Mouth sores are any open blisters found in the oral cavity. They are commonly seen on the lips, the tongue, the gums, the palate and the inside of the cheeks. Examples include canker sores, cold sores and fever blisters.
There are myriad reasons for mouth sores. Many are caused by infectious organisms, bacterial, viral or fungal. Cold sores or fever blisters, for example, are caused by a virus, herpes simplex. Others may be due to trauma from the teeth or from some other physical or chemical injury. Others may be entirely due to an existing medical problem, for example cancer or an autoimmune disease. Finally, they can also be caused by an allergic reaction or to a dietary deficiency.
Generally, treatment depends upon the underlying cause for the mouth sore. However, common personal care strategies include gargling with cold water, avoiding hot, spicy, salty and acidic foods, maintaining good oral hygiene and taking pain medications.
Although over-the-counter medications are commonly available for mouth sores, you will need to see a doctor when the mouth sores lasts longer than two weeks, if you have an immune deficiency such as HIV or you are a cancer patient on treatment, if there are lesions or rashes on the other parts of the body or if you experience unintended weight loss.
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