Sores on your mouth, lips, tongue and inner cheek are often caused by viral infections or minor injury.

Mouth lesions and sores rarely require immediate emergency medical attention, but they can be painful and embarrassing, especially if the sores are visible. A person with a mouth or tongue lesion has lumps, bumps, little ulcers, or cuts or sores inside or outside the mouth and lips.

The first thing to do if you have a painful mouth is to identify the source because there are many different kinds of mouth sores. Open your mouth and take a look inside, preferably in bright light with a magnifying mirror.

Sores can occur anywhere in the mouth, including the bottom of the mouth, inner cheeks, gums, lips, tongue, and the back of the throat. The sores may be very red, swollen, bleeding, oozing pus, or may have small white patches in the middle. Pull your tongue out to check for lacerations or swelling on the top, bottom, and sides.

Symptoms of mouth problems include pain and soreness, as well as a mouth and gums that look red, shiny, or swollen. You may notice small ulcers or sores in the mouth, on gums, or on or under your tongue. You may also see white patches or pus in your mouth or experience a sore throat or dryness of the mouth and throat.

What causes mouth sores and lesions?

Viral and fungal infections are the main cause of mouth sores. Two of the most common causes of recurrent oral lesions are fever blisters (also known as cold sores) and canker sores. Cold sores on the mouth are likely caused by the herpes simplex virus 1, or herpes, which affects nearly two-thirds of all adults worldwide. Canker sores are small mouth ulcers that usually go away by themselves.

Sores on the tongue or inside the mouth may also be caused or exacerbated by other infections, inflammation, stress, or, very rarely, cancer. Sometimes mouth sores ooze pus or bleed. Bleeding may sometimes occur if the ulceration is severe, irritated by an external agent or treatment, or infected.

If you are experiencing mouth cuts and sores and don’t have an underlying condition, try troubleshooting your dental care and hygiene habits. Some mouth sores and lesions are caused by sharp or broken teeth, dentures that don’t fit correctly, or braces with protruding wires.

Gritting or gnashing your teeth, especially while sleeping, can cause tiny bites on the inside of your cheeks. Gum disease and inflammation can cause bleeding in and around the gumline, and the blood might travel to your lips and the corners of your mouth.

Biting your tongue or chewing your lips can cause pain, swelling, and even small cuts. So can drinking hot liquids, ingesting acidic food and drinks, smoking cigarettes and cigars, and consuming alcoholic beverages. Brushing or flossing too vigorously or using a hard toothbrush can cause painful bleeding of the gums and mouth tissue.

Exposure to ultraviolet rays can also cause damage to the lips and skin around the mouth. Dry, cracked lips are prone to bleeding, especially in the corners, so always use a lip balm or lotion with SPF 15 or higher to create a moisture barrier and avoid sunburn.

Most mouth sores and blisters can be treated at home, either by avoiding the offending behavior or changing your habits. Self-treatment for mouth or tongue lesions may include swapping your hard toothbrush for a soft one, brushing and flossing more gently, or wearing a night guard to protect soft cheek tissue skin from teeth.

If you are prone to canker sores or bleeding cuts in your mouth area, try avoiding hot, acidic, or abrasive foods until they heal. Saltwater rinses, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAIDs) such as aspirin or ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin), or ice on the affected area can help alleviate pain. Medicated lip balms, especially those formulated for herpes 1 and canker sores, can also help. If these treatments don’t work and you are still experiencing persistent painful sores in your mouth area, see your primary care doctor or dentist. You may need antibiotics, stronger antiviral medication, an antiseptic mouthwash, or surgery.

Original Article:
Author: Brian Joseph Miller