Bruising on the Top of the Mouth: What Causes Palatal Petechiae?

Palatal petechiae are small, round spots that appear on the roof of your mouth (the palate). These spots are actually tiny bruises and can be caused by different factors. Common causes include infections, injuries, certain medical conditions, and even physical actions like oral sex. It’s important to know what might be causing these spots so you can take the right steps to address the problem.

What is Palatal Petechiae?

Palatal petechiae are small red or purple dots that can show up on the top of your mouth. They might look alarming, but often they are harmless. However, sometimes they can be a sign of something more serious going on in your body.

Bruising on the Top of the Mouth: What Causes Palatal Petechiae?

What Causes Palatal Petechiae?

Let’s break down what could be causing these spots and what you might need to do about them.

Oral Sex

One possible cause of palatal petechiae is engaging in oral sex. According to various health professionals, the act of oral sex can sometimes create suction or cause friction that may lead to these tiny bruises on the roof of the mouth. It is considered a physical cause rather than an underlying medical issue.

If this is the reason for the palatal petechiae, they generally heal on their own with time. However, if you experience persistent or recurring palatal petechiae or if you are concerned about them for any reason, it’s always wise to consult with a healthcare provider.

Viral Infections

If you’ve ever had a cold or flu, you might have noticed these spots in your mouth. According to some medical experts, viruses can cause inflammation in the mouth, and this can lead to palatal petechiae. Common viral infections include:

  • Mononucleosis
  • Influenza
  • Herpes
  • COVID-19

Treatment usually involves taking care of the underlying infection with rest, fluids, and over-the-counter medications.

Bacterial Infections

Bacteria can also cause these tiny bruises. For instance, strep throat is a well-known cause of palatal petechiae. If you have strep throat, you’ll likely need antibiotics to clear the infection.


Sometimes, these spots can appear if you’ve hurt the roof of your mouth. Eating hard or crunchy foods or even brushing your teeth too hard can cause these tiny bruises. In this case, they usually go away on their own without any special treatment.

Medical Conditions

Certain medical conditions can also cause palatal petechiae. Here are some examples:

  • Allergies
  • Blood disorders like leukemia
  • Vitamin deficiencies

For these, you’ll need to see a healthcare provider who can figure out what’s going on and help you with the right treatment.

How is Palatal Petechiae Diagnosed?

If you notice these spots and they don’t go away, or if you’re worried about them, you should talk to a healthcare provider like a dentist. They can look in your mouth and ask you about other symptoms to figure out what’s causing the spots. They might also need to do some blood tests or other tests to get to the bottom of what’s going on.

What to Do if You Have Palatal Petechiae

If you notice these spots and you think you know what’s causing them (like a cold or eating something hard), you can usually wait and see if they go away on their own. If they don’t go away, or if you’re worried, you should definitely talk to a healthcare provider. They can help you figure out what’s going on and what you need to do to take care of yourself.

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