Causes, treatment, and prevention of mouth sores
Mouth sores are a common illness that cause minor irritations or ailments for many people. They are generally painful and can appear anywhere inside your mouth and also on your lips. They cause redness and can cause a burning or tingling sensation around the sore. The bigger the sore the difficult it can be to consume food.
In this blog, I explore some of the causes, treatments and preventions of mouth sores.
1. Causes of developing mouth sores
There are many factors that trigger mouth sores. Usually you may get sores in the mouth if you bite your lip or cheek or tongue over and over again, burn your mouth while eating very hot food, start wearing new braces, use a hard toothbrush or brush too much, or have the herpes simplex virus.
2. Common types of mouth sores
The following are some commonly found types of sores that I often see in my patients:
Cold sores These sores are caused by Herpes Simplex; a common virus. They appear on corners of lips and will tingle or burn before the sore is visible. They are contagious and may spread by kissing, or sharing cosmetics. There is no sure treatment but oral antibiotics and a lip balm containing lemon extract may help, and there are plenty of over the counter remedies available.
Canker sores The canker sore or Aphtouse ulcer is a painful and very common mouth sore, appearing inside lips and cheeks. This type of sore is usually oval shaped yellow or white ulcers surrounded by a red border. It gives a tingling sensation in the mouth and may be accompanied by mild fever and swollen lymph nodes making you feel unwell. I recommend using an anti-microbial mouthwash to lessen the pain. The causes are not known but it is believed that stress of hormonal changes during menstruation may cause canker sores.
Gingivomatitis This is a common infection often found in children. It makes tender sores on the inside of the cheeks and gums; they look grey or yellow on the border with a red centre. It may cause mild fever or flu. It causes drooling and pain while eating, in young children. To relieve symptoms, I recommend you rinse your mouth with a medicated solution or salt water and avoid spicy foods.
Oral Thrush This is an infection that develops in the mouth and tongue. It is characterised by cream or white bumps on the gums, tongue, inner cheeks or even tonsils that can be scraped off. They are painful and create difficulty in swallowing. Sometimes the skin at the corner of mouth become dry and scaly. It is caused by yeast infection.
Leukoplakia Leukoplakia is characterised by thick patches on the tongue and the lining of the mouth which are white, hard, and raised, and have a hairy appearance. It usually occurs in smokers but is harmless. The condition goes away on its own, but during the illness, the regular dental care routine is a must.
Oral Lichen Planus This is an itchy skin rash disorder, which affects cheeks, gums lips and tongue. The mucous membrane of the mouth is affected by this disorder, in which the patient has inflamed tissues, white patches and open red sores. There is no consensus on the causes of this disorder but there are certain triggers that can bring it on including auto immune disease, an injury in the mouth or having an oral infection. This disorder can be managed, but cannot be cured. The treatment will involve minimising the lesions and resolving symptoms.