What are these bumps on the inside of my lips?
December 8, 2005 4:21 PM   Subscribe

I have lots of little bumps of varying sizes on the inside of my lips. Maybe "lips" isn't the 100% correct term -- but they're scattered throughout the area between my lips (where lipstick goes) and my gums. Both top and bottom of my mouth. What are they? The larger ones appear whitish (they aren't raised bumps -- they're under my pink mouth flesh). Is it cancer? How long do I have, Doc?

I think I've had these for years, and frequently nibble on them (absentmindedly). But a while ago my wife asked me what I was chewing on, and when I said, "the bumps in my mouth," she looked at me like I was crazy. It was then that I realized... not everyone has these. The horror.

Actually they do kind of drive me nuts. Now that I know other people have smooth inner lips, I'm jealous and mildly concerned.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (29 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Oh. I think I have those too. I just thought they were normal. Hrmm.

Sometimes one will get inflamed, and get a little bigger, and I'll accidentally or not so accidentally pop it and a little fluid comes out and it'll disappear.
posted by stray at 4:28 PM on December 8, 2005

Could they just be salivary ducts? Would that make sense?
posted by stray at 4:33 PM on December 8, 2005

Me too; I have had them my whole life so I don't think it is terminal. It seems unwise to chew on them, though.
posted by contessa at 4:36 PM on December 8, 2005

I get them as well. I've had them at least as long as I can remember.
posted by voidcontext at 4:40 PM on December 8, 2005

Got 'em, chem on 'em. No big whup.

Although every now and then, I light a cigarette, and I wonder...
posted by SassHat at 4:45 PM on December 8, 2005

And here I thought everyone had them too. Although, I wonder if we're talking about the same thing. I don't feel them if I run my tongue across that part, but I definately feel them if I kind of chew on it with my front teeth. Is that what you have?

This is by far the weirdest conversation I've had on the internet.
posted by like_neon at 4:49 PM on December 8, 2005

Maybe they're mucoceles (a.k.a. mucus cysts)? According to emedicine (requires registration, but it's worth it!), mucoceles are soft, smooth cysts filled with mucus that form near salivary glands, usually inside the lower lip. A lot of times they are caused/aggravated by some sort of trauma from chewing or what have you. If that what these things are, they're harmless but potentially aggravating.
posted by feathermeat at 4:49 PM on December 8, 2005

Little bumps will appear normally in the tissues of your mouth. My guess is that your compulsive chewing on them makes them bigger, like a scab that won't go away if you scratch it.
posted by randomstriker at 5:03 PM on December 8, 2005

I had a mucus cyst that would not go away until I had very minor surgery to get it removed (they tried cutting it off, heating it off, injecting it with something, and freezing it off). I don't know if they are what the OP has (although it was my first thought) because in my case I only had one, not multiples.
posted by Falconetti at 5:22 PM on December 8, 2005

How funny. The other day I was toying about posting this same question. I have always wondered about my bumps. When I was younger, one of them would get hooked between my front teeth sometimes. Painful. But my gap shrunk as I grew so it's not a problem anymore. So now I chew a little but mostly just run them between my teeth.

I'm skeptical that they're mucos-fillled cysts because they're always present (in large number) and never seem to change. But I've been wrong before.

This question has given me the courage to ask my hubby if I can feel the inside of his mouth. I mean, I've felt it, but not in that way. Just curious, I guess.
posted by wallaby at 5:36 PM on December 8, 2005

Quit sucking on those things! Like others have already stated, almost everyone has those, but sucking on them really makes them get out of hand.

True story here, I grew up with a kid who habitually sucked his lower lip into his mouth. When we were in 1st grade he had normal lips, by the time we got into 5th grade his bottom lip looked like a friggin innertube!
posted by snsranch at 5:51 PM on December 8, 2005

Lipstick, and you have a wife? I kid.

Do they come and go? Do they appear after eating certain foods? They could be an allergy.
posted by caddis at 6:14 PM on December 8, 2005

Just rubbing my tongue along the bottom lip, I can feel little bumps. I have to press kind've hard, though.

I do have weird spots on my lips - if I press hard on the lip and stretch the skin between two fingers (hard to explain, sorry), dozens of little white dots appear. I wonder what it is?
posted by kalimac at 6:21 PM on December 8, 2005

My bottom lip -- well, actually, the skin below my lip on the inside of my mouth -- seems to be full of tiny little balls when I roll it against my teeth or play with it with my tongue. I have normal lips. I've just discovered this ball-filled thing. I would let it go as one of those "boy, the body can be weird" features.

snsranch -- have we diagnosed Angelina Jolie?

And can I nuke kind've from orbit?
posted by booksandlibretti at 7:01 PM on December 8, 2005

You guys are freaks!
posted by thirteenkiller at 7:08 PM on December 8, 2005

if I press hard on the lip and stretch the skin between two fingers (hard to explain, sorry), dozens of little white dots appear. I wonder what it is?

I have that too. I can't feel 'em with my tongue or fingers, but if I do the stretchy thing I can see 'em. Worried me when I first found 'em (teenager) but they never did anything so I quit worrying.

I wonder if this is the same thing the OP has?
posted by sennoma at 7:35 PM on December 8, 2005

Merely as counterpoint: I don't have any of the things you're describing.
posted by aramaic at 8:39 PM on December 8, 2005

I've have these on the bottom lip for as long as I can remember, but they're not white. I never bothered examining them too long and up until recently I assumed based on cursory tonguing (I almost wrote "casual tonguing" there) that they're symmetrical, and hence a genetic body part, but they're not, really. So yeah, mucoceles seems right.
posted by abcde at 8:58 PM on December 8, 2005

Well, you can get warts inside your mouth, but I could tell you off hand if that is what you have or not.
posted by The Bishop of Turkey at 9:14 PM on December 8, 2005

Sounds like Fordyce's Condition to me which, I too have - and looked up before. Do a google image search. I have looked it up before, and forgot what it is called - I found the name with google, by searching for "bumps on lips".
posted by ill3 at 9:16 PM on December 8, 2005

Got 'em. Assumed everyone does. Anyone who doesn't is a jerk!
posted by klangklangston at 10:29 PM on December 8, 2005 [1 favorite]

Unfortunately, I'm always driven to GIS diseases once someone's suggested it. This has lead to trauma in the past, but today it's not so bad at all.

You can have it in little clusters or spread out. It can be on the inside of your mouth, or on your lips. You can also get it on other mucous membranes (NSFW, if you can figure out what it is).

But it ain't necessarily Fordyce's. My inner bottom lip feels lumpy if I push on it, but it doesn't look lumpy, so I guess it can't be Fordyce's.
posted by booksandlibretti at 11:05 PM on December 8, 2005

oops, I meant "couldn't". Damn you preview!
posted by The Bishop of Turkey at 11:17 PM on December 8, 2005

Herpes, maybe? Also check out Merck's website with a picture. It's my understanding that almost everyone has them. We apparently have to thank our ancestor's who were sailors or something. In very few cases is it something we have to worry much about. Kind of like the flu virus.
posted by JJ86 at 3:27 AM on December 9, 2005

Here's another vote for "normal lip thingies."
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:15 AM on December 9, 2005

If they are always there and/or they are hard, it wouldn't be herpes. Herpes lesions are more the pustule type and are don't persist.
posted by The Bishop of Turkey at 7:31 AM on December 9, 2005

I've had these as long as I can remember. They're only op the left and right edges of my lips. I have one bump that occasionally gets inflamed from rubbing on a tooth, but I've never chewed on them or had them get any bigger.
posted by Four Flavors at 9:21 AM on December 9, 2005

Get 'em. Everyone's got 'em. You're ok.
posted by UnclePlayground at 12:41 PM on December 9, 2005

I don't have them in the inside of my mouth, it's all pink and smooth, but I do have a few tiny white bumps at the corners of my mouth.
posted by lychee at 2:42 PM on December 9, 2005

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