What Causes a Single Red Dot on Lip?

Do you have a red dot on your lip that won’t go away? If so, it can be caused by a variety of things, most of which aren’t life-threatening.

From oral cancer to an allergic reaction, there are many possibilities for why you’re experiencing this symptom.

In some cases, the dot can be irritated, while in other cases, it might be hardly noticeable.

Understanding the various causes of this symptom can help you determine whether, in fact, it’s harmless or something serious.

In this article, we’ll explore all of the possibilities to help you determine what’s causing your symptom.

What Causes a Red Dot on Lip?

No single lip dot is the same. They can range in size and texture, and can be traced back to the following chronic conditions:

  • Bacterial infections
  • Allergic reactions
  • Hand, foot, and mouth disease
  • Oral cancer
  • Perioral dermatitis

In many instances, it’s simply a result of you biting your lip and not remembering it. Only in very serious and rare cases will a single red dot be the result of cancer.

If you’ve got one on your lip now, there’s no need to panic. If you’re really worried, and it’s distracting you from everyday life, see a dermatologist to rule out something serious.

Bottom Line: Anything from oral cancer to bacterial infections can cause red spots to appear on your lips. Lip biting is usually the most common cause.

When Should You See a Doctor?


If you’ve got a this symptom, this isn’t an automatic sign to go see a doctor. You don’t want to waste time and money on something that’s most likely harmless.

With that being said, there are some additional symptoms to look out for:

  • Your lips are becoming swollen
  • A rash has broken out on your lips
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Bleeding from the lips or mouth that won’t stop
  • The dot is painful
  • The dot bleeds
  • The dot becomes larger or worsens over time
  • Your jaw is swelling
  • Numbness in tongue

Are you experiencing any of these symptoms? If so, it might be time to see a doctor or dentist. Keep in mind that oral cancer is rare.

It makes up only about 2% of all diagnosed cancers. That should give you some peace of mind knowing that it’s probably not life-threatening.

With that said, there’s no way to know for sure until you’ve been looked at by a doctor.

Bottom Line: A dot in itself isn’t anything serious. But if it becomes painful or bleeds, or causes jaw swelling, go see a doctor.

How is a Red Dot on Lip Diagnosed?

Red Dot on Lip

First and foremost, your doctor will examine your medical history. They’ll most likely ask you if you do things like smoke, take medications, or get excess sun.

From here, a physical examination will follow. If your dot is the only symptom that you’re experiencing, they may recommend further testing.

These include a blood test, a biopsy, or x-ray imaging. If you end up having something like oral herpes, then most doctors will be able to diagnose this just by looking at it.

Bottom Line: In most cases, a doctor will be able to tell what it is just by looking at it.


How will a doctor treat a red dot on lip? In most cases, this symptom is totally benign and means nothing.

But in other cases, your doctor may prescribe anti-viral or anti-fungal medication.

If your symptom is being caused by an allergic reaction, then you may receive antihistamine medication to help reduce your body’s natural inflammatory response.

While conditions like oral herpes and canker sores have the potential to be treated, there’s a possibility that they’ll come back.

In the rare event that it is cancer, surgery will be required to remove the cancerous tissue.

Bottom Line: Antihistamine, anti-fungal, or anti-viral medications are potential treatment options depending on the cause.

Home Remedies

What are some home remedies that you can try for treating this symptom? The first thing we recommend is maintaining good oral hygiene.

Brush your teeth a minimum of twice per day and floss at least once per day. This is because your dot might be caused by bacteria.

Also, pay attention throughout the day and see if you’re biting your lip.

Most people don’t realize that they’re doing this and it can end up breaking a blood vessel in the lip, causing a red dot to appear. You might even be doing this while you sleep!

Bottom Line: Throughout the day, pay attention to your body. Are you biting your lips? If so, this could be the cause.


The odds are in your favor that a single red dot on lip, without any other symptoms, is nothing serious.

As we mentioned, it’s very possible that you simply bit your lip and the red that you’re seeing is the broken blood vessel underneath.

If your symptom is associated with other ones like pain, burning, or bleeding, then it could be something more serious and you’ll want to contact your doctor in this case.

Ask a Question: If you want to ask a medical doctor a question that hasn't been answered in one of our articles go to: Ask a Medical Doctor About your Symptoms

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