Dental Tips Blog


Dealing With Mouth Sores

Posted in Oral Cancer

If you have a sore in your mouth you are probably wondering what it is, when it will go away, and what to do about it.  This article will discuss some common strategies for dealing with mouth sores, and offer advice as to when you should see a dentist about any sore or lesion in your mouth.

There are several different types of mouth sores, but they are almost all from three major issues.  The most common reason we get sores in our mouth include infections of any sort.  Other issues include irritation to the lining of the cheek, gum line or tongue.  Finally, mouth sores may be an indicator of another disease and can be a warning sign of oral cancer.

If you have a small mouth sore, you may find rinsing your mouth with lukewarm water helps with the discomfort.  Maintaining your regular oral care is especially important during this time.  Continuing to brush twice daily, flossing daily and eating a well-balanced diet are incredibly important during this time.

If you have several sores, and find you are unable to eat or swallow, you should be evaluated immediately by your dentist.  Sores that make it difficult to swallow may eventually compromise your ability to breathe well and you want to have this taken care of right away.

If the sore in your mouth has been there longer than a week, you should have it evaluated by your dentist.  Your dentist will be able to accurately diagnose the reason for the sores, and also be able to provide treatment that will help the sores heal promptly.


Mouth Sores

Mouth sores can be caused from many different things.  Often, these sores are a result of inadvertently biting your cheek or tongue or having a minor infection that will resolve on its own.

Other times, though, mouth sores are not quite as simple. Mouth sores can be caused from infections, viruses, or irritation. Only a comprehensive exam and diagnosis by your dentist can determine the cause of your mouth sores.

The two most common causes of mouth sores include canker and cold sores. The exact cause of canker sores is unknown, while cold sores are a virus that is part of the herpes simplex family.  Canker sores usually resolve on their own within one to two weeks, but can become so severe that it is difficult to eat or drink.  If you develop a canker sore that is accompanied by a fever, or if you have problems swallowing, you should be immediately seen by your dentist.

Cold sores are blisters that form in the mouth as a result of exposure from the herpes simplex virus. These blisters (sometimes called fever blisters or fever sores) respond well to medication.  Almost all adults have had at least one cold sore in their lifetime. Your dentist can prescribe medications to help prevent and speed the healing process of cold sores.

While waiting for your appointment, you should limit irritating foods. Many people find that acidic foods are very irritating when you have a mouth sore. You can also rinse with a mild antiseptic solution to help relieve pain.

Mouth sores that last more than a week should be evaluated by your dentist.  If you have a mouth sore that has been lingering, you should make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible.

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