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Mouth Sores

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What are mouth sores?

Mouth sores are painful lesions that occur in your oral soft tissues. They may appear on your lips, gums, tongue, cheeks, floor of your mouth, or the roof of your mouth.

What are the different types of mouth sores?

The term “oral pain” can describe a number of different conditions affecting the oral cavity. There are several types of mouth sores, including:

Who does mouth sores affect?

Mouth sores can affect anyone, but some are more likely to occur at a certain time in life. For example, thrush and gingivostomatitis are most common in children, while leukoplakia and lichen planus are more common in older adults.

What is the most common type of mouth pain?

Cold sores and thrush are among the most common oral lesions. About 20% of people will develop canker sores at some point in their lives. And while more than half of Americans are infected with the virus that causes cold sores, only 20 to 40 percent of people develop herpes as a result.

Symptoms and Causes

What are the symptoms of mouth sores?

What Causes Mouth Sores?


The exact symptoms may vary depending on the type of mouth sore you have. In most cases, the lesions cause redness, pain, and inflammation. You may also experience:

What causes mouth sores?

There are many things that can cause mouth sores. Causes range from common injuries to serious health problems. Common causes of mouth pain include:

There are also many diseases and health conditions that can cause mouth sores:

People undergoing cancer treatment may also develop mouth sores. This is especially true for people receiving radiation therapy to the head or neck.

Is mouth sores contagious?

It depends on what type of mouth sore you have. Cold sores are contagious but thrush is not. If you are unsure of the type of mouth sore you have, contact your healthcare provider.

How do mouth sores spread?

Contagious mouth sores, such as cold sores caused by the herpes simplex virus, are spread through saliva and close contact. If you think you have oral herpes, avoid kissing and sharing food, drinks and utensils with others.

How long is herpes contagious?

Cold sores are usually contagious for up to 15 days. Once all symptoms, including blistering and crusting, have subsided, you are no longer contagious.

Are mouth sores viral or bacterial?

Although viruses are the most common infectious cause of mouth sores, bacteria can also cause oral lesions. For example, cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus. However, mouth sores such as gingivostomatitis can be caused by certain bacteria such as streptococcus and actinomyces.

What causes sores around the mouth?

Some wounds occur only in the soft tissues inside the mouth. Other sores, such as cold sores caused by the herpes simplex virus, usually appear in the corners of the mouth or on the lips.

Diagnosis and Tests

How are mouth sores diagnosed?

Most mouth sores can be diagnosed by visual inspection. However, if your condition is serious, your doctor may order a blood test or biopsy.

Should I see a doctor for mouth sores?

In most cases, the dentist can properly diagnose and treat a mouth sore. However, if you have recurring mouth sores related to a medical condition, it is best to see your primary care doctor or an ear, nose and throat specialist.

How do I know if I have a mouth infection?

You can have an oral infection without any sores in your mouth. If you notice any other unusual symptoms, such as bleeding, swelling, or tenderness, call your healthcare provider immediately.

Management and Treatment

How do you heal a sore in your mouth?

Your healthcare provider may prescribe medication to relieve your symptoms. Mouth pain treatments may include:

There are also things you can do at home to reduce discomfort:

What should I eat if my mouth sores hurt?

When your mouth hurts, try eating cold foods such as sherbet, sherbet, ice cream or ice cream. This can help calm the area. Avoid hot, spicy or salty foods and stay away from citrus-based foods like oranges, pineapple and tomato sauce.


Can mouth sores be prevented?

Although you can’t completely prevent mouth sores, there are some things you can do to reduce the risk. For example:


What can I expect if I have a sore in my mouth?

Most people who develop mouth sores do not experience long-term effects. However, some people find that the sores reappear from time to time. These outbreaks are more likely to occur if you are stressed or have a weak immune system. If you have recurring mouth sores, contact your healthcare provider. They can determine whether your lesions are related to an underlying condition.

When should I call my doctor?

Not all mouth sores need immediate medical attention. However, if you have lesions larger than half an inch in diameter or if your mouth sore is accompanied by the following symptoms,  you should call your doctor :

Additional Common Questions

Are cold sores a symptom of COVID-19?

Although not a common COVID symptom, mouth sores have been reported in people with the virus. More research is needed to determine whether the lesions in the mouth are caused by the coronavirus or are secondary symptoms.

Most mouth sores are harmless, but they can be quite painful. Fortunately, treatments are available to help reduce discomfort. If you have any unusual symptoms or your mouth sores have not healed within three weeks, it is important to have an evaluation with your doctor. This can help rule out serious health problems and detect problems early.