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View Full Version : Single taste bud suicide (The horrid pain!)


Frumpy Jones
08-13-2004, 12:55 PM
Alright.

Searched the archives and the boards, and have found nothing on this...

It all starts well-enough... you're out, doing that thing you do, when suddenly you notice... well not 'notice'... maybe sense? Yes. Better. You sense a small bump on your tongue. It's slightly painful, and you rub it over your teeth and sure enough you feel something.

You get yourself to the nearest mirror and check out your tongue, and notice that one single bud has decided to go supernova on you. It's all out there and white as if you just got a pimple. Oh, and it hurts! You know, that small, but constant, hurt that just annoys you all day... makes you grit your teeth unknowingly, thereby causing you a massive headache that you would never have had, were it not for this little bud's blaze of glory? Yeah. That pain.

So a day goes by and the final explosion occurs, and now you have this little scorch-mark-like-thing on your tongue, as if your body sent a small demolition crew to the site and they took it out with some TNT, and it still hurts.

My question (Finally): Why? Why does one taste bud decide to take that bridge and end its little taste-budding life, and why does (s)he have to cause me pain while doing so?

HeyHomie
08-13-2004, 02:41 PM
I don't have an answer to your question, but I can tell you confidently that this happens to me all the time, and those little buggers hurt like HELL.

beltbuckle
08-13-2004, 02:45 PM
This happens very occasionally to me as well, maybe a couple of times per year. My solution is to bite the afflicted taste bud and basically crush it with my front teeth. This is painful briefly, but I find that it hurts less afterward. I would rather have a few seconds of sharp pain than a few days of a dull pain.

lexi
08-13-2004, 02:49 PM
I get those, and I usually pinch the offending taste bud off. Although pinching it off with my nails is very painful briefly - once it is gone, so is the pain.

pool
08-13-2004, 02:52 PM
Uh can't a white bump like that on your tongue be the sign of a cancerous or pre-cancerous growth? :(

panache45
08-13-2004, 03:14 PM
I get one of these every couple months. A few questions: How many taste buds do we start out with, before they start self-destrucing? What causes them to do this (irritation, spicy food, etc.)? Does a new taste bud grow in its place, or do we simply wind up with fewer and fewer of them? And is this the reason why so many elderly people have a lost or diminished sense of taste?

Dewey Finn
08-13-2004, 03:37 PM
Uh can't a white bump like that on your tongue be the sign of a cancerous or pre-cancerous growth? :(

That's possible. It's called leukoplakia.

whiterabbit
08-13-2004, 03:51 PM
I get something very similar, except that they're not really visible. No white bumps, just a really sore tiny bump. And here I thought I was the only one!

phouka
08-13-2004, 03:52 PM
I never could manage to bite the little suckers off, so I finally grabbed a pair of tweezers and yanked the last few off. Hurts, yes, but it heals almost immediately, instead of hanging around, swollen and mean, for days on end. I seem to get them when I'm really eating too much sugar.

cornflakes
08-13-2004, 06:15 PM
I'm no expert, but I assume that the swelling is because of infection.

When I get these... thingies (can someone give a proper name for them?), I gargle with hydrogen peroxide. It's painless and gets rid of the swelling almost immediately.

Jeep's Phoenix
08-13-2004, 06:31 PM
Another vote for hydrogen peroxide. I dab a little on the inflamed bump before I go to bed, and it's typically gone by morning.

I've tried removing the bumps with tweezers, but that hurts too much and seems to make them worse.

Revtim
08-13-2004, 07:41 PM
I also get them, and I usually sever 'em with small scissors.

mike1dog
08-13-2004, 07:42 PM
I get these whenever I eat peanuts. Maybe it is a slight allergic reaction.

Marsie
08-13-2004, 07:47 PM
My great-grandmother used to call them "lie bumps." Supposedly you got them from telling lies...

Starving Artist
08-13-2004, 07:58 PM
I sever 'em with nail clippers (sterilized in alcohol would be best). The pain is almost gratifying bycause it overrides the pain from the offending bud and seems like a more normal kind of pain. Somehow this seems preferable and it lasts only a second. Plus once the bud is gone, there's no more pain and no more bother. It's miraculous, given that you've actually just inflicted a small wound upon yourself.

Revtim
08-13-2004, 08:13 PM
I wonder, would the bud heal if not severed, and by removing them are we unnecessarily degrading our sense of taste by a tiny bit at a time?

DrDeth
08-13-2004, 08:40 PM
I get these whenever I eat peanuts. Maybe it is a slight allergic reaction.


Well, we have two issues here. What our OP seems to be getting is a canker sore (not cold sore, not cancer, not cancre). It is a minor infection, often set off by an imbalance in your body- like a cold or flu. They are a small ulcer. Eating high acid foods or using toothpaste with Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) often is the cause- biting your cheek may also set them off. This next is a commercial site, note. They only have one thing wrong- there are several brands that don't have SLS- including Biotene, which I like to use.

http://therabreath.com/art_cankersores.asp

They can sometimes be cured by Acidolpholus and Vitamin C.

Here is a non-commerical site:
http://drbunn.com/sore.htm

Here is Biotene's site:
http://biotene.net/products/toothpaste.asp

In Mike's case- they may be cold or herpes sores- as peanuts contain an Amino acid which can set off dormant cases of herpes. L-lysine will help. I'd guess that some Acidolpholus and Vitamin C wouldn't hurt either. Check out site #2.

Starving Artist
08-13-2004, 09:00 PM
I wonder, would the bud heal if not severed, and by removing them are we unnecessarily degrading our sense of taste by a tiny bit at a time?I probably don't have to off but one every couple of years so it's not a big deal for me there.

Turek
08-13-2004, 09:22 PM
I get these whenever I eat peanuts. Maybe it is a slight allergic reaction.

I find I get these if I've gotten something stuck behind my retainer and pick and it with the tip of my tongue for extended periods before it comes out. The next day, a tastebud will inflame.

I bet you get them from digging the peanut bits out of your teeth.

monstro
08-13-2004, 10:20 PM
I had one of those bumps about six or seven months ago. It hurt a little, but the fact that it had changed the texture of my normally smooth tongue was more annoying than anything else.

My solution? Staring at it in the mirror.

elfbabe
08-14-2004, 12:19 AM
Well, we have two issues here. What our OP seems to be getting is a canker sore (not cold sore, not cancer, not cancre).

I don't think he means canker sores. I get those as well as what he's talking about, and they definitely seem to be different things to me.

Frumpy Jones
08-14-2004, 01:44 AM
Not.. it is definately NOT a canker sore/cold sore.. thos i get on my lips, or insdie my mouth. This is exactly as I said it was. One little taste bud going crazy on my tounge.. it's not big (It's the size of one taste bud), and it's never more than one. I will try the Hydrogen peroxide nexrt time (As tthis one has self-destructed...

interesting stuff, though.. I love the wealth of info I gain whenever I ask here :)

TellMeI'mNotCrazy
08-14-2004, 02:06 AM
How funny - I call them the same thing "suicidal taste buds", and I hate them with a passion. And I can't leave them alone. When I was a kid, and lost a tooth, invariably my tongue had to go to the spot where the tooth had been*. Now, with suicidal taste buds, I can't stop myself from dragging the offending bud over my teeth, because, sure, the pain isn't bad enough as it is.

A worse pain was inflicted by a serious tongue burn garnered while eating a frozen dinner. It was a cheesy enchilada type deal, and I was starving. Heated it up, took a bite, and realized too late that it was way too hot. Melted cheese is like edible napalm - it just stuck to my tongue while I did some rather ungraceful things trying to get the crap off. Before long, the roof of my mouth and the back of my tongue revolted, and I had to sleep sitting in the recliner for two nights because lying down caused the rather inconvenient problem of not being able to breathe.

*When I was a kid, I read somewhere (probably my first urban legend) that if you didn't stick your tongue in the spot where your tooth was, a gold tooth would grow in. I never successfully lasted long enough to find out, so who knows, maybe it's true. ;)

Seven
08-14-2004, 07:26 AM
I get those as well. They get the nail clipper treatment.

I call them Taste Bloomers (get it? It was a bud until it bloomed into a full blown flower)

Ok, that's not true. I call them bastards

Annie-Xmas
08-14-2004, 09:03 AM
I get them too. At the first sign of them, I scrape them off with my fingernail. It's a moment of :eek:, then it's gone.

Frumpy Jones
08-14-2004, 09:10 AM
I get them too. At the first sign of them, I scrape them off with my fingernail. It's a moment of :eek:, then it's gone.

Hmm.. okay.. now that everyone has shared that they, too, have this, I'm back to the Straight Dope purpose of WHY? I now need sonme science behind this. Dark came close, but he's not speaking of my condition...

C'mon TM's, Don't lemme down!

Jenaroph
08-14-2004, 11:49 AM
Tsk tsk. 26 posts in and nobody's pointed out that the bumps aren't actually the taste buds (http://arbl.cvmbs.colostate.edu/hbooks/pathphys/digestion/pregastric/taste.html)? The bumps are papillae, and they contain taste buds which are too small to actually see.

Mathochist
08-14-2004, 12:51 PM
Hmm.. okay.. now that everyone has shared that they, too, have this, I'm back to the Straight Dope purpose of WHY? I now need sonme science behind this. Dark came close, but he's not speaking of my condition...

C'mon TM's, Don't lemme down!

Well, I've always been told the bump is an infected papilla (or, informally Jenaroph, infected "taste bud". As Peter Falk said in The Princess Bride, "Yes, you're very smart."). This jibes with cornflakes', Jeep's Phoenix', and Frumpy Jones testimony that peroxide handles them, which I'll have to try myself next time.

pencilpusher
08-14-2004, 01:04 PM
So wierd that I run across this today. I woke up with one of those little bastards committing suicide this morning. I'm gonna go try the peroxide right now!! :D

DrDeth
08-14-2004, 02:58 PM
Like I said- those are likely just a bud/papillae (good word, Jenaroph )which has turned into a little ulcer, aka a Canker sore. Don't get a canker sore (nearly always on the inside of your mouth, and hurts like the devil) confused with a cold sore which is nearly always on the outside and doesn't have a lot of pain (itches, tingling). Cold sores are actually Herpes blisters.

If you burn/cut out the little ulcer- you'll "cure" it- altho sometimes the wound will become a new one. Yep, you can sometimes do it with H2O2, and without too much danger (your Doc will likely want Liquid Nitrogen). And they take a long time to heal on their own, right?

Acidolpholus and vit C will bring them to heel in a few days.

Mathochist
08-14-2004, 04:47 PM
Like I said- those are likely just a bud/papillae (good word, Jenaroph )which has turned into a little ulcer, aka a Canker sore.

Well, "canker sores" I've had are almost always on the inside of my cheek and feel more spread out and smoothly bumpy than these things on my tongue which are concentrated on one little point. The pain is also different: canker sores are very sensitive to acidity and somewhat sensitive to temperature. These things are only sensitive to pressure. I'm not saying that this isn't a canker sore (IANAD), but that it just behaves so differently I'm a little skeptical without a cite, preferably with pictures of each to make sure we're all on the same page.

"Papillae" is the plural of "papilla", not a singular term.

Anyhow, on a tangent about the papilla/taste bud confoundation, I don't think I've ever had one of these things near the center of my tongue on a fungiform papilla. IIRC, that's where the actual taste buds are, meaning that this can't be an inflamed taste bud (and incidentally, revtim, we can't be destroying our sense of taste by snipping at them).

Trigonal Planar
08-14-2004, 07:48 PM
I get these too. They're usually whitish in colour and they are not what I know to be a canker.

I'm surprised at all the people who forcibly remove them. They only hurt for like a day and then go away on their own. At least IME. And I never thought they had anything to do with taste buds.

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