What's the deal with mouth sores?

When you get a sore inside your mouth…what is it? Well it could be one of a few things:

Canker sores- Canker sores are small, white areas of swelling or soreness surrounded by redness. They are not contagious. The cause of canker sores is uncertain, but some research suggests that immune system deficiencies, bacteria, or viruses might be the culprits. Canker sores usually heal within one week. While there is no cure, over the counter topical ointments or gels can provide temporary pain relief. You could also ask your dentist if he has “bacteriol” which helps heal canker sores.

Cold sores- People often confuse canker sores with cold sores (also called fever blisters). Cold sores are groups of painful blisters filled with fluid that appear around the lips and under the nose. It is caused by the herpes simplex virus and usually infects a person in childhood. Cold sores are extremely contagious. They last 7 to10 days. Valtrex helps diminish the duration of the sores. You’ll need a prescription for Valtrex.

Leukoplakia- Leukoplakia appears on the inner cheeks, gums or tongue and often appears as a thick, white-colored patch. It is usually associated with smoking or smokeless tobacco use. Other causes include poorly fitting dentures, broken teeth, and cheek chewing. It is extremely important to report any signs of Leukoplakia to your dentist, because an estimated 5 percent of cases can lead to cancer. Leukoplakia usually dissipates after the behavior causing it is ceased.

Candidiasis- Candidiasis is a fungal infection also called “oral thrush”. Candidiasis appears as yellow-white or red patches in the mouth. It is most common in newborns or in people whose immune systems are not functioning properly. Also, dry mouth syndrome, or people taking extensive antibiotics are susceptible. People who do not remove their dentures to clean, and let the oral tissues breathe can also get candidiasis. 
Antifungal medications are usually used to treat candidiasis.

Oral Cancer- Oral cancer often starts as a tiny white or red spot or sore. Sometimes oral cancer presents itself as a sore that bleeds easily or does not heal. It can affect any area of the mouth. If you have pain, tenderness, or numbness anywhere in the mouth or lips that does not go away after a week, contact your dentist. Your dentist can do a brush biopsy or us the “Veloscope” to check if your sore is indeed cancer. Remember, with cancer, early detection is the key.

**Dr. Archer Katz is a general and cosmetic dentist offering personalized, painless and superior dental care for patients in Emerson, NJ. Dr. Katz earned his undergraduate degree in Psychology/Chemistry in 1981 from Rutgers University, and received his DMD from Fairleigh Dickinson University in 1985. Dr. Katz believes in continuing education and is certified in BIOLASE Laser Technology, Invisalign® Orthodontics, Advanced Endodontics and Periodontics, and more. In addition, he is an active member of the American Dental Association, Bergen County Dental Society, the New Jersey Dental Association and the Academy of Facial Esthetics.  Dr. Katz has been voted a Bergen Top Dentist, for 2019, in Bergen Magazine.  He has also been chosen as one of America’s Top Dentists since 2007 by Consumers Research Council of America. To learn more about Emerson Dental Arts and the services Dr. Katz provides, please visit our website at www.emersondentalarts.com or call/text (201) 261-3364.


Archer Katz

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