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Oral Lesions

Mouth sores or oral lesions are swollen spots or sores that affect your mouth, lips or tongue. If you’ve ever suffered from these irritations, you know they can make eating and speaking uncomfortable – or even extremely painful.

Unfortunately, mouth sores and oral lesions are fairly common. But what are the different types, and how can they be treated?

Types of Oral Lesions and Treatments

Canker sores

Description: These small, white-colored legions are actually mini-ulcers that form on your gums, tongue, or other soft tissues within the mouth. For some patients, they are very common and a recurring problem.

Experts aren’t sure of the exact cause of canker sores, but it’s believed that bacteria, certain viruses, and irregularities with the immune system are to blame. Additional factors that seem to play a role include stress, allergies, cigarette smoking, vitamin deficiencies and heredity.

Treatment: Most canker sores heal within 7 to 10 days, although they may return. Over-the-counter ointments and pain relievers may help temporarily.

If your canker sores persist after two weeks, speak to your dentist. He or she can make sure your canker sores aren’t a symptom of a more serious problem. Your dentist may also recommend certain vitamins or nutrients to help balance any deficiency.

Cold sores

Description: Also known as fever blisters or herpes simplex, these groups of small blisters form on and around the lips, under the nose, and around the mouth. Cold sores are caused predominantly by the herpes virus and may also be triggered by stress, excessive exposure to sunlight, allergies or fever.

Cold sores are extremely contagious and should be treated with caution.

Treatment: Cold sores typically heal on their own within two weeks. Although there is currently no cure for the herpes virus, over-the-counter ointments may provide temporary relief.

Oral thrush

Description: This condition (also known as candidiasis) is a type of yeast infection caused by the fungus candida albicans. The infection typically produces creamy white lesions or red patches on the tongue, cheeks, or other moist areas of the mouth.

Anyone can get oral thrush, but those especially susceptible include babies and children, older persons, and those with weakened immune systems.

Treatment: Proper treatment for oral thrush depends on properly identifying the cause. Common solutions include:

  • Good oral hygiene
  • Reducing antibiotic or medicinal dosage, or changing treatment
  • Saliva substitutes to assist dry mouth
  • Removing dentures at night and keeping them clean
  • Antifungal medication


Description: This thick, white-colored patch may appear on the inner cheek, gums or tongue. Causes include smoking and other tobacco use, badly fitting dentures, and broken teeth.

Treatment: Removing the root cause will stop leukoplakia. This may mean quitting tobacco use or obtaining dentures that provide a proper fit.

Additionally, since leukoplakia can sometimes lead to cancer, your doctor will likely perform a biopsy. He or she will continue to monitor your condition in the following months.

We’re Here

If you have questions regarding any of these conditions, we encourage you to make an appointment with the Yuba City Dentistry Group today. We can ensure a proper diagnosis, and get you started on the road to recovery.
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