Ok, I am going to make this a seperate post, if ya'll don't mind. I am writing this in response to the posts about oral warts and the like. We all really get paranoid and freaky when we have GW and start checking our mouths, cuz of oral sex and whatever. So, I am a dental hygientist. I've been one for 9 years and was a dental assistant for 5 years before that. I have a BS in Health and know my crap when it comes to the oral cavity. So, to put anyone's mind at rest, of course, I'd recommend a visit to the MD or dentist to check whatever is in your mouth that is freaking you out.
In the meantime, here is a list of normal oral structres and common oral pathologies:
1). The bumps under your tongue, on either side is part of your Plica Sublingualis and Sublingual Caruncle. It is made up of the Warton's and Bartholin's salivary ducts. It is totally normal anatomy. Sometimes, those ducts can get clogged and a ranula or a mucocele can form. Ranulas are soft, blister like growths and mucoceles are hard, smaller round lumps. Both are common and may need an Oral surgeon to remove.
2.) There is a bump on either side of your mouth, up on your cheeks, on the inside, near your back, upper molars. That is your stenson's duct and a salivary gland. When a person gets mumps, that is the area that swells up.
3.) Fordyce granules are ectopic (malpositioned) sebaceous glands. In laymen's terms, they are small sweat glands on or inside your lips or cheeks. They can be very tiny little dots, usually yellow or white or cream colored. Many of them together will form a large patch. Again, totally fine.
4.) Your tongue is covered in little bumps called papilla. They are on the top and sides. The ones that are longer towards the back of your tongue can sometimes look like hairs. they are filiform papilla. The large, bumpy masses at the very back of your tongue are circumvallate papilla. Again, totally normal.
5.) Tonsils are on either side of your mouth, at the very back, near your throat. they hide between two "arches" of skin. Tonsils can be big or small. That can be totally normal. If they are painful, red or covered in white patches, you could have an infection (NOT WARTS), so see your MD.
6.) that hangy thing in the back of your throat is your Uvula. Totally normal.
COmmon pathologies are:
Candidiasis. This is basically a yeast infection in your mouth. You will need an anti-fungal drug to clear. It looks like white cheesy curds that you can rub off of your cheeks or tongue.
Lichen Planus. This is an autoimmune condition that needs to be diagnosed by a derm or dentist. Its usually treated with a steroid of some sort. It is not contagious!
Oral Herpes (cold sores). These occur on kerratinized tissue, which means your lips or "harder" tissues of your mouth. It is usually tingly, ulcerated sores that will last about 7-14 days. This IS contagious and can spread to other people's mouth and genitals, FYI. Be careful if you have an open weeping lesion! The virus sheds very easily. Some peeps are immune to this. Others get tons of cold sores in their life. Its commonly seen after stress or sun exposure.
Aphthous Ulcers. which are Canker sores. these are seen on non-keratinized tissue like the inside of cheeks and lips. They are not contagious and can be irritated with acid foods and abrasion to the area. They go away on their own, but severe cases can be treated with oral rinses. See your dentist.
Nicotene Stomatitis. These are tiny red bumps that form of the roof of the mouth due to excessive nicotene exposure.
Of course, there are other things, and this is not meant to diagnose anyone's conditions, but merely for educational purposes, so we don't have to freak that we may have GW in our mouths. Seriously, I have never even heard of a case and never even studied it in hygiene school. No dentist I ever worked for has ever mentioned it. If you are really concerned, tho, please contact an Oral Surgeon. Truly, they are the most qualified to diagnose your condition. They can also take biopsies if needed.
So, I hope this didn't sound preachy. I just wanted to help, if I could.
Brush and floss, too.
Edited to add:
New research in the dental fields is linking oral cancer to HPV for sure. However, oral warts are still extremely rare and not seen very often at all.