Mouth Lesions: The What, Why and How to Heal Mouth Sores.
Your tongue and mouth lining are primary indicators of your overall health. They are also quite sensitive. Even small sores or lacerations can cause extreme discomfort that can result in secondary symptoms like headaches or jaw aches and, generally, prevent you from performing at your best.
We’ve put together an overview to help you understand some of the underlying causes of these sores and what you can do to help them heal so that you can smooth the discomfort and get back to enjoying your day.
Types of Mouth Sores
Mouth sores can be broken out into four main types:
These are small sores (often less than one-third of an inch in diameter) that form on the inside surface of your cheeks, under your tongue. Canker sores can be the result of a stress, inflammation or an infection. Illnesses such as the flu can reduce the efficiency of your immune system, leaving you at risk for developing canker sores.
Fever Blisters (Cold sores)
Fever blisters are caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus (PPV) and can develop when you’re experiencing stress, fatigue, hormonal imbalances or facial trauma. They can often be mistaken for canker sores but there are a few key things to look for when identifying a sore. Fever blisters tend to appear as groupings of red, fluid filled sores primarily on or around the lips.
What we commonly refer to as thrush is an overgrowth of the candida fungus, which grows naturally in your mouth. It develops whenever the bacteria protecting your oral tissues are compromised by the use of antibiotics, medication-induced dry mouth or ill-fitting dental appliances.
Oral abrasions are small cuts inside your mouth or on your tongue that are caused by accidentally biting your tongue or cheek, eating crunchy or sharp foods like potato chips, sucking on hard candies. You can also develop internal burn blisters or irritations when you try to consume a beverage or food that’s too hot.
Most of the discomfort from mouth sores will dissipate naturally within ten days although it may longer for them to heal completely. Antifungal medications can speed healing from candida while cold sores or canker sores may benefit from a flight of antibiotics. A quick medical exam can confirm this and your doctor or dentist can prescribe you the proper treatment.
It’s important to note that some people have been known to develop immunity against these treatments over time, so doctors are careful about recommending them for every case.
While immediate medical attention is seldom required there are certain signs that a visit to your doctor or dentist is required. If you start to experience fever, inflammation of the lymph nodes, joint pain or diarrhea your sores may be a symptom of something more serious.
You should also seek medical attention if your sores don’t heal within ten days as this could be a symptom of a more serious underlying condition like cancer.
For general relief from the pain of mouth sores while they are healing, you may want to try one of the following home remedies.
Salt water rise may help ease canker sores and thrush, according to WebMD. Dissolve about 1/2 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of lukewarm water. Swish the rinse and then spit it out, but don't swallow.
Baking soda is known to have antifungal properties that may help ease flush or pain due to canker sores. To use it, the Mayo Clinic suggests dissolving about a teaspoon of baking soda in 1 cup of water. Swish and spit. You might also try mixing a small amount of water with baking soda to create a paste. Apply the paste to the blister multiple times a day.
Coconut oil is also said to have significant anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties, according to an article at Livestrong.com, and can be used alone or with baking soda. Take a teaspoon of coconut oil and swish it inside your mouth until it liquifies and coats the inside of your mouth.
Of course, prevention is always the best medicine. Maintaining good oral hygiene, avoiding the use of unneeded antibiotics and other medications, feeding your body with a healthy variety of foods and staying well hydrated help promote your best oral health and your best overall health.
The doctors and staff at Aspen Grove Dental are dedicated to helping you and your family to live healthy. If you have any questions or concerns about any type of mouth sore we are here to answer your questions.