Pimples on the Tongue, How to Remove Them?

To avoid having pimples on the tongue, the best measure is to practice proper oral and dental hygiene. But if they do occur, how can you remove them?
Pimples on the Tongue, How to Remove Them?
Leonardo Biolatto

Written and verified by the doctor Leonardo Biolatto.

Last update: 27 May, 2022

Having pimples on the tongue can be worrisome for those who have them. However, it’s a relatively common situation. These are small, red,or white lumps on the surface of the tongue. Although they’re not malignant, they can be painful and uncomfortable.

This condition is known as transitory lingual papillitis. In the past, people believed that pimples on the tongue appeared as a result of lying, but that’s not the case, of course. While these pimples appear quickly, they also tend to go away within a few days without treatment.

In this article we explain what tongue pimples are and how to remove them.

What are pimples on the tongue?

As we’ve already mentioned, these are small red or white bumps on the tongue. They usually disappear after a few days, but most are painful. In fact, they can cause itching and tingling as well. Tongue sores can have many causes:

  • Irritation of the tongue. This can occur when you eat very acidic or sugary foods.
  • Injuries to the tongue, such as small cuts or bites.
  • Oral herpes. The herpes virus affects a large part of the population. Sometimes it develops orally and can affect the tongue. In these cases, pimples on the tongue can remain for more than a week.
  • From sores or allergic reactions to certain foods.
  • Deficiency of certain vitamins or the use of aggressive mouthwashes.
  • Fungal infections, such as oral candidiasis.

All these are benign causes, which tend to resolve themselves. However, there are other causes that can be more serious. For example, pimples on the tongue may be due to syphilis. In this case, a small, painless sore appears.

Other causes include human papillomavirus (HPV), scarlet fever, bacterial pharyngitis, etc. It’s important to know that cancer is another possible cause, although it’s less frequent. Therefore, it’s best to go to the doctor to make the correct diagnosis.

A tongue with white spots typical of oral candidiasis.

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What can we do about pimples on the tongue?

The treatment will depend on what the cause is. However, most cases are due to aggression or irritation of the tongue and tend to disappear in about ten days without treatment.

Even so, there are a series of simple measures that can help us avoid or reduce them. Among them are the following:

  • Avoiding spicy and acidic foods. They’re aggressive to the tongue and, if you have pimples at that time, they’ll increase the itching and pain.
  • Rinsing with warm saltwater. Saltwater is usually used as a remedy to cure canker sores–small injuries that tend to appear in situations of low defenses.
  • You can also use water with baking soda. Do it on a daily basis.
  • On the contrary, you should avoid mouthwashes with alcohol. Or at least try not to use them while you have pimples on your tongue.
  • It’s very important to take care of oral hygiene. Don’t forget to brush your teeth properly, at least twice a day, and to floss. Also, use proper rinses and avoid foods that are high in sugar.
  • Stop smoking, since tobacco is very aggressive in the whole mouth area. In fact, smoking is related to tongue cancer.
A woman using mouthwash.

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When should you go to the doctor?

If you have pimples on your tongue that don’t go away after a week, or if they’re persistent and painful, it’s best to see a doctor or dentist. It could be a more resistant infection or a more complicated pathology.

The doctor will probably be able to reach a diagnosis by means of an eye exam. Even so, you’ll probably have a blood test. Another test that can help diagnose pimples on the tongue is a biopsy. This is only necessary in cases where the diagnosis is more complicated or where a more serious pathology is suspected.

In conclusion

If you have pimples on your tongue, it’s probably a temporary and benign situation. Try to avoid spicy foods and take care of your oral hygiene. If they don’t disappear after a few days, or if they look strange, you should see your doctor


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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.