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The inside of your mouth has remarkably fast-healing tissue. Although, there are several types of soft-tissue disturbances, or sores, that can develop in your mouth. These irritations are somewhat common, but if they become uncomfortable and don’t seem to be properly healing, you may need to book an appointment with your dentist to rectify the problem.

The below information is from the American Dental Association (ADA), a reputable source for dental advice:

Cold Sores: These are caused by the herpes simplex virus and are very contagious. You may even experience cold or flu-like symptoms when initially infected. Cold sores are red and look like small blisters outside the mouth, but can also develop under the nose or on the chin. Also called “fever blisters,” they are filled with fluid and can break open and then scab over until healed. This kind of virus has no cure and will remain in the body, flaring up occasionally. Topical anesthetics can provide some relief, and your doctor can also prescribe an antiviral drug that will shorten the healing time, which is about one week.

Canker Sores: Trauma to the oral tissue is a typical cause of canker sores. They appear as white or gray sores with reddish edges and are not contagious. Generally, they heal themselves within a couple of weeks. You can use over-the-counter anesthetics and mouthwashes that are antimicrobial for pain relief if needed.

Leukoplakia: A rough patch of whitish, mottled-looking tissue, this is actually an overgrowth of the cells in response to some sort of irritation. Common culprits are braces, dentures, bruxism, anxiety, medication, and tobacco use. The patches themselves are generally painless and not contagious but can be associated with oral cancer. A biopsy may be recommended by your dentist if something is suspicious.

Candidiasis: The fancy name for “oral thrush,” candidiasis is actually a yeast infection in the mouth caused by fungus. It appears as a white patch, may become sore and bleed. Typically this is found in the very young, old, or immune-deficient individuals. Some medications contribute to contraction, even antibiotics. Common among those who wear dentures, antifungal medications are used to treat the disease.

If you’ve developed mouth sores and need advice, call Dr. Joshua Scott Murdock and our team at Rogue Valley Family Dentistry. You can make an appointment at: 541-479-5505, or come by our office in Grants Pass, Oregon.