Mouth sores and inflammation are common problems that develop inside and outside of the mouth. When this happens, the mouth lining can become red and swollen, or painful ulcers may develop.
Viral and bacterial infections can cause mouth sores. Irritating food, chemicals, and tobacco can also be the cause of these painful sores. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy can trigger mouth sores, as can diseases like diabetes or HIV which upset the immune system.
In general, because the normal flow of saliva helps protect the lining of the mouth, any condition that decreases saliva production makes mouth sores more likely.
Fever blisters and cold sores are painful sores and blisters on the mouth or lips. These are caused by a herpes virus, and are extremely contagious – so protect yourself and others by not kissing when you have a mouth sore. Unfortunately, once you get a fever blister, you’ve got the virus – so there is a very good chance you will get the sores again.
Canker sores can appear inside the mouth, on the lips, cheeks or in the throat. There may be just one sore or a cluster of red and swollen sores that become yellow or white-colored. A virus, stress, and hormonal changes can cause canker sores. Canker sores are not contagious — but they are more common among women than men.
An abscess is an infection between gums and teeth, or inside a tooth. It develops when bacteria infects the area, causing pus, throbbing, and painful swelling.
A yeast infection called thrush can develop inside the mouth. This infection causes white patches on the tongue or gums, can spread all over the mouth – and may bleed. You are more at risk for this infection if your immune system is suppressed because of diabetes, HIV or other conditions, or if you are taking antibiotics. Infants and the elderly are more likely to develop thrush because of a weak immune system.
Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is a serious dental problem that can cause a severe infection called periodontitis. The result can be tooth decay, tooth loss and damage to bone surrounding teeth. Gum disease also increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, and premature birth.
Geographic tongue is an irregular pattern of inflammation that is similar to a map. The pattern may change frequently, be painful and cause swollen red sores. It’s thought that a vitamin B deficiency may cause this disorder. Alcohol and spicy or hot foods may irritate the tongue, causing this mouth disorder.
Tongue fissures are deep grooves that can trap food particles, causing discomfort. Doctors don’t know exactly what causes these fissures (they may be genetic). Tongue fissures tend to get worse with age. Carefully brushing the tongue to eliminate food particles will help manage tongue fissures.
To find out more about our Mouth Pain-Sores-Lesions service, visit Dr. Schneiderman’s office located at 215 Union Avenue – Suite C, Bridgewater, NJ 08807, or book an appointment by calling us at (908) 725-5050.