Several types of mouth sores can develop in or around the mouth. Some may vary in the degree of pain and others may be a sign of a severe underling condition. If your mouth sores do not clear up within 10 days or if you experience debilitating symptoms, be sure to consult your dentist as soon as possible. If you suspect you have an infection, consult seek emergency dentist treatment immediately to prevent further complications.
See your dentist if any of the following occur:
- Fever of 38°C (100.4°F) or above
- Facial swelling
- Breathing problems
- Pain does not respond to painkillers
Some common mouth sores and infections include:
Gum disease (gingivitis)
Not following proper dental hygiene can cause bacteria to accumulate at the gum line and the region below it. These bacteria then release toxins into your gums. When your gums react to these toxins, you will experience inflammation and swelling in your gums. This is a major reason your gums sometimes bleed while you brush your teeth. Estimates show that 50 to 90 percent of adults have gingivitis, which leads to periodontal disease, if left untreated.
This is a more severe gum disease in which, the bacteria spread below the gum line and travel to the bone and supporting tissues around the tooth. This leads to a dental condition called periodontal disease. Bacteria collect around the teeth, causing inflammation and bone loss. At this point, your teeth may loosen and be susceptible to falling out. Periodontal disease is the most common cause of tooth loss in adults, occurring in 8 to 10 percent of the population.
The fungus, Candida albicans is already naturally found in small amounts in the mouth however, it can cause problematic mouth sores when it multiples. Candida causes oral thrush and factors such as undergoing chemotherapy, taking antibiotics, using asthma inhalers or having nutritional deficiencies may trigger it’s outbreak. Oral thrush is not contagious and is characterized by white plaques appearing on the tongue, the back of the mouth, the palate and the inner cheeks.
Mouth ulcers are lesions that typically develop on the gums and other tissues and can look like small blisters in the mouth. The condition is most common in children and adolescents and even though the cause of ulcers is still not clearly understood, possible triggers such as stress, hormonal changes, food hypersensitivities and immune system problems may place a role. In most cases, mouth ulcers take anywhere around 10 to 14 days to heal.
Caused by the herpes simplex virus, oral herpes is an infection that causes flu-like symptoms when the virus enters the body for the first time. Other symptoms may include ulcers and blisters in the mouth, on the gums or tongue but at times, there may not be any symptoms at all.
Once a person is infected, the virus settles permanently in the body. However, with proper care, you can ensure that the infection remains dormant for prolonged periods. Recurring outbreaks are often mild and only last for 7 to 10 days. You may notice fluid-filled blisters around the mouth (also called cold sores) that rupture and form crusts after a day or two without any further discomfort.
Can mouth sores be oral cancer?
Mouth cancer or oral cancer occurs when a tumour develops on the mouth, tongue, gums or lips. Tumours may also develop in the salivary glands, the tonsils or the pharynx — however, these are much less common. Symptoms of mouth cancer include:
- Red or white patches on the lining of the tongue or mouth
- A lump
- Ulcers or lesions
Make sure you see a dentist if these symptoms do not heal within three weeks, particularly if you are a smoker or a heavy drinker