Mouth Sores & Infections: What You Should Do?

Definition of Mouth Sores & Infection

There are many different types of mouth sores than can develop around or in the mouth. Some are painful, some are unsightly, and some may be a sign of something more serious. If your mouth sore does not go away within 10 days, you should consult your dentist. If you suspect you have an infection, consult your dentist as soon as possible to eliminate complications.

Signs & Symptoms of Mouth Sores & Infection

Here are some of the more common soft-tissue disturbances and advice from the American Dental Association on what you can do about them:

  • Candidiasis
    Known as “thrush,” it is a fungal infection that occurs in the mouth or throat due to an overgrowth of yeast. Symptoms include: white spots inside the mouth or on the tongue, sore throat, difficulty swallowing, and cracking at the corners of the mouth (cheilosis).
  • Canker Sores
    Canker sores often develop as small white or yellow center lesions with a red border. They develop in the mouth on the tongue, inside cheek areas, lips, gum line and throat area. They are not contagious. Canker sores may occur as one sore or several.
  • Cold sores
    Cold sores, also called “fever blisters,” appear as clusters of red, raised blisters outside the mouth—typically around the lips — although they can develop under the nose or under the chin. They are highly contagious and can break open, which allows the fluid in the blisters to leak out and spread the infection. They typically scab over until they heal.
  • Tooth Abscess
    A tooth abscess occurs when bacteria invade the dental pulp, the nerve and blood vessels of the tooth. Bacteria enters the pulp and spreads to the root. The bacterial infection causes pain, bad breath and inflammation. The tight space, within which the inflammation occurs, forces pus into a pocket (abscess) at the tip of the root.

Causes of Mouth Sores & Infections

  • Candidiasis
    Thrush is caused by a fungus and typically develops when the immune system is weakened. Some medications, such as steroid or cancer therapies, may increase the risk of developing this infection. Antibiotics also increase the risk of developing infection because they can alter the normal balance of bacteria in the mouth.
  • Canker sore
    In some cases, the exact cause of a canker sore is unknown, but trauma or injury to the mouth or oral soft tissues may be the culprit. Other possible causes are food sensitivities, spicy, salty or acidic foods, vitamin B deficiency, hormonal shifts and stress.
  • Cold sore
    Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV)-1 and are highly contagious. The initial infection with the virus can be accompanied by cold or flu-like symptoms and can cause painful oral lesions. There is no cure for the herpes virus. Reoccurrence can occur when an individual has a fever, menstruation, fatigue, stress or exposure to the sun.
  • Tooth Abscess
    A tooth abscess occurs when bacteria invade the dental pulp, the nerve and blood vessels of the tooth. Bacteria enters the pulp and spreads to the root. The bacterial infection causes pain, bad breath and inflammation. The tight space, within which the inflammation occurs, forces pus into a pocket (abscess) at the tip of the root.

Diagnosis

You dentist will carefully examine the inside of your mouth, tongue and glands. Although many of these sores and infections may be harmless, some are not, so it is important to talk to your dentist about the problems you are experiencing and feeling in your mouth.

Treatment

  • Candidiasis – Thrush is treated with a prescription antifungal medication. It is most commonly seen in HIV/AIDS patients, after cancer therapy, organ transplant, diabetes and in denture-wearers.
  • Canker sores – These usually heal without treatment one or two weeks after they break out. However, if they are painful; so over-the-counter topical anesthetics and antimicrobial mouth rinses may provide temporary relief.
  • Cold sores – Cold sore blisters usually heal by themselves in about one week. Over-the-counter topical anesthetics can provide some pain relief. Your dentist may prescribe antiviral drugs to reduce the healing time for these sores.
  • Tooth abscess – A root canal can eliminate the infection and save the tooth. If the tooth cannot be saved, a dentist will extract the tooth and drain the abscess to eliminate the infection. An antibiotic will be prescribed to stop the bacterial infection.

Related Conditions

While most sores and infections can be treated and/or managed effectively, some are more serious and in rare instances could be a sign of oral cancer. Be on the lookout for a white or reddish patch inside the mouth, as well as a lump or thickening of the skin or mouth lining. Other symptoms include tongue pain, loose teeth, jaw pain, difficulty in chewing or swallowing, or even just a sore throat. Oral cancer can occur anywhere in the mouth, including the gums, lips, tongue, roof of the mouth, floor of the mouth and inside lining of the cheeks and the throat.

For more information on Mouth Sores and Infections see the full article at colgate.com

 


source: “Mouth Sores and Infections”  www.colgate.com, Web, June 21st, 2018.

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