Published: 06/20/2020

Mouth sores are very common, and may occur to everyone at some point of time in their life. These are ailments which may last for a week or two at the most and cause irritation and pain in the mouth.

Mouth sores can be of various types. They occur in the mouth at any place, i.e., tongue, inner cheeks, bottom of the mouth, roof of the mouth, gums, and lips.

Symptoms of mouth sores:

Usually mouth sores brings on pain. The area around the sores becomes red and eating or drinking cause’s pain. The sores also cause burning or tingling sensation in surrounding area. In some kinds of mouth sores, even swallowing and breathing causes pain. Sometimes these sores lead to blisters.

Mouth sores include the canker sores and the cold sores. There are many reasons for appearance of mouth sores.

The common causes for mouth sores are the following.

  • Chewing tobacco
  • Biting your lips, tongue or inner cheeks,
  • Wearing braces
  • Poorly fitted dentures
  • Accidentally broken tooth with sharp edges
  • Due to a serious health issue like tumour
  • A reaction to a medicine,
  • And virus like herpes simplex virus.
  • A weakened immune system
  • A hormonal imbalance for any reasons.

Common types of mouth sores

The very common mouth sores include:

Cold sores: These are dark pink or red blisters, filled with fluid, appearing near the mouth and lips, and are painful. The area around sore usually burns, or tingles, before the sore is visible on the surface. These sores are usually accompanied by fever, body aches and flu like symptoms.

Gingivomatitis: These are sores on the gums or insides of cheeks.  These sores are very common among children. They look yellowish-grey. Yellow on the outside with a red centre. It is usually accompanied by flu like symptoms. Any children drool a lot during this outbreak and refuse to eat because eating brings on pain.

Anemia: This kind of sores appears when the general health of the patient needs attention. Anaemic sores are not specifically located but the skin of the face appears pale and lips and gums also loose colour and appear pale and light pink. This is actually a symptom or an indication about the reduced level of red blood cells in the blood stream.

Canker sores: These are small ulcers inside the mouth which are very painful. They are oval shaped red or white or even yellow in colour. It takes about two weeks for them to heal on their own. If these sores appear very often then it may indicate other diseases in the body, like HIV or Crohn’s disease. It also can be an indication of vitamin deficiency. They are also called aphthous stomatitis or aphthous ulcers.

Oral thrush:  These are cream coloured bumps that appear on the tongue, inner cheeks, gums and tonsils. Sometimes there are cracks in skin around the corners of the mouth. The symptoms include loss of taste and difficulty in swallowing.

This condition is caused by yeast infection developing inside the mouth and tongue. It is usually common among infants and children but it happens to adults also.

Leukoplakia: These are white and hard raised patches on the tongue and the lining of our mouth. They appear hairy, and usually go away on its own in a week or two. It is more common amongst smokers and if it persists longer than two weeks than it could be an indication of other oral diseases like cancer. Good and regular dental care can prevent recurrence of these sores.

Oral lichens: These are bumpy, white and lacelike ulcers which appear like patches on inner cheeks, gums, tongue, lips and mouth look like spider webs.  This is a chronic condition and is quite painful. The patients avoid eating and drinking because it brings on pain.

Mouth cancer: this is not common kind of sores that may appear on any part of the mouth like lips, cheeks, tongue gums and teeth. The symptoms are many and include painful bleeding gums, ear pain, and swollen lymph glands.

Most of these sores are half an inch in diameter or more. If you experience these sore often then it is advisable to get an appointment with your dentist.

Treatment of mouth sores

Usually mouth sores go away in a week or two. But if they last for several weeks then visit to a doctor’s clinic is a must.

There are a few home remedies which may help contain discomfort and pain.

  • Do not consume alcohol and tobacco.
  • Salt water gargles help contain sores from spreading.
  • Avoid hot and spicy foods which may heighten the burning sensation in the mouth.
  • Avoid salty and citrus foods.
  • Eat ice and icy pops or cold foods.
  • You can take pain relief medicines. Sometimes applying a thin layer of a paste of baking soda mixed with water on blisters helps to get a cool feeling.
  • Never squeeze or pick at the sores.
  • The medical professional or dental health professional may prescribe anti-inflammatory and pain relief medicine. When the sores have developed into an infection, you may require an antibiotic medicine to contain the infection and spread of germs.

Prevention of mouth sores

  • The is no foolproof way to prevent mouth sores. But there are steps you can take to best keep them off
  • Avoid consuming very hot or very cold and very spicy foods.
  • Chew slowly to avoid biting your cheek or tongue.
  • Eat a balanced diet so as not to create any nutritional deficiency.
  • Be aware of your vitamin and minerals needs.
  • Avoid overuse of alcohol and tobacco.
  • Strict oral hygiene routine
  • Daily brush your teeth with a good quality toothbrush
  • Use chlorinated toothpaste
  • Brush your teeth after every meal if possible
  • Floss your teeth at least once a day before going to bed.
  • Use good quality prescribed mouthwash regularly.
  • Visit your dental health professional regularly.
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