Few things will make you feel as uncomfortable, self-conscious and maybe even embarrassed as a mouth sore that can be seen the second you start talking to someone. They may be embarrassing, but many can be prevented, and all can be dealt with if you know the necessary information. HomeTown Dental’s family dentist is here to tell you about some of the more common mouth sores and how they affect your dental health.
Commonly referred to as fever blisters, cold sores appear as clusters of red, raised blisters outside of the mouth. They are highly contagious and can break open, allowing liquid to leak and spread the infection. Cold sores are a product of the herpes simplex virus-1, which is the less evil sibling of the foreboding herpes simplex virus-2, which is the cause behind the same blisters appearing below the belt. While treatment can help, cold sores can’t be cured and will return in times of stress, fatigue, menstruation, fever or exposure to the sun.
Often developing as small lesions with a white or yellow center and a red border, canker sores can show up as a single sore, or as several. Unlike cold sores, canker sores are not contagious and are usually caused by trauma or injury to the mouth or oral soft tissue, such as the tongue, inside cheek areas, lips, gum line and throat area. They will usually only last a week or two.
Showing up as white patches or plaques in the mouth, leukoplakia is usually painless and can’t be scraped off. They form as a reaction to an irritant, like rough teeth, badly fitting dentures, smoking and smokeless tobacco. Leukoplakia can also be a precancerous condition, so if you have persistent white patches, you need a dentist’s evaluation.
Could it be Oral Cancer?
It’s a terrifying thought, and while you shouldn’t jump to the conclusion of oral cancer every time you have a mouth sore, you should know what to look for. If you have a sore that bleeds and doesn’t heal, it could potentially be cancerous. Be aware of what increases your risk of oral cancer, and don’t hesitate to reach out to your dentist for a checkup.
Mouth sores can be uncomfortable, and sometimes a little scary, but they can be avoided. Stay on a set dental health regimen to keep your mouth healthy and clean. You should also visit your local family dentist at one of HomeTown Dental’s 9 North Texas locations to get a full checkup and hopefully a clean bill of dental health.
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