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Have some enlarged papillae toward the back of tongue. Quitted smoking. Any suggestions?

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I have some enlarged papillae toward the back of my tongue. I had a lot of citrus intake and thought it may have been caused from that, but I also quit smoking about 10 days ago, after about 3-4 years and was wondering if that also plays a role in it or not? I am 24 year old female. Thanks
Posted Tue, 13 Nov 2012 in Smoking and Alcohol Addiction
Answered by Dr. Geoffrey Ward 2 hours later
Hello and thank you for your question.
People have many different types of papillae on their tongues. In the back of your tongue you have a row of large round papillae used for tasting called vallate papillae. These typically are 8-10 in a V shape pointing back towards your throat and are a perfectlly normal finding. They are the last large papillae you see before you reach the lingual tonsils located on the furthest back portion of your tongue. Citrus fruits can cause inflammation in these papillae and make them more prominent.

Risks for oral cancer in a patients mouth are:
-excessive drinking 4+drinks daily
-poor oral hygiene
-family history
-smokeless tobacco use

Is there pain involved in these areas?
Do they change location in your mouth from time to time?

If both answers are yes, then you most likely have erythema migrans or geographical tongue. This is another normal finding and benign.

Most common area to find oral cancer is the floor of the mouth and the sides of the tongue. Typically you will see a lesion that is red, ulcerated, different in texture that either will increase in size or not heal.

A physical exam would be needed to give you an exact diagnosis.

I hope this answers your question and you are satisfied with my answers. If you want more information or have anything else to ask, feel free to write back I am here to help you.

Best wishes, good health


Dr. Ward
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