Sores in your mouth are irritating, and sometimes they’re cause for concern.
Check your symptoms, treat the pain and contact your doctor if they don’t heal within a reasonable time, because they could be an early sign of a deeper health issue.
What Are Your Symptoms?
Typically, sores in your mouth will be red and painful. You may notice them first when you drink or eat, since the acids may irritate the area. They may develop on your tongue, the roof of your mouth, your throat, the insides of your cheeks or on your lips and gums. It could be uncomfortable to talk, swallow or chew, depending on where they are located.
Identify Possible Causes
One of the common causes of mouth sores is injury. If you accidentally bit or burned any of your tissues, a blister can develop. Also, if your dentures or braces aren’t properly fitted, or they have been damaged, they could be scraping on mouth tissue and creating a sore. Chewing tobacco and brushing your teeth too vigorously could also result in mouth sores.
Canker sores are also common, and doctors aren’t entirely sure why they develop. It is believed stress may trigger them. If your immune system is weakened, you have hormonal changes or a vitamin deficiency, these conditions are also linked to canker sores.
Watch, Wait and Treat
Once you notice sores in your mouth, give them a two-week period to heal. While you wait, try to avoid eating or drinking spicy or citrus foods or drinks. Don’t smoke or drink alcohol.
To facilitate healing, rinse your mouth with salt water after every meal. Don’t touch the sores or blisters. Take over-the-counter pain medications to help with discomfort.
See Your Doctor If …
If after two weeks the sores haven’t begun to heal, it’s time to see your doctor, dentist or oral surgeon. You should also make an appointment if you notice white patches in your mouth. You will be evaluated to see if the sores could be caused by:
- Oral cancer
- Medication reaction
- Autoimmune or bleeding disorder
- Bacterial infection
- Reaction to cancer treatment
- Reaction to recent transplant surgery
If your dentist suspects that oral cancer is the cause, you will see an oral surgeon. A biopsy of the affected tissue will show if the sores contain questionable cells.
In general, sores in your mouth shouldn’t alarm you — they’re a common occurrence and typically resolve on their own without further treatment. But if they do persist, don’t delay in getting a medical assessment. Treatment for conditions like oral cancer is most effective the sooner it is administered, so don’t hesitate to contact Northeast Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery for an evaluation.