Small Red Bumps Over the Tongue

A normal tongue is pinkish in color and is covered by small nodules, which are actually papillae (taste buds).

Tongue is a common site to study while diagnosing an illness. This is because, it faces many external disease causing culprits. Apart from this, it is expressive and gives a hint towards the disease.

One may get a small red bumps or blisters over the tongue. This indicates some irritation over the surface of the tongue.

Common Causes for Red Blisters Over the Tongue


Any kind of trauma may lead to irritation over the surface of the tongue. This may give to red blisters. These are usually confined to the affected area.

You may be drinking some hot fluid and burn your tongue, eating some food stuff which has sharp edges or having something very spicy.

Aphthous ulcers (canker sores)

They are white or yellow in color with reddish margins around them. Their presence usually indicates a nutritional deficiency, especially vitamin B. They are also found in gastric upsets, both diarrhea and constipation.  Phases of excessive stress, as during examinations, also show their appearance.

Such ulcers are also found if your have a sharp edged tooth or an ill fitting denture.

Allergic Rashes

As they appear any where else on the body, allergic rashes may be found over the tongue also. If you take some food stuff you are allergic to, red itchy bumps may show up.

These are commoner under the tongue and the inner sides of the cheek.

Such rashes respond well to antiallergics. Also, the food causing irritation needs to be avoided.

Cold Sores

They are caused  due to herpes simplex virus ((type 1). Often, you may have a mild fever.

Red swollen bumps may be found. They are commoner to appear over the lips, however, they may occur over the tongue surface also.

The bumps get aggravated when exposed to sunlight, stress of any kind, emotional or physical, nutritional deficiency states.


Sores here are painless, firm to hard to touch and often solitary. They generally appear over the genitals, but sometimes in the mouth as well.


Specific treatment would depend upon the cause of red bumps.

Red blisters are usually painful and one is not able to have food due to pain. Glycerin based oral ointments may be applied over the affected area for relief.

Non steroidal anti inflammatory mouth rinse containing benzydamine (tantum oral rinse) are available in the market. They are quite effective in reducing overall pain and inflammation.

If the pain is too much, a pain relieving pill may be given.

Steroid mouth washes (ledercort), may be used in resistant cases of mouth blisters.

Medical Advice (Q&As) on “Red Blisters Over the Tongue

  1. Jack

    This might be a stupid question – the other day my roommate and I were sharing a drink with a straw. Before I drank out of it, I wiped the straw with a napkin. I noticed after I drank from the straw that my friend had a bloody lip and had probably gotten some on the straw before I drank from it. I’m assuming my friend doesn’t have any diseases but should I be worried at all about this? Thanks

    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      Infected blood is definitely infected. It may transfer many infections, including STD.

      Do not be tensed about it. Just be watchful about the appearance of anything abnormal. All infections do express themselves in the form of some symptom or another.

      1. Jack

        If I was going to get tested say for STDs, how long should I wait to make sure I get accurate results based on possible exposure if blood was on his straw? Thanks

  2. Fari

    I notice when I look at my tongue, the sides look as though someone has been chewing on them. Do you know what causes this? Also, I was getting pains once a month on the left side 1-2 inches below my breasts but now this has increased to once a week. Why is this so? Please help me … “Paranoid”!

    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      Are they blisters? Any redness or soreness over them?

      The normal look of the sides of the tongue is rugged. It is not smooth. It actually looks likes someone has chewed the sides.

      1. Fari

        Hey, I know that the normal tongue looks like a furry carpet (especially on the sides) but instead of being straight at the sides all the way round, there are sinks. So it’s like, if the shape of tongue or more the sides are going in and out. Like someone chewed them. I am sorry, that’s the best I can described and it’s been like that for a month. There are no blisters or sores. Plus there is this pain underneath the breasts, just above the stomach that comes and goes in the week.

        1. Buddy M.D. Post author

          Try taking an antacid (like tums), whenever you get the pain underneath your breast. You may take up to two tums tablets at a time to alleviate the pain.

          For the tongue, it doesn’t sound pathological, since there are no symptoms troubling you. May be a physical exam is necessary to reveal details.

  3. Clarissa

    I have a BIG problem. I have an yeast infection for a few years now. I’ve been to more than one doctor and they always prescribed antifungal pills (Fluconozole 150 mg x2), never more. The problem is that I’ve taken these pills and dosage since the first onset of symptoms and continually over the years and it doesn’t make the infection go away. I don’t have blisters, burning urination, but I do have this discharge that’s white and sometimes yellow or brown, (it depends) and a mild itch that only appears at the other sides of the vagina (far from the labia or vulva) and on the outside on top of my vagina as well and a prickling sensation whenever the yeast is coming out. I would have used an insert but I still have my hymen. I also have a mild case of thrush. Lately, I’ve been having acid reflux as well as colon problems and I am just so scared. Please is there anything: Medication, tonics you can recommend. I’ve always taken yogurt as well as seven seas ‘MULTIBIONTA ACTIVATE” but nothing works. I feel so depressed and like I am going to die. Please help.

  4. Jenny

    Hey there,

    I have noticed that both of my big toes have been giving me problems as of late. I am not sure if it is a fungal infection because my toe nails are still transparent and slight pink but I’ve notice that part of the nail have become black in color and whenever I cut it off it grows back that way. My pinky toes are black too and a bit rough but solid. Also, there seems to be a horizontal ridge on the nail itself for the Big toes and they hurt without me bumping them or anything. Could you tell me what this means?

    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      It is difficult to comment without examination. Can you post a picture of your affected toe nail at our medical community.

      This could be a fungal infection. In such cases, you’ll feel the nail becoming brittle or flaky with time.

      The discoloration may be also due to cold. For this, keep the toe nails well moisturized and covered with warm socks.

      Read more on toe nail discoloration.

  5. Happiness

    Doctor please, my tongue seems to me more than my mouth and it seems to rise small maybe because of the thick mucus. What will I do so my tongue will feel OK? God bless you.

    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      Rinse your oral cavity daily after brushing your teeth at night. Use lukewarm water with a pinch of salt added to it for mouth rinsing.

      Also, you may use a tongue cleaner to gradually scrape your tongue from the upper surface.


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