You can develop mouth sores inside your mouth or on your lips and the skin around your mouth. Canker sores and cold sores are the most commonly known but leukoplakia and candidiasis are also types of mouth sores
Canker sores develop inside your mouth. They appear as a blemish and may be brought on by a virus or a weakened immune system. Heredity, a vitamin deficiency and stress may also be contributing factors. People who suffer from colitis or crohn’s disease seem to be more susceptible.
Cold sores are usually the result of a herpes virus. They look like blisters and show up most often on the lips or on the area of skin below your nose. They seem to form in clusters and can be very unpleasant and are extremely contagious.
Leukoplakia can be a more serious kind of mouth sore since it has been known to develop into cancer. It will present as a white patch inside the mouth and is caused by abnormal cell growth. Tobacco products, loose fitting dentures or chewing on the inside of your cheek can all contribute to leukoplakia.
Candidiasis is another kind of cold sore that develops inside your mouth. You may have heard it called “oral thrush.” It can be either red or whitish in color and can be painful. It is the result of a fungal infection and often affects people who have had some sort of antibiotic treatment. It is also common in those who suffer from an immune system disorder.
Your dentist will examine your mouth inside and out in order to determine what type of mouth sore he may be dealing with. Your medical history will help him make a diagnosis.
Treatments will vary depending on the type of mouth sore you have. You can usually treat canker sores with an over the counter medication until they run their course in a couple of weeks.
Herpes related cold sores will heal up within a week. Antiviral medication will help keep them from recurring.
Leukoplakia is treated by taking away the source, meaning that you will need to stop smoking or get your dentures fixed, for example. Your dentist may want to take a biopsy just as a precaution.
A fungal candidiasis will go away once you stop taking the medication that brought it on.
If dry mouth is the cause you can take a saliva substitute or chew sugarless gum to increase your natural flow of saliva. Be careful to keep your dentures clean and take them out at night.