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Mouth Diseases

Tiny white bumps on inside of cheek in mouth

08/31/2006

Question:

I developed these very very tiny bumps on the inside of my right cheek a couple weeks ago (closer to the lip though). And now has developed on both sides of the inside cheek. I have been smoking for about 2 years (1st year 1 pack of cigarettes per day, next 6 months 2 miniature cigars per day, now only a cigarette or 2 per day and when drinking on weekends) The bumps / clusters do not hurt but will not go away. I have tried brushing and mouthwash. thanks in advance.

Answer:

I am guessing that the bumps you are describing have been there for some time and that you have only recently discovered or noticed them.

By your description, these tiny bumps sound like Fordyce granules. They usually become first noticeable around the time of adolescence. Fordyce granules are commonly found on the cheeks and usually can be seen on both sides. Another common place to see them is the upper lip, usually clustered on both sides. Fordyce granules represent small clumps of glands normally found around the hairs on the skin. Since hair is not normally found inside the mouth or on the lips, these glands are called “ectopic”, a term meaning that they are in an unusual place. But since some authorities report that Fordyce granules occur in up to 80% of all adults, they probably just represent a variation of normal anatomy.

Just to be sure, you may want to have your dentist confirm my opinion that these bumps are a normal part of your anatomy.  Until then, your efforts with a toothbrush are probably best focused on your teeth.

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Response by:

John R Kalmar, DMD, PhD John R Kalmar, DMD, PhD
Clinical Professor of Pathology
Associate Dean of Dentistry Administration
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University