Sometimes you or a family member will experience lesions in the mouth. This could be in the form of bumps, ulcers or sores inside the mouth or on the tongue. Depending on the lesion, this can be caused by infection, inflammation, or even cancer. Usually, viral infections and fungal infections are the most common causes of mouth or tongue lesions.
Cold sores are one of the most common mouth problems, and are also known as fever blisters, even though you don’t actually get cold sores from fevers or colds–but they can be triggered by them. Cold sores are caused by a virus, are highly contagious, and can be caught by sharing eating utensils, kissing, or other similar contact. To help with cold sores, you can use over-the-counter creams or ointments, both to help with pain and speed up the healing process. If you constantly get these sores you might want to see your doctor for a prescription.
Other oral lesions that you may encounter may include the following:
Canker sores are a mystery; we don’t really know what causes these tiny painful blisters inside your mouth. Triggers might include infection, hormones, hypersensitivity, stress, or vitamin deficiency. You can discover canker sores on your tongue, inside your cheek, and on your gums. The good news is that they usually go away after one or two weeks. If you have canker sores that linger longer than that, numbing creams, medication and even dental lasers can help rid them.
If you have a mouth sore that doesn’t go away, you may have oral cancer. Accompanying this sore might be numbness in your face, mouth, or neck, and you might have a hard time chewing, speaking or swallowing. Oral cancer can arise from smoking or using tobacco, heavy drinking, family history, overexposure to the sun, and possibly the human papillomavirus (HPV). Early treatment is key as these are highly curable cancers.
Black Hairy Tongue
Black hairy tongue looks scarier than it is. It is painless, harmless, and temporary. It happens when the tiny bumps on your tongue grow long and trap oral bacteria, making your tongue look black and hairy. Black hairy tongue can be a side effect of using antibiotics, poor oral hygiene, tobacco use, or drinking too much tea or coffee. Usually this condition can be relieved by cleaning your tongue gently twice a day, either with a toothbrush or tongue scraper, but if that doesn’t do the trick you might try medication.
If you have any questions or concerns, or would like more information, please call our Vela Dental Center team at 361.994.4900 today!