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Mouth sores and treatment options

Dental health is not always about just our teeth. A mouth sore can be painful, uncomfortable, and unattractive. Mouth sores can appear inside the mouth on the gums, tongue, lips, cheeks or the roof of your mouth. Also, cold sores can appear outside of the mouth, like on or near lips, underneath your nose or on the chin.

There are a number of possible causes for mouth sores, including:

  • Irritations, such as dentures or wires from braces rubbing up against the inside of the mouth

  • Mouth sensitivity to ingredients in toothpaste and other oral care products

  • Medication reactions

  • Skin, oral or systemic diseases

  • Bacterial, viral or fungal infections

  • Oral cancer

The most common type of mouth sores are canker sores, cold sores, leukoplakia, and thrush. We’ve briefly described each with related treatment options below:

  • Canker sores: Appear inside of the mouth and usually consist of small ulcers that have a white, yellow or grey center and a flat red border. While many canker sores are painful, they usually go away on their own within seven to 10 days. The cause for canker sores has widely been speculated on. According to the American Dental Association, canker sores may be caused by fatigue, emotional stress, and certain foods.

  • Cold sores: Appear around or on the lips and look like fluid-filled blisters. Cold sores are caused by herpes virus Type 1 and Type 2 and are contagious. These can be painful and unattractive. There are over-the-counter topical agents that can be used to counteract the effects of cold sores.

  • Leukoplakia: Usually developing inside the mouth as a white or grey colored patch, leukoplakia is caused by excess cell growth of the lining of the mouth. Oftentimes, leukoplakia has been linked with cigarette smoking and chewing tobacco. It is also associated with cheek biting, irregular sized dental restorations and broken teeth. While leukoplakia is usually harmless, removing the cause of irritation is the best treatment option. This may involve visiting our dentistry to ensure that your dental appliances are repaired properly or so that we may best assess the cause.

  • Thrush: Thrush is also known as candidiasis. This is actually a fungal infection that produces creamy white and red patches on the surfaces of a person’s mouth. Oral fungal infections occur when the yeast, Candida albicans, reproduces in higher than normal numbers. Thrush frequently occurs in those who are debilitated by disease, like diabetes and AIDS. Treatment for thrush consists of controlling the conditions that caused the outbreak. Since thrush is also in common with people who wear dentures, one way to treat it would be to clean the dentures properly to remove the Candida and therefor prevent more denture-induced problems.

In all cases of mouth sores, good oral hygiene is critical. Scheduling regular dental checkups at our dentistry in Fort Myers and making an appointment if your mouth sores persist for more than two weeks will help determine the cause.

We care about your daily oral health routine and look forward to continuing to serve you! For more information or to schedule an appointment with us, please visit our website at or call (239) 936-0597.

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