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Infected Taste Bud Causes, Treatment, Natural Remedies for Sore Irritated Taste Buds

How do you get rid of swollen, inflamed and infected taste buds? Discover simple remedies to heal swollen inflamed taste buds in this article.

Taste buds are the little bumps that give the surface of the tongue its texture. Their function is included in their name, the little guys help us make distinctions between tastes. The taste buds are adapted to sense different tastes. Towards the back of the tongue are the taste buds that pick up bitter tastes, on the sides  of tongue, the taste buds are equipped to pick up the sour tastes , the tip of the tongue detects sweet tastes.

Inflammed taste buds
Inflammed taste buds

It is normal not to be aware of your taste buds, even when they are busy helping you enjoy your food. Sometimes though, the taste buds can become swollen inflamed or infected making us all too aware of them. Sometimes it is just one or two taste buds that are infected, but if you are unfortunate, the whole tongue could be painful because whole sections are inflamed.  If you are looking for taste loss causes, you found one in taste bud inflammation.

Typically, one loses the sense of taste in the part with the infection. For example, if it is on the side of the tongue, one may temporarily be unable to taste sourness. If it is in the back of the tongue, then it is the ability to fully taste bitter that is affected.

Inflamed taste buds will be painful, swollen, or appear a little raised red bumps on tongue. Other symptoms are  enlarged papillae  and sensitivity when taking hot, spicy or salty foods and drinks.

There are several reasons you could get an infection on the taste buds.

 8 Potential causes of infected taste buds

The following could leave you with a taste bud infection.

1.      Certain Procedures and therapies

You may notice some swelling or inflammation of your taste buds when you are under certain treatments like chemotherapy. It could also happen after some surgical procedures like laryngectomy.

2.Trauma/ Injury to the tongue

This could be cause by biting; hitting against teeth, rubbing against braces and anything else that can injure the tongue. The taste buds in the injured part may become infected.


You taste buds can become inflamed after the tongue comes into contact with certain allergens. The inflamed taste buds could then develop an infection.

4.Mouth Ulcers

These attack most of the membranes inside the tongue. If the ulcers are on the tongue, some taste buds could get infected.

5.Hot food and drinks

Taking food or drink at very high temperatures can be bad news for your tongue. Not only do they irritate the tongue but burnt taste buds are exposed to infections.

6.Oral infections

These include thrush which leaves a whitish rash or spots on the tongue.

7.Transient Lingual Papilitis

This condition mainly causes the taste buds to become enlarged . It  also does not cause  taste bud infection per se. But if you tinker with one of the enlarged papillae(taste buds) you could open it up to infection.


Oral cancers can cause chronic infections on  taste buds in rare cases. There will be other worrying symptoms like bleeding, bad breath and a sore throat that will not go away, so o not panic at the first sign of infection on the papillae.

Non-medical infected taste bud treatment.

Now that we have established what causes infected taste buds, we can go into the best ways to get rid of them. There are a couple of things you will have to stop doing to help heal inflamed taste buds.

1.Keep your hands off your tongue

It may be tempting to prick, or poke or squeeze or touch the swollen taste buds. But by all means do not give in as this is likely to irritate your tongue increasing the taste bud pain not to mention introduce new bacteria.

2. Avoid smoking, drinking

Smoking, drinking and consuming highly acidic and spicy  foods may  prevent the infection on your tongue from healing fast.  Stop it at least for the duration you are trying to treat the taste bud inflammation.

Natural cures for  taste bud infection – Home remedies for taste bud infection

There are also some easy but effective home remedies for  infected buds.


Yoghurt is known to work well to bring relief for mouth infections where bacteria are involved. If you have a taste bud infection as a side serving of thrush, regularly taking some cold unsweetened  natural yoghurt may give you the relief you are seeking.


Ice is known to bring relief to  pain like on bruises and welts. It will also work  to soothe a painful tongue due to infection of the taste buds. Just apply an ice cube or ice chips on the enlarged  taste buds  for a little bit. Do not leave it too long as you may disrupt blood flow to the area though . You will welcome the numbness from the ice and  notice any swelling will go down.


We are banking on honey’s strong antibacterial properties to help get rid of the infection on tongue. To use honey as a swollen taste bud treatment, just swish some in your mouth twice a day.

4.Baking Soda

Place a small amount of baking soda on the infected buds and leave it on .This remedy may require you to hold your tongue out for a little but the effort and patience will be worth it as this remedy is known to cool a painful taste buds fast.

5. Salt

Basic old table salt can work as a good remedy to treat inflamed taste buds. Dissolve  a teaspoon of salt in a glass of lukewarm water. Gargle with this solution thrice a day to cure inflamed taste buds naturally.

6. Gargle with tea tree oil

Tea tree oil is a great remedy for several skin conditions. It has strong anti-bacterial properties which makes it perfect for  as an infected papillae treatment. Mix a few drops in warm water , shake in a bottle and use the solution.

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