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It's natural to be a little worried when a new lump or bump forms on your body. If you or your child develops a soft swelling in the mouth, it may just be a mucocele -- a harmless cyst. It's still a good idea to get it checked out, though, especially if it's bothersome.
Where does a mucocele come from? It centers on a small salivary gland, which makes saliva in your mouth.
Here's what happens-
Your saliva moves from a salivary gland through tiny tubes (ducts) into your mouth. One of these ducts can become damaged or blocked. This most often happens if you repeatedly bite or suck on your lower lip or cheek.
Getting hit in the face could also disrupt the duct. Remember that "head-on collision" in your pick-up game of basketball last month? Maybe that was the original culprit.
What happens once the duct damage is done? Mucus seeps out, pools, becomes walled off, and causes a cyst-like swelling. A similar buildup happens when the duct has become blocked.
Mucoceles often show up on the inside of your lower lips, your gums, the roof of your mouth, or under your tongue. Those on the floor of the mouth are called ranulas. These are rare, but because they are larger, they can cause more problems with speech, chewing, and swallowing.
Mucoceles may have these characteristics:
Moveable and painless
Soft, round, dome-shaped
Pearly or semi-clear surface or bluish in color
2 to 10 millimeters in diameter.