There are several different types of mouth sores that can cause discomfort in your oral cavity. Some have overlapping causes, but others are unique in their cause. For millions of people, mouth sores such as cold sores and canker sores are common, but it’s important to know when to seek help.
The following are a few of the most common mouth sores people experience and their causes, as well as when you should seek professional treatment!
Canker sores can have a variety of causes, from hormones to food sensitivities to stress. Presenting as small sores with a whitish center and red edges, canker sores can happen anywhere on the soft tissues of the oral cavity.
Most canker sores will go away within 10 days and are nothing to be concerned about. However, you should seek help if your canker sore isn’t gone within two weeks, is extremely painful, or you have a fever along with the sore .
Occurring outside the mouth on the lips or around the lips, cold sores are caused by herpes simplex viruses (most commonly type 1). While painful and uncomfortable, the sores generally only last a week.
You should seek treatment for cold sores if you have several sores, sores spreading to other parts of your body (such as near your eyes or on your hands), or your sores don’t go away after two weeks . People who have a weakened immune system or get cold sores frequently should also seek treatment.
Mouth sores caused by oral cancer can develop anywhere on the soft tissues in your mouth and may present as a red or white lesions that don’t go away . The sore may also be a lump that could be small and painless, but if it’s oral cancer, it will continue to grow.
Your dentist can identify oral cancer during your regular checkup, which makes keeping your bi-annual exams all the more important. While people who use tobacco are at the highest risk for oral cancer, anyone can develop the disease. Any lesions that don’t go away within two weeks—whether or not they’re painful—should be evaluated by your dentist.
A small amount of a yeast called candida normally exists in your mouth. Oral bacteria and your immune system help keep this yeast from overgrowing and causing problems. However, for some people, candida will overgrow and cause a condition called oral thrush.
Oral thrush can cause white sores in the mouth and on the tongue that can be uncomfortable . People who have compromised immune systems, diabetes, or are taking steroid medications are more at risk to develop oral thrush. You should seek treatment if you’re having symptoms, including pain when swallowing, bad breath, a white tongue, or abnormal taste.
Experiencing Mouth Sores?
If you frequently suffer from mouth sores or have persistent mouth sores that don’t go away, it’s time to follow up with your dentist. Your oral healthcare professional can identify your mouth sore and discuss potential causes and treatment options with you to help you feel your best!