What causes red spots on the roof of my mouth?

red spots on roof of mouth
Medically reviewed by Dr. Ola Tarabzuni


For many people, red spots on the palate or roof of the mouth might be frightening. Numerous reasons, such as trauma, infections, allergies, irritants, illnesses, stress, and nutritional inadequacies, might result in these patches. Trauma from hot foods or sharp objects can lead to red spots as the tissue heals. Infections, like oral herpes or fungal and bacterial infections, can also result in red spots, often accompanied by other symptoms. Allergic reactions to foods, medications, or oral care products can cause red spots and irritation from spicy or acidic foods, tobacco, or alcohol. Some medical conditions and nutritional deficiencies can also contribute to red spots on the palate. Treatment and prevention depend on the underlying cause, but maintaining good oral hygiene, avoiding allergens, and managing stress can help prevent these spots. If red spots persist or are accompanied by other symptoms, seeking medical advice for proper diagnosis and treatment is essential.

What does an infection on the roof of the mouth look like?

An infection on the roof of the mouth can present in various ways, depending on the underlying cause. Common signs of an infection may include:

Red spots or patches

Red dots or patches in the roof of the mouth indicate inflammation and increased blood flow to the affected area. Infections can trigger this immune response, causing the skin or mucous membranes to become red and inflamed. The redness is often accompanied by spots or patches, which may vary in size and distribution depending on the underlying cause. These spots or patches are visible indicators of the infection, helping to identify and diagnose the condition.

Pain or discomfort

Infections often trigger pain or discomfort due to inflammation and tissue irritation, exacerbated by movements like eating or drinking that agitate the affected area.


Infections prompt the body’s immune response, increasing blood flow and fluid accumulation in the affected area, resulting in swelling and tenderness upon touch.

White patches or lesions

Certain infections, such as oral thrush caused by Candida fungus overgrowth, result in white patches or lesions on the mouth’s mucous membranes due to the accumulation of infected cells or fungal colonies.

Blisters or sores

Infections like oral herpes, caused by the herpes simplex virus, lead to the development of fluid-filled blisters or painful sores on the palate or other oral mucous membranes as the virus replicates and damages epithelial cells.

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Difficulty swallowing

Severe infections can cause swelling and inflammation in the throat, making swallowing difficult or uncomfortable. The sensation of something stuck in the throat may occur due to swollen tissues or the presence of inflamed lymph nodes.

Why do I have red spots on the roof of my mouth?

You undoubtedly have doubts and worries about your dental health if you have red spots on the roof of your mouth. Red patches and petechia can occur for a variety of reasons. While some may be minor annoyances, others might indicate more significant health problems that need to be seen by a dentist for evaluation and treatment. We’ll list some of the likely culprits to help you pinpoint the source of your spots, determine the best course of action, and get back on the road to dental health that will make you smile.

Infectious cause

The mouth is exposed to numerous infectious causes of red spots in the mouth since it serves as the body’s first line of defense against various pathogens and poisonous chemicals.


Red spots in the roof of the mouth, especially on the soft or hard palate, can be caused by various bacterial illnesses. For instance, a type of bacterium known as streptococci, or strep, can cause fever, sore throats, and little, painless red spots in the mouth, in addition to other symptoms.

Cold sores

Herpes simplex virus-related skin lesions (HSV). They are incredibly prevalent.

Herpetic stomatitis

Herpetic stomatitis is A viral mouth infection resulting in fever and red, inflamed gums. Usually, this occurs in early childhood.


The measles virus, a paramyxovirus, can produce groups of little red bumps and dots in the mouth. They are known as “koplik spots” and are frequently painless.


Certain fungi, like candida, are more likely to infect warm, moist body parts, like the mouth. Fungi-induced spots might be creamy and white or red and spotty.


Hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) is a viral infection common in children under 5 but can also affect older kids and adults. It typically starts with a fever followed by painful mouth sores known as herpangina. These sores begin as small red spots and can blister, causing discomfort. HFMD also causes a rash on the hands, feet, and sometimes other areas like knees, elbows, and genitals. Most cases are mild, with some people showing no symptoms.

Autoimmune causes

Numerous inflammatory disorders that cause the body to attack itself can also harm the mouth, resulting in inflammation and damage that can lead to sores or red areas.

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The mouth is frequently affected by the symptoms of systemic autoimmune diseases, like lupus and inflammatory bowel disease, which impact various body areas.


Chronic, inflammatory rashes or lesions that favor the body’s mucosal linings, especially the mouth, can result from various dermatological disorders. Red spots in the mouth can be caused by conditions like lichen planus, which are hard to cure.

Environmental causes

Specific exposures and lifestyle choices may be connected to environmental causes.


Food and beverages that can trigger allergic responses and result in red lesions in the mouth come into direct contact with the mouth. Spicy or acidic foods like oranges, eggs, strawberries, and even chocolate appear to be prevalent allergies or irritants. However, diets lacking some nutrients, such as iron, folate, or vitamin B12, can also cause mouth sores or red spots.

Drug use

Both alcohol and tobacco usage can seriously irritate the oral cavity’s structures, cause a rash on the roof of the mouth, and potentially increase the risk of various cancers. In actuality, there is a strong link between tobacco products and mouth cancer. Due to their long-term irritation, alcohol and tobacco use can lead to an overabundance of cell development in the mucosal lining of the mouth, which can produce painful sores. Chemotherapy also has the side effect of mouth sores.


Red spots or ulcers in the mouth can also be strongly triggered by mental stress and fatigue. If, during stressful moments, you notice spots developing on your tongue, take note.


Another name for acute lymphoblastic leukemia is acute lymphocytic leukemia or ALL. This type of cancer comes in the bone marrow, which is the site of the formation of new lymphocytes, or white blood cells.

Radiation therapy for cancer and Chemotherapy can result in mouth sores as a side effect. It can result in painful sores, red spots, a burning sensation in the mouth, and difficulties or pain when swallowing.

How do I get rid of red spots on the roof of my mouth?

Get rid of mouth sores naturally

In one to two weeks, minor mouth sores usually heal independently. A few easy at-home cures ease the discomfort and hasten the healing process. You might wish to:

  • Eat less of anything hot, spicy, salty, citrus-based, or heavy in sugar.
  • Use salt water to gargle
  • Steer clear of alcohol and smoke.
  • Consume cold items such as sherbet, ice pops, and ice.
  • Do not pick or squeeze the blisters or sores.
  • Use an analgesic, like Tylenol (acetaminophen)
  • Gently dab a solution of one part water and one part hydrogen peroxide with a thin paste of baking soda and water.

Find out from your pharmacist about any additional OTC drugs, pastes, or mouthwashes that might be beneficial.

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Mouth sore medications


Your doctor will prescribe an antibiotic if you have a bacterial infection. They recommend an antifungal if they find that you have a fungal infection. Antibiotics won’t be administered if you have a viral infection because viruses don’t react to them.

Anti-inflammatory medications

To lessen inflammation throughout your body, you could be prescribed steroids and certain anti-inflammatory drugs if you have an autoimmune disease.

Diet counseling

Your doctor might advise you to begin a specific nutrition program to address your symptoms, as diet plays a crucial role in the pathophysiology of oral disorders.

How long do red spots in the mouth last?

The duration of red spots in the mouth can vary depending on the underlying cause and individual factors. 

  • Mouth sores, which include canker sores, are usually a minor irritation and last only 1 or 2 weeks. 
  • Red spots caused by minor trauma or irritation may resolve independently within a few days to a week as the tissue heals. 
  • If the red spots are due to an infection, allergic reaction, or underlying medical condition, they may persist until the underlying issue is treated. Infections like oral herpes or oral thrush can last for many days to a few weeks, depending on the effectiveness and severity of treatment. 
  • Allergic reactions may resolve quickly once the allergen is removed, but it can vary from person to person.

Consult a doctor

Pain on the roof of your mouth occasionally requires medical attention. Seek medical assistance if you encounter: 

  • Severe, ongoing, or getting worse pain 
  • Infection symptoms, such as pain accompanied by fever, edema, or pus 
  • Oral trauma that results in significant bleeding or infection 
  • 103°F or higher fever that doesn’t go down or doesn’t respond to cooling techniques, such as taking over-the-counter medications to lower your body temperature 
  • Irritated palates that cause difficulty breathing and swallowing food or liquids 
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FAQs about red spots on the roof of the mouth

What is a red spot in the mouth without pain?

A red spot in the mouth without pain could be a benign condition such as a minor injury, irritation, or a harmless oral lesion. A lesion, or damaged or diseased tissue region, in the mouth is called erythroplakia. It is crimson in hue and velvety. This lesion might not hurt, so you might only notice it when you look into your mouth. Alternatively, it might be asymptomatic.

Can you have red spots on the throat without strep?

Yes, red spots on the throat can occur without strep throat. Viral infections like the common cold or flu, allergies, irritants, or other bacterial infections may cause them. 

Why do I keep getting sore spots on the roof of my mouth?

Many different things might cause red spots or bumps on the roof of the mouth. Food irritation, oral or throat infections, and dentures are common reasons. Though they can be bothersome, red patches on the roof of the mouth are primarily benign and will go away on their own. Consult to get a diagnosis.

Your Doctors Online uses high-quality and trustworthy sources to ensure content accuracy and reliability. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and medical associations to provide up-to-date and evidence-based information to the users.

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