Bumps on the tongue may come from trauma, smoking, canker sores, burning tongue syndrome or enlarged taste buds, according to WebMD. Another cause for bumps is oral cancer, or they may form as a side effect from conditions such as diabetes.
Trauma from accidentally biting or scalding the tongue may cause bumps, explains WebMD. The lesion may also come from grinding or clenching the teeth. Smoking can cause lesions to form on the tongue, because the smoke is irritating to the mouth. A canker sore may also be the issue. These sores are very common, and though an exact cause is not known, they may form due to stress.
A condition known as burning tongue syndrome may cause painful bumps on the tongue, though it is only found in postmenopausal women, explains WebMD. If the taste buds become inflamed or irritated, they could also turn into painful bumps on the tongue due to swelling. When a person has a condition such as anemia or diabetes, sore tongues are often a symptom. It is possible that a bump on the tongue is a sign of oral cancer. A person should see a doctor if the bump on the tongue doesn't go away in a week or two, even if it doesn't hurt. It is common for early stage oral cancer to be painless.