Mouth sores are like
little cuts or ulcers in the mouth. Various types of sores can appear anywhere
within the mouth, including the inner cheeks, gums, tongue, lips, or palate.
Some sores may be raised, usually filled with fluid (in which case they are called vesicles or bullae, depending on the size), whereas others may be ulcers. An ulcer is a hole that forms in the lining of the mouth when the top layer of cells breaks down and the underlying tissue shows through. An ulcer appears white because of the dead cells and food debris inside the hole.
Canker sores. Small ulcers with a white or gray base and a red border. They are also known as apthous ulcers. Unlike cold sores, canker sores appear inside the mouth. And, they are not contagious. There may be only one canker sore or several and they often return. Their exact cause is uncertain but some experts believe that immune system problems, bacteria or viruses may be involved.
Cold sores. Cold sores can usually be found on or around the lips, and sometimes on the cheek, nose or even the eyes. Cold sores are itchy, painful blisters that eventually burst and scab. They last for about 1-2 weeks but usually reoccur.
Leukoplakia - Leukoplakia is a whitish patch that can be found on the inside of the cheeks, on the gums or on the tongue. Leukoplakia is due to an excess of cell growth which can be caused by a number of factors including tobacco smoking or chewing, the habitual chewing the inside of the cheeks, dentures or braces that do fit properly or any other constant irritation to the inside of the mouth.
Candidiasis - Candidiasis is also known as thrush or moniliasis, and is a fungal or yeast infection of the mouth caused by yeast reproduction in the mouth. People with dry mouth can easily contract Candidiasis due to lack of saliva which helps kill certain bacteria in the mouth. Candidiasis forms as small whitish bumps on the inside of the mouth.
Minor physical injuries
Trauma to the mouth is a common cause of oral ulcers. A sharp edge of a tooth, accidental biting (this can be particularly common with sharp canine teeth, or Wisdom teeth), sharp, abrasive, or excessively salty food, poorly fitting dentures, dental braces or trauma from a toothbrush may injure the mucosal lining of the mouth resulting in an ulcer. These ulcers usually heal at a moderate speed if the source of the injury is removed (for example, if poorly fitting dentures are removed or replaced).
It is also common for these ulcers to occur after dental work, when incidental abrasions to the soft tissues of the mouth are common. A dentist can apply a protective layer of petroleum jelly before carrying out dental work in order to minimize the number of incidental injuries to the soft mucosa tissues.
Chemicals such as aspirin or alcohol that are held or that come in contact with the oral mucosa may cause tissues to become necrotic and slough off creating an ulcerated surface. Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), one of the main ingredients in most toothpastes, has been implicated in increased incidence of oral ulcers.
Viral, fungal and bacterial processes can lead to oral ulceration. One way to contract pathogenic oral ulcerations is to touch your chapped lips without having washed your hands first. The reason that this happens is that the bacteria from your hands sinks into the tiny, open cuts caused by your chapped lips.
The most common is Herpes simplex virus which causes recurrent herpetiform ulcerations preceded by usually painful multiple vesicles which burst. Varicella Zoster (chicken pox, shingles), Coxsackie A virus and its associated subtype presentations, are some of the other viral processes that can lead to oral ulceration. HIV creates immunodeficiencies which allow opportunistic infections or neoplasms to proliferate.
Bacterial processes leading to ulceration can be caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (tuberculosis) and Treponema pallidum (syphilis).
Opportunistic activity by combinations of otherwise normal bacterial flora, such as aerobic streptococci, Neisseria, Actinomyces, spirochetes, and Bacteroides species can prolong the ulcerative process.
Coccidioides immitis (valley fever), Cryptococcus neoformans (cryptococcosis), Blastomyces dermatitidis ("North American Blastomycosis") are some of the fungal processes causing oral ulceration.
Entamoeba histolytica, a parasitic protozoan is sometimes known to cause mouth ulcers through formation of cysts.
3. Immune system
Many researchers view the causes of aphthous ulcers as a common end product of many different disease processes, each of which is mediated by the immune system.
Aphthous ulcers are thought to form when the body becomes aware of and attacks chemicals which it does not recognize.
Repeat episodes of mouth ulcers can be indicative of an immunodeficiency, signaling low levels of immunoglobulin in the oral mucous membranes. Chemotherapy, HIV, and mononucleosis are all causes of immunodeficiency with which oral ulcers become a common manifestation.
Autoimmunity is also a cause of oral ulceration. Mucous membrane pemphigoid, an autoimmune reaction to the epithelial basement membrane, causes desquamation/ulceration of the oral mucosa.
Contact with allergens such as amalgam can lead to ulcerations of the mucosa.
Vitamin C deficiencies may lead to scurvy which impairs wound healing, which can contribute to ulcer formation. Similarly deficiencies in vitamin B12, zinc have been linked to oral ulceration.
A common cause of ulcers is Coeliac disease, in which case consumption of wheat, rye, or barley can result in chronic oral ulcers. If gluten sensitivity is the cause, prevention means following a gluten-free diet by avoiding most breads, pastas, baked goods, beers etc. and substituting gluten-free varieties where available. Artificial sugars (Aspartame/Nutrisweet/etc) such as those found in diet cola and sugarless chewing gum, have been reported as causes of oral ulcers as well.
Use of flovent without rinsing the mouth out afterwards may cause oral ulcers.
Oral cancers can lead to ulceration as the center of the lesion loses blood supply and necroses. Squamous cell carcinoma is just one of these by tobacco.
8. Medical conditions associated with mouth ulcers
The following medical conditions are associated with mouth ulcers:
Celiac disease (gluten sensitivity)
oral lichen planus
Symptoms usually begin with pain or burning, followed in 1 to 2 days by an ulcer. There is never a blister. Pain is severe-far more so than would be expected from something so small-and lasts 4 to 7 days. The ulcers almost always form on soft, loose tissue such as that on the inside of the lip or cheek, on the tongue, the floor of the mouth, the soft palate, or in the throat. Ulcers appear as shallow, round or oval spots with a yellow-gray center and a red border. Most ulcers are small, less than ½ inch (1¼ centimeters) in diameter, and often appear in clusters of two or three and usually disappear by themselves within 10 days and do not leave scars. Larger ulcers are less common; these are irregularly shaped, can take many weeks to heal, and frequently leave scars.
People with a severe outbreak may also have a fever, swollen lymph nodes in the neck, and a generally run-down feeling.
Symptomatic treatment is the primary approach to dealing with oral ulcers. If their cause is known, then treatment of that condition is also recommended. Adequate oral hygiene may also help in relieving symptoms. An age old remedy is applying a small amount of vinegar to the ulcer, this relieves pain for a short amount of time. Ulcers persisting longer than three weeks may require the attention of a medical practitioner.
Role of homoeopathy
There are many homeopathic medicines for the treatment of them depending on the cause and severity of the condition. It can cure aphthae and also help in reducing recurrences. Homoeopathic medicines help in boosting the natural healing processes of the patient to treat and prevent them. Moreover, homeopathy can treat diseases harmlessly for keeping us in good health.
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