Whether it is a normal physiological occurrence & variation, or a pathological condition, white spots on lips can end up making you feel both concerned and self-conscious about appearance. Despite most white bumps on lips being generally harmless, they can lead to considerable distress and worry among those who notice these signs. The generally benign nature of these signs and their underlying causes notwithstanding, white spots on lips can sometimes also hint at an underlying condition, which requires requisite medical attention to address.
Alongside white bumps on lips, bumps on the gums are often just as concerning, albeit with a higher incidence of pathological causes when compared to their rather benign counterparts on the lips. Apart from infections and cysts, bumps on the gums can also have an impact on oral and overall health of the body. We discuss a number of causes of white spots on lips and bumps on gums to help you understand these common signs and symptoms impacting both oral and psychological well-being. Read on to know more to identify the causes of these symptoms and white spots on lips pictures to help you tell them apart.
What Causes White Spots on Lips?
- White spots on the lips are signs that are common across all age groups and can appear at any point of time in your life.
- While these spots commonly appear due to known physiological reasons, they might also arise from potentially concerning changes in your body, making a medical consultation the best course of action when you notice these spots on your lips.
- To help you avoid ignoring causes that might be more serious in their origin, we detail some of the most common causes of white spots on lips. These include:
- Milia on lips are most commonly seen in babies and infants, but are also not uncommon in adults.
- They appear as small white dots on lips and tiny bumps that appear raised and are caused by the accumulation of dead skin cells.
- The accumulation of dead skin in the pores and pockets of the skin eventually results in the appearance of a small white bump.
- While common around the lips, milia are also common around the eyes and on the eyelids.
- Though doctors do not completely understand the exact cause for the appearance of milia, they’re sometimes spotted in regions of the face that have undergone trauma in the past.
- Milia appear either as a single bump on the lip or as multiple bumps.
- Despite being harmless, milia are often extracted by dermatologists due to aesthetic concerns.
- Non-surgical removal techniques often revolve around applying medicated retinoid ointments on the bumps.
- These white spots on the lips are sebaceous glands that can appear both inside and outside the mouth.
- Outside the mouth, they’re most commonly found on the borders of the lip. On the other hand, they’re common to both the inner parts of the lip and on the inner cheek within the mouth.
- They’re completely normal variations of physiological structures and are no cause for concern.
- Fordyce’s spots tend to grow in size with age, and appear either singly or in clusters of more than one white bump on the lips.
- While Fordyce spots have no pathological significance, they can be cosmetic concerns that can be addressed with a dermatologist.
HPV White Spots on Lips
- The human papillomavirus (HPV) can be one of the most common pathological causes for white bumps on lips.
- HPV happens to be the most common sexually transmitted infections in humans, with nearly all sexually active adults expected to encounter the infection at some point in their lives.
- While the infection barely ever causes any symptoms in most people, thanks to the immune system clearing the infection in a majority of the cases, people that do become symptomatic are known to develop cauliflower-like fleshy growths on their genitals, and sometimes in the mouth.
- HPV white spots on lips tend to appear either white or pink, and look like a fleshy outgrowth of tissue. These bumps alongside the lips, are also common to the neck and eyelids.
- Doctors can remove the warts surgically or by using chemical agents to remove the warts.
- The herpes simplex virus causes another common sexually transmitted infection. Herpes, and its two common strains - HSV 1 and HSV 2 can affect both the genitals and the oral cavity.
- When around or on the lip, the bumps caused by the herpes virus are called cold sores.
- Though they eventually turn into a red and inflamed bump on the lip, they start off as a white spot or bump. These bumps then turn into blisters that can become crusted with either clear fluid or blood. A scab will develop subsequently.
- White spots on the lips due to herpes can occur on both the initial infection and upon reactivation in subsequent years.
- The most common method of dealing with herpes in and around the lips is by taking antiviral medication prescribed by the doctor. This can reduce the duration of the outbreak.
- A fungal infection of the mouth, oral candidiasis is caused by the yeast Candida albicans, resulting in white spots on lips, alongside patches, and raised bumps.
- Commonly called oral thrush, oral candidiasis can either appear on the lips, the borders of the lips or on the corners of the mouth - called angular cheilitis.
- Candidiasis is common in people with compromised immune systems, people with poor oral hygiene, the elderly, and people that use removable dentures.
- Antifungal ointments are the most common treatment approach for white bumps on lips, whereas for more severe infections that involve the entire mouth or other parts of the body, oral antifungal pills are the recommended course of action based on your doctor’s prescription.
- While most white bumps on the lips are benign and harmless, some white spots are foretelling of a potentially malignant condition.
- Both precancerous and cancerous lesions of the mouth and lip can start as white spots or bumps on lips.
- Cancerous lesions on the lips are common to bleed and ulcerate after a point of time, sometimes even getting infected.
- Potential causes of oral cancer on or around the lip include increased sun exposure, tobacco use, alcoholism, and even HPV infections.
What Are the Causes of a Bump on Gums?
- Another important part of the oral cavity, the gums are essential in maintaining the health of the teeth and the overall integrity of the bone underneath it.
- Bumps on gums, while likely benign, can also arise from several pathological conditions, requiring you to get checked with a dentist to ensure unimpeded oral health.
- Understanding the cause of a bump on the gums is essential to address it effectively using medical intervention. Ignoring these signs can have potentially harmful impacts on the overall health.
- Below, we detail a number of potential causes that result in a bump on the gums:
- Abscesses are loosely defined spaces in tissues that get filled with pus due to a bacterial infection.
- A white bump or spot on the gums can indicate a periodontal abscess, caused by poor oral hygiene, and other factors such as low immunity.
- Sometimes, abscesses are also linked to dental infection and decay, leading to pain, halitosis, and discomfort.
- Draining the pus and clearing the infection is essential when an abscess appears on the gum as a white bump.
- Dental cysts can appear as white bumps on the gums. Cysts are spaces in tissues with a well-defined border, often containing either fluid, air, or semi-solid material.
- Cysts are usually very slow to grow and tough to spot in the initial stages. However, they might become inflamed and appear as a reddish bump on gums upon infection by bacteria.
- Cysts can be benign, but they end up putting pressure on teeth, and can also cause the bone around the cyst to weaken, leading to an increased risk of fractures.
- Surgical enucleation and removal of cyst tissue is the most common approach to treating dental cysts.
- Oral ulcers might appear as bumps on gums. While the exact cause of oral ulcers and canker sores still remains elusive, doctors have linked it to vitamin deficiencies, localized trauma, and bruises.
- Canker sores are harmless, but are painful.
- The central white portion of the bump is often surrounded by a red, inflamed region, leading to warmth and pain in the area.
- While canker sores heal on their own over a week, the use of topical anesthetics allows you to relieve the pain when eating.
- Tori are bony outgrowths that appear as whitish bumps and protrusions on the gums.
- While they’re most common in the lower jaw, they’re also seen in the upper jaw.
- They’re hard to touch and often not painful, unless they impinge on a nerve or get infected.
- They’re very slow-growing and are often not noticed unless they’re large enough to become visibly different from the surrounding tissues.
- Dentists often recommend surgical treatment for tori.
- Oral cancer can affect the gums just as it can any other part of the oral cavity. It tends to appear as either a white patch or bump initially, following which it tends to bleed and ulcerate.
- It can also look like a white lump of skin, or a sore that never heals.
- Rapid growth of the patch or the sore can lead to major infections in the area, leading to severe pain and even tooth loss.
- Bump on gums that are cancerous can lead to functional issues like trouble chewing food, difficulty swallowing, and even a sore throat.
- Doctors will biopsy the tissue from the bump on gums to either confirm or dismiss the presence of cancerous tissue.
- Diagnosing the white bump on lips or white spots on gums is essential to differentiating the cause based on whether it’s benign or pathogenic.
- Tests like swab collection and subsequent culture tests allow doctors to tell whether the white spots on lips and bumps on gums are of an infectious origin.
- On the other hand, for white bumps on lips such as milia or Fordyce granules, a simple physical examination of the area will help the physician determine the benign nature.
- Biopsies on the other hand allow doctors to understand whether the white bump on the lips or gums carries any risk of cancer.
- Similarly, other diagnostic tools such as the VDRL and herpes simplex tests enable doctors to rule out any sexually transmissible infections as the potential causes for the white spots on lips or on the gums.
Treatment & Outlook
- The treatment of the white spots and bumps often depends on the cause.
- Doctors will undertake both symptomatic and definitive treatment to address the problem.
- Although, doctors will advise either doing nothing or cosmetic treatments in case the white bumps are determined to be benign growths like milia on lips of Fordyce granules.
- Get in touch with your doctor if you’re concerned about white spots on lips and bumps on gums.