauryl sulfate.

Featured image source: Pinterest.com

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