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The small bumps on your tongue are called papillae. Occasionally, one or two of these papillae can become painful and, as a result, more noticeable. Your taste buds are scattered among the papillae. Consuming large amounts of acidic or salty food or drink can irritate the papillae, as can other kinds of trauma, such as biting your tongue. If you simply avoid hot, spicy, or acidic food or drink for a few days, the bumps may stop hurting and return to normal. If bumps on your tongue continue to cause irritation, contact your dentist, since this may indicate a more serious condition.