Mouth sores are common ailments that can appear on any of the soft tissues of the mouth. They are usually a minor irritation and can appear at any stage of life and affect lips, gums, cheeks, tongue, and roof and floor of the mouth. In some cases, mouth sores may also develop on the oesophagus, the tube which leads to the stomach.
In most cases, mouth sores last only a week or two but if they went beyond that, there might be some other serious problems like mouth cancer or herpes simplex, a virus infection. Causes of mouth sores are many but, in most cases, mild irritation can be the reason behind their appearance.
There will be some pain with these sores and everyday activities like brushing the teeth or eating hot food may also turn difficult. More sores can also be caused due to some underlying health issues and it’s always better to see a doctor for treatment and consultation.
Causes of Mouth Sores
- Irritation is always the major cause of most mouth sores
- The mouth can get irritated by many things leading to sores
- Poorly fitting dentures can also cause irritation to the mouth and lead to sores
- Broken tooth, braces or other devices may also lead to mouth sores
- Use of tobacco products may also cause sores of the mouth
- Mouth sores may develop due to certain medications
- Consuming highly acidic foods can also be a cause of mouth sores
- Stress and hormonal change during pregnancy may also lead to mouth sores
- Deficiencies of vitamin and folate may also cause sores of the mouth
- White and red patches in the mouth may also appear due to a fungal infection known as candidiasis or oral thrush
- Herpes simplex (a viral infection) and Lichen planus (a chronic condition) may also cause itch or rash on the mouth
- Chronic canker sores and Gingivostomatitis (similar to canker sores) may also cause mouth sores
- Leukoplakia, Autoimmune diseases, and Erythroplakia are some of the other medical conditions that may cause mouth sores
- And lastly, oral cancer may also cause sores in the mouth
Diagnosis of Mouth Sores
In most cases, the cause of mouth sore is easy to know and the person who is affected by it can know it all by themselves. The re-appearance of canker sore means the person will recognize how it happened the second time and so on. When mouth sores happen due to biting of the check, it will always be easy to know their cause. Similarly, symptoms are easy to recognize for people with diagnose conditions and then plan for treatment at home itself.
In cases where the mouth sores are of a recurrent type or of unexplained variety, the doctor may carry out a visual check to identify the cause of the sores. There will be some tests such as blood tests and swabs test done as well. In case the doctor suspects the sore is due to some serious illness, he/she will do a biopsy of the area to check the presence of cancer or other health issues.
Treatment of Mouth Sores
Most of the time, no treatment is required at all for mouth sores. When sores happen due to minor injuries, they typically take one to two weeks to clear. People can try gargling with saltwater while their sores heal or can avoid hot and spicy foods during those times.
For mouth sores, it’s also advisable to stay away from tobacco products and avoid alcohol. It’s also good to avoid citrus fruits or salty foods else they may cause sores to sting. You can use mouthwash and take oral pain relievers as well. You can also apply baking soda and water to the spot.
In cases mouth sores don’t go away with home remedies, it’s always better to consult a doctor and explore other treatment options. The doctor may advise pain-relieving medications or stronger anti-inflammatory medications. He/she will develop a plan of the sore is caused by some underlying medical conditions.
Prevention of Mouth Sores
- Avoid hot foods and beverages to prevent mouth sores
- You should chew slowly and carefully to prevent mouth sores
- Take good care of your oral hygiene and be regular with it
- Don’t take the stress and it may lead to sores
- Stay away from tobacco products in any form, be it smoking or chewing
- Limit or totally avoid the intake of alcohol
- Drink lots of water through the day
- Consult a dentist if the mouth sores are caused by a dental device
- Consult a dentist or doctor if the mouth sore does not go away or get worse over time
- See a doctor if there are white patches on the sores or if there is a sign of infection
Clearly, prevention is better than cure and in case you have mouth sores that don’t go away within a week or two, consult the doctor immediately.