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Sunday, 29 October 2017

Oral Soft Tissue Soreness

Dr. Vincent Wan


Besides the gums, the mouth has other soft tissues such as the lips, cheeks and tongue.  These soft tissues can become sore for a variety of reasons.  Let’s look at 4 common ones:

Physical Trauma

We all have accidentally bitten our lip, cheek or tongue.  A knock to the mouth such as during the playing of sport can commonly cause cuts, abrasions and bruising to the lips and cheeks.  Clamping the mouth shut due to the impact of the knock can also cause biting of the tongue.  Wearing a custom sports mouthguard made by a dentist not only shields the teeth, but also offers some protection to the oral soft tissues.  Traumatised areas generally heal by themselves, but deep cuts may need to be sutured closed by a doctor.

Mouth Ulcers

We have most likely all had a mouth ulcer before too.  Mouth ulcers or canker sores are small white spots with a red border which can be sore to touch.  They usually occur on the insides of the lips and cheeks as well as underneath the tongue.  They generally occur when our immune system is overworked when we are sick or stressed.  They are also associated with hormonal changes in women and after eating spicy or acidic things.  Mouth ulcers should subside by themselves within 2 weeks.  If they don’t or keep coming back in the same spot, you should get them checked by a dentist or doctor as they may not be simple mouth ulcers.

Cold Sores

Cold sores are blisters around the lips that leak fluid and crust over.  They are caused by the herpes simplex virus.  They are highly contagious and spread via skin to skin contact.  They will go away by themselves but will come back as the virus lies dormant in a carrier’s body.  When the immune system is weak and the dormant virus cannot be controlled, cold sores will form.  Anti-viral medication may help reduce the duration of cold sores.

Oral Thrush

Painful yellow or white patches on the tongue and insides of the cheeks may be oral thrush.  The patches can usually be scrapped off.  Oral thrush is an infection caused by the fungus, Candida.  It tends to occur when the body’s immune system is compromised and the fungus, which normally lives in the mouth, overgrows.  Oral thrush is typically treated with a course of anti-fungal medication.