If you are suffering from some type of mouth sore, it can make it difficult to enjoy foods and drinks, and can be embarrassing – not to mention uncomfortable or painful. Fortunately, there are several effective treatments for mouth sores.
- Cold sores or fever blisters: One of the most common of all mouth sores, cold sores are infected blisters that are extremely contagious. Because they typically appear on or around the lips, they can also be embarrassing. The good news is that cold sores and fever blisters typically heal on their own in a week or so. If you want to speed up that process, you can ask your dentist to prescribe antiviral drugs or try any of the wide variety of over-the-counter medications available.
- Canker sores: Unlike fever blisters, canker sores are not contagious and they usually form inside the mouth. But they can still be painful and can make it difficult to enjoy eating and drinking. Canker sores also heal on their own within a week or two, but over-the-counter mouth rinses and topical anesthetics can help to alleviate the discomfort in the meantime.
- Candidiasis or thrush: This fungal infection is caused by an excessive amount of yeast, and it usually appears inside a person’s mouth or throat as white spots. Symptoms include a sore throat and difficulty swallowing. Thrush can be alleviated with a prescribed antifungal medication.
- Abscessed tooth: If you have an abscessed tooth, your dentist is likely to recommend a root canal. This procedure not only alleviates the symptoms of the abscess – an infection of the nerve of a tooth that can be extremely painful – it also often saves the tooth. If the tooth can’t be saved for whatever reason, your dentist may recommend extracting the tooth. In addition to the appropriate dental procedure, your dentist will most likely prescribe an antibiotic to end the bacterial infection.
- Burning mouth: This painful condition creates a burning sensation inside the mouths of people that often persists for months or years if not treated. Because it is often caused by a variety of other conditions – such as diabetes and changes in hormone levels – the most effective treatments are those that address those underlying issues.
- Leukoplakia: White or gray areas that appear on the tongue or the floor of the mouth can be symptoms of leukoplakia, a painless condition that is typically due to some irritant inside the mouth. Once that irritant is removed – such as an ill-fitting dental appliance or tobacco, for example – the white spots usually disappear.
- Sialadenitis: This bacterial infection prevents the normal flow of saliva inside the mouth. Treatment involves hydration and antibiotics to fight off the bacterial infection.
If you are experiencing any type of mouth sore, see your dentist as soon as you can. Fortunately, most conditions can be easily addressed by simple changes in habits and/or medication.