Having red bumps on your tongue can be worrying, especially if you’ve never seen them before. Various things can cause them, and the appropriate treatment varies.
In this article, we’ll look at what can cause red bumps on the tongue and how you can treat them properly.

Red Bumps On Tongue: Why Do They Happen?

The tongue is a fleshy, muscular organ with a top surface covered in thousands of little bumps called papillae. These papillae give the tongue its texture, which comes in handy when it’s doing its job of breaking down food in your mouth. They also contain receptors for touch, texture, and taste, sending signals to the brain to help you eat, chew, and enjoy your food.

Sometimes, though, these bumps can become inflamed and red, standing out from the rest of the tongue. These are lie bumps, which can be itchy, painful, or sensitive. Commonly, they happen because of an accidental bite or cut to the tongue, although they also happen due to stress, poor nutrition, and viral infection. The good news is that they usually heal in a week or two.

Occasionally, eating very hot food can burn your tongue, and this can cause blisters on the tongue, which can be extremely painful and red. These, too, will heal on their own, but it’s important to keep them protected and keep the skin on them from breaking.

Finally, another cause for red bumps on the tongue is canker sores. They’re very common and can appear red, white, or yellow. Canker sores can appear anywhere inside the mouth and can be caused by stress, accidental trauma, or infection.

Treating any bumps on the tongue usually involves protecting the area from further irritation until it can heal on its own. Below, we’ve listed a few ways you can do just that.

How To Properly Treat Red Bumps On Tongue

There are a few things you can do to treat and soothe red bumps on the tongue:

  • Maintain good oral hygiene. Even if it may be painful to chew or eat, it’s important to brush your teeth and keep your mouth clean. This lowers the risk of infection and keeps oral bacteria under control.
  • Avoid spicy foods. These can irritate your tongue and cause pain receptors to fire long after you’ve eaten. Similarly, avoid acidic foods that can aggravate the bumps or sores.
  • Use numbing gel or mouthwash. Orajel, available at any pharmacy, is a numbing anesthetic gel that you can apply to numb the pain from the bumps. It can help soothe the area at particular times that it may be bothering you, such as when you’re eating or going to sleep.
  • Rinse with salt water. Mix a small pinch of salt with warm water and rinse your mouth with it. It helps keep your mouth clean and keeps bacteria under control. It can also help reduce swelling and inflammation.


Generally, keeping your mouth clean and avoiding irritating foods and beverages can help prevent bumps from occurring and let existing bumps heal. However, if your symptoms don’t subside or even get worse, it’s a good idea to visit a dental professional.

This post is brought to you by Dr. Vesna Arezina, DDS, your best family dentist in Houston, TX. With over 20 years of experience, Dr. Arezina prides herself on providing exceptional service, performing general, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry procedures. The clinic also provides emergency dental care and is bilingual to serve all members of our community with comfort and care. We’ll be happy to see you! For any questions or to schedule an appointment, please call us at (281) 469-7469.

Skip to content