Mouth Sores: When To Worry

Most people have suffered from a mouth sore at some point in their life. Typically occurring on the tongue, inside of the cheek, lips or gums, mouth sores can be very irritating and painful, especially when eating or drinking. There are a number of different types and causes, ranging from irritation from dentures or braces to a viral infection or thrush and while they often go away on their own, a mouth sore can also be a sign of oral cancer. Therefore, it is important that you never ignore a mouth sore that lasts longer than two weeks. Your dentist can accurately diagnose your specific type of mouth sore as well as offer helpful tips to alleviate the discomfort.

Here is a closer look at some common causes of mouth sores:

A broken tooth or filling, a loose orthodontic wire or ill-fitting dentures can all cause a mouth sore. In most cases, it is necessary to remove the source of irritation before healing can begin.
Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus. Unlike canker sores, cold sores are very contagious. Patients typically experience tenderness, or tingling before the actual mouth sore erupts. Cold sores initially appear as blisters before they crust over. This viral mouth sore can be triggered by an illness, hormone changes, stress or sun exposure.
Although it is less common, your medication could also be the cause of your mouth sore. Drugs that can cause mouth sores include aspirin, beta-blockers, chemotherapy medicines, penicillamine, sulfa drugs, and phenytoin.
Illness or Medical Disorder
Certain illnesses are known to produce mouth sores, including some as mild as a simple cold and others as serious as an autoimmune disorder. If you are unsure what is causing your frequent mouth sores, please consult a medical professional so that your oral symptoms can be treated at the source.
Oral Cancer
Last, but certainly not least, is the possibility that your mouth sore is a sign of oral cancer. Treating oral cancer at its earliest stages is a critical factor in the success of treatment and dentists recommend paying special attention to mouth sores that do not heal within 10-14 days. Park South Dentistry offers oral cancer screenings as part of routine dental checkups. Visiting a dentist every six months allows patients to discuss any new or worsening oral health problems, which may include mouth sores that you are concerned about.

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