Mouth Sores and Spots
Mouth sores and spots are common, with around one third of all people affected by them at some point. However, it can sometimes be hard to tell the difference between a minor canker sore and something more serious. By learning about the types of sores and spots individuals can develop in or around their mouth, you can put your mind at ease, learn the best treatments and learn when it’s best to seek a dentist’s care.
Types of Mouth Sores
There are a number of types of sores that people can develop. Among the most common:
- Canker Sores: These are small, white, swollen areas with red irritation around them that occur inside the mouth. Most are minor, but sometimes sores will occur in clusters. The cause of canker sores is not known, but experts suspect that they are caused by immune system problems, viral or bacterial infections. Non-prescription pain medications can provide relief and antimicrobial mouth washes can help with healing.
- Oral Thrush: This is a type of candida infection that is characterized by creamy, yellowish patches or raw, red areas. While this infection is most common in infants and those with compromised immune systems, adults can develop it after a course of antibiotics or if they suffer from dry mouth. Antifungal medications may be necessary to speed healing.
- Cold Sores: Also called fever blisters, these occur in groups around the mouth. These fluid-filled blisters are caused by the herpes simplex virus. While there is no cure for the virus, it generally remains inactive most of the time for most people. Prescription antivirals can reduce the severity and frequency of break outs.
- Leukoplakia: This sore comes in the form of a thick, white-colored patch on the gums, tongue or inner cheek. The causes may include ill-fitting dentures, smoking or broken teeth. Since about 5 percent of leukoplakia cases progress to cancer, it is vital to get a dentist’s assistance if this condition arises.
If mouth sores last longer than a week, it’s time to seek attention from a doctor or dentist. At Feels Like Family Dentistry, your comfort is our top concern. Been awhile since your last checkup? Call us to make an appointment to keep your smile healthy and looking beautiful.