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Mouth Sores: Everything You Need to Know

ManipalHospitals • August 28, 20190 Comment

Mouth sores are the small painful lesions that are developed in the mouth which cause difficulty in swallowing. These can occur anywhere inside the mouth i.e. on lips, tongue, the lining of the mouth or inner cheeks. The impaired immune system can be the underlying cause to develop mouth ulcers. Mouth sores begin in the form of blisters and are usually uncomfortable. These are painful and cause a burning sensation while consuming food, drinking, brushing the teeth and talking. Badly- fitted dental braces and dentures can annoy the situation while suffering from mouth sores.

Mouth sores are the painful blisters that usually last for a week or two and are generally cured by their own. Mouth ulcers can be recurrent based on the underlying condition or family history. Mouth sores are accompanied by intolerable pain and formation of red or white-colored blisters inside the mouth. Mouth sores are very sensitive which cause severe pain and burning sensation when an external object or food particle gets in contact with the ulcer.

Signs and symptoms


The signs and symptoms of mouth sores include:

1. Difficulty while eating

2. Painful ulcers

3. Swollen lymph glands

4. Burning sensation inside the mouth

5. Bleeding gums

6. Fever

7. Tooth abscess

8. Difficulty in speaking

9. Intolerable pain in swallowing

Causes


A wide variety of reasons can be the cause for the occurrence of mouth sores. Changes in the immune status of an individual and gastro-intestinal disease can be the underlying cause of mouth sores. Below mentioned are the few causes that lead to the development of mouth sores:

1. Certain foods: Consuming acidic (especially citrus juices and fruits) and spicy foods can irritate and trigger mouth sores.

2. Hormonal Changes: Hormonal changes that occur during the onset of puberty and during the menstrual cycle can trigger mouth sores. Individuals undergoing stress are susceptible to mouth ulcers.

3. Allergies: Mouth sores can be caused due to the attack of cold and flu viruses due to the low immunity.

4. Tobacco: Continuous smoking and chewing tobacco can cause mouth ulcers and sores on gums. Exposure of the sores to toxins and carcinogens in tobacco products increase the pain and acidity in the mouth.

5. Nutritional deficiencies: Mouth sores can be caused due to the deficiency of iron, zinc, vitamin B-12 and folic acid.

6. Improper dental care: Poor dental hygiene can develop unwanted bacteria in the mouth which in turn lead to the development of mouth ulcers. Unhygienic use of dental appliances, improper fitting of dental braces and rough fillings of the teeth can pave the way for the development of mouth sores.

Risk factors


1. Individuals undergoing stress and anxiety are prone to mouth sores

2. Women are easily affected by mouth ulcers during the menstrual cycle.

3. Certain allergies and gastro-intestinal disorders can trigger the development of mouth sores.

4. Individuals suffering from immune suppressive conditions like HIV and cancer can easily develop mouth sores.

Complications


Most of the time sores can be treated effectively, while some of them may lead to oral cancer. Prolonged healing may increase the chances of developing tooth abscesses. If mouth sores exist for a longer period of time, they can cause bacterial infections. Untreated mouth sores can lead to inflammation in the mouth.

Diagnosis


The doctor identifies the presence of mouth sores by conducting a physical examination. Early diagnosis can prevent the spread of mouth sores. The doctor identifies all possible reasons for the occurrence of mouth sores such as foods consumed, chewing tobacco, existing infections, etc. If the sores are persistent for a longer period of time, the doctor may suggest blood tests.

Treatment


The doctor advises the use of pain-relieving gels or creams until the mouth sores are healed. Steroid medications are given for painful and persistent sores. An anti-microbial mouthwash helps in healing and preventing the spread of infection. Various therapeutic agents used in the treatment of mouth sores can be localized corticosteroids and antimicrobial agents.

Self-management


1. Avoid eating spicy and acidic food until the mouth sores are healed.

2. Do not consume hot drinks and foods that increase pain while chewing.

3. Avoid using hard and rough toothbrushes while brushing the teeth.

4. Do not use the toothpaste that contains sodium lauryl sulfate.

5. Do not use chewing gum as it can induce pain and spread the ulcers.

6. Avoid the consumption of acidic foods that can worsen the condition.

7. Do not pinch or prick the blisters over the tongue as it can prolong healing.

8. Avoid the use of alcoholic beverages and chewing tobacco while suffering from mouth sores.

9. Clean the dentures regularly to avoid the spread of sores.

Suffering from Mouth Sores?

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