What Causes Red Spots on the Tongue?

Someone with red spots on their tongue may be suffering from geographic tongue, according to Mayo Clinic. Other causes of red spots on the tongue include folic acid and vitamin B-12 deficiencies and scarlet fever, WebMD states.

Individuals who have red spots on their tongue may be experiencing:

  • The tongue turning red is a symptom of a folic acid and/or vitamin B-12 deficiency.
  • Scarlet fever causes the tongue to take on a strawberry appearance. This means the patient may experience red spots. This condition usually occurs in children aged between two and 10, but can arise at other ages as well in some cases. It is usually accompanied by a fever, and parents who suspect their child has the condition should contact their doctor to determine whether the treatment requires antibiotics.
  • Geographic tongue is a condition that causes small red islands with borders to appear on the tongue. This gives the tongue a map-like appearance. It is often the case that once the lesions heal on one area of the tongue, they move to another. Geographic tongue is a harmless condition and is not linked with cancer or an infection. Some patients may experience discomfort, and become more sensitive to certain foods.