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Why Does Inflammation Of The Taste Buds Occur?

Inflammation of the taste buds can respond to multiple causes, from trauma to the accumulation of toxins. Common symptoms are pain and taste disturbance. The taste buds are sensory receptors located on the tongue. Being exposed to the action of food, they could catch fire. In this article, we will explain why this happens.

Each papilla comprises receptor cells that send nerve signals to the brain. Thanks to them, we can discriminate between sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami flavors, the Japanese word meaning “tasty.” When the papillae are inflamed, they become smaller, whitish, and often hurt at the slightest touch. If you still don’t know what can irritate the taste buds, read this article.

Inflammatory Factors Of The Taste Buds

This condition is also known as lingual papillitis and causes small reddish or whitish bumps on the tongue’s surface. Depending on the location, the affected papillae will be different since the different types (foliate, filiform, fungiform, and circumvallate) are distributed very precisely.

Over stimulation It often occurs after eating spicy or salty foods. Hyperstimulation is because the substances in this type of food act as irritants to the taste buds.

Toxins On The Tongue

Frequent tongue exposure to toxins such as alcohol or tobacco smoke causes irritation and inflammation of the papillae. The toxins cause the cells that make up these structures to retain fat and fluids.

Also, the residues of these toxins remain on the tongue. A whitish layer may be noted, usually in the morning. It’s just the body’s way of expelling them. To avoid this, it will be enough to refrain from consuming alcohol and cigarettes.


As is well known, stress can negatively affect many functions in the body. Taste buds are no exception. Emotional stress often leads to hormonal disorders. In turn, these problems end up affecting the body in various ways. One of them is small sores in the mouth ( thrush ). Another possible situation is inflammation of the taste buds due to a dysfunction of the immune system.

This could cause the tongue and other body parts to absorb large amounts of bacteria. In this case, the inflammation of the papillae often takes much longer to disappear.


Trauma to the tongue is usually due to accidental bites or injuries during dental procedures. As a result, the papillae tend to become inflamed immediately. In this case, they could cause pain for a long time. This type of trauma alters the tissue of the tongue. 

As you know, this organ is a set of muscles. Therefore, it can harm itself like others. In case of inflammation of the taste buds, glycerin should be applied to the affected area. If the injury is severe or pain persists, see a doctor immediately. The specialist will determine the behavior to follow.

Oral Thrush

Oral candidiasis and other infectious processes due to fungi on the tongue are other common causes of inflamed taste buds. In these cases, you should consult a doctor as soon as possible. He will decide whether or not to treat this infection.

Burns Of The Taste Buds

Tongue burns are a common type of accident. For example, they occur when we drink a hot cup of coffee or eat a dish that we have just removed from the heat.

More severe burns can damage the taste buds and, by extension, impair their functionality. They usually take longer to heal than they seem, so it will be vital to follow your doctor’s instructions and be careful.


Any immunosuppressive condition makes infectious and inflammatory processes, including papillitis of the tongue, more frequent. For example, this is the case for patients with HIV/AIDS, uncontrolled diabetes mellitus, the elderly or very young children, transplant recipients, or people who use steroids chronically for whatever reason.

Inflammation of the taste buds is a common and uncomfortable situation, but it has a solution. With a little attention, we will not only be able to enjoy all the flavors but also have a healthy mouth.

Also Read: Plaques In The Throat, Causes, And Remedies

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