There are many different kinds of mouth sores that can develop in or around your mouth. Here are some signs and symptoms of the most common types:
- Candidiasis - A fungal infection, also known as 'thrush,' that occurs in the mouth or throat due to an overgrowth of yeast. Symptoms include white spots inside the mouth or on the tongue, sore throat and difficulty swallowing.
- Canker sores - These are small white or yellow lesions with a red border that flare-up on the tongue, inside cheek area, lips and gum line. They are not contagious, but can be painful.
- Cold sores - These clusters of red, raised blisters appear outside the mouth, typically around the lips, but can also develop under the nose or chin. These highly contagious sores can cause great discomfort.
- Tooth abscess - This occurs when there is a bacterial infection in the nerve of the tooth. Symptoms include severe toothache with pain, sensitivity to hot and cold beverages or food, fever and swollen lymph nodes.
What to Do When You Have a Mouth Sore
It’s nearly impossible to stop a mouth sore outbreak once it starts. But here are some tips to follow if you have one.
Avoid acidic foods. To prevent aggravating a mouth sore, stay away from acidic foods like citrus fruits and tomatoes. You may even want to pass on salty foods like chips or salad dressing that can also exacerbate an open sore.
Resist picking or touching. Not only will you irritate the site of the outbreak, but it could help spread the mouth sore to other areas of your body.
Boost your vitamin C. Loading up on foods that are rich in vitamin C will increase your white blood cell count, which will help fight off the infection. Here are some foods that are high in vitamin C:
- bell peppers
- green leafy vegetables
Don't drink alcohol. Consuming alcoholic beverages may not only sting the mouth sore but can also hinder the immune system from fighting the outbreak. Make sure to use an alcohol-free mouthwash during this time, and always.
How to Avoid a Mouth Sore
Practice good oral hygiene. Using proper brushing techniques and flossing twice a day can keep your mouth clean. Also, rinsing after meals will free your teeth and gums of any food particles that might trigger a sore.
Select SLS-free toothpaste. Make sure that your toothpaste and mouthwash do not contain sodium lauryl sulfate. SLS is a strong detergent that's been known to increase canker sore outbreaks and pain.
Eat a balanced diet. To help prevent nutritional deficiencies eat a complete diet. Below is a list of foods that are high in vitamin C, which are great for treating mouth sores.
Reduce your stress. If your mouth sore flare-ups seem to be related to stress, learn stress-reduction technique like meditation and apply them to your daily life.
Wear sunscreen. Exposure to UV light can contribute to outbreaks, so make sure to apply (and reapply) a lip balm with SPF in it. We suggest Loving Naturals Sunscreen Lip Balm, SPF 30+.
If your mouth sore does not go away within 10 days, you should consult your dentist. If you think you might have an infection, visit your dentist as soon as possible to reduce potential complications.