It can be alarming when you discover the source of that pain in your mouth is a sore of some kind. Many times the culprit is something simple and nothing to cause serious concern, but the signs may point to something more serious.
These are the most common culprit of mouth sores. They appear inside the mouth and range from very small to quite large. Sometimes they are white or gray in the center and have a red border on the outside, but they often begin as just a red spot or bump. Although uncomfortable and sometimes downright painful, most canker sores will heal on their own in about a week and aren’t contagious.
Sometimes called fever blisters, these sores usually appear on and around the lips. Occasionally they may appear on the gum line and even on the roof of the mouth. These sores are caused by the herpes virus and are contagious. Although the virus stays in your body forever often unnoticed, things such as wind, sun, stress and sickness can cause the sores to surface. These sores also heal in about a week.
These white or gray patches are often caused by an irritant such as tobacco, dental issues, biting of the cheek and even certain foods. They usually aren’t painful and are often harmless. However, there is a risk for cancer and spots should be biopsied by your dentist to be sure.
These red patches are most often found on the floor of the mouth or behind the back teeth. Irritants like tobacco and alcohol are believed to be a common cause. Even if you don’t smoke or drink alcohol, red patches that don’t disappear on their own after a week or so should be looked at by your dentist to rule out oral cancer.
This chronic, itchy rash appears as white spots or sometimes give the appearance of lace. Usually caused by genetics of immune system concerns, it isn’t contagious or a high-risk factor for cancer.
This condition is also often called Thrush and is a fungal infection that shows up as white and read creamy patches that can be painful and cause bad breath. It’s often associated with antibiotics, low immune systems or dry mouth.
Oral cancer usually begins as small, painless sores. Over time, they grow and spread to larger areas and can become painful. Because pain is not always present and there is a normal amount of oral changes that take place in a healthy mouth, it can go undiagnosed. The chances of successful treatment are extremely high when diagnosed early, and this usually happens at routine dental exams.
Dr. Ken Collins, DDS, Spokane area dentist says that the Oral Cancer Foundation recommends having any sore or discoloration that lasts two weeks or more examined by a dentist.
“Around 40,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral and throat cancers every year,” Collins said. “This can seem scary, but the good news is the survival rates skyrocket when you look at cases that were detected and treated early. Getting screened is as easy as going in for your regular six-month dental check-up with a dentist that performs oral screenings. And, really, they all should be. It’s also important to pay attention to any changes between visits.”
If you’re experiencing any of these sores, rashes or lesions and they aren’t going away after two weeks, always be seen by a dentist to rule out the possibility of oral cancer.
Or office in Spokane is located at:
3151 E. 28th Ave.
Spokane, WA 99223
Office phone # 509-532-1111