Mouth Sores

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Sores or localized abnormalities inside the mouth can arise from a number of causes. Most commonly, mouth sores represent aphthous ulcers, also known as canker sores or aphthous stomatitis. These shallow, painful mouth ulcers often occur in susceptible individuals during times of stress, infection, or changes in immune status. Certain medications, for example methotrexate, can cause canker sores as well as deficiencies in some B vitamins (1, 2, 6, and 12), iron, folic acid, and zinc. However, irritation, injury, or infection of any of the tissues in the oral cavity can also lead to mouth sores. Sores in the mouth can occur with certain systemic (affecting multiple locations within the body) diseases such as Crohn's disease, Behçet's syndrome, and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Rarely, mouth sores are among the initial signs of oral cancers. Herpes simplex virus infection causes so-called cold sores, which are typically located on the lips, but they can also occur on the gums.

Patients may experience the related symptoms of Bleeding Gums, Lump Or Mass On Gums, and/or Painful Gums.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/22/2014

Health concern on your mind? Visit the Symptom Checker.

REFERENCE:

Fauci, Anthony S., et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 17th ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2008.

Causes of Mouth Sores
    • Behcet's Syndrome Behçet's syndrome is a disease characterized by three symptoms: genital ulcers, recurring mouth ulcers, and inflammation...learn more »
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      • Behçet's syndrome facts
      • What is Behçet's syndrome?
      • What are symptoms of Behçet's syndrome?
      • How is Behçet's syndrome diagnosed?
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    • Canker Sores Canker sore is a small ulcer crater in the lining of the mouth. Canker sores are one of the most common problems that occur in...learn more »
      In This Article
      Canker Sores Article
      • Canker sores facts
      • What are canker sores?
      • What are symptoms of canker sores?
      • What are the causes of canker sores?
      • Are canker sores the same as fever blisters?
      • What is the treatment for canker sores?
      • What kind of topical medications (gels or ointments) are available for canker sores?
      • Can mouthwash solutions be used with canker sores?
      • What oral medications are available to help canker sores?
      • What should I do if I get canker sores frequently?
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      Chickenpox (Varicella) Article
      • Chickenpox facts
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    • Dental Injuries Dental injuries range from a chipped or fractured tooth to a knocked out tooth. Treatment depends upon the severity of the dental...learn more »
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      • Introduction
      • What is a tooth fracture?
      • What is a serious tooth fracture?
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      • How common is dry mouth?
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      • How is gum disease managed in pregnancy?
      • Can gum disease be prevented?
      • Is gum disease contagious?
    • Hand Foot and Mouth Disease Hand-foot-and-mouth syndrome is clinical pattern consisting of a rash on the hands and feet, and in the mouth....learn more »
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      In This Article
      Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Article
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      • Additional Resources
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      • What is the prognosis for patients with Sjögren's syndrome?
      • Conclusion
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      • What tests are used to diagnose syphilis?
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      • What are the potential complications of syphilis?
      • What is the prognosis for syphilis?
      • Can syphilis be prevented?
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      • Thyroid cancer symptoms*
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      • Thyroid hormone treatment
      • Radioactive iodine therapy
      • External radiation therapy
      • Chemotherapy
      • Second opinion
      • Follow-up care
      • Sources of support
      • Taking part in cancer research
Other Causes of Mouth Sores
  • Angular Cheilitis
  • Cold Sores
  • Erythema Multiforme/Stevens-Johnson Syndrome
  • Medications
  • Mucocele
  • Pemphigus Vulgaris
  • Ulcer
  • Vitamin or Mineral Deficiency
Examples of Medications for Mouth Sores
  • amlexanox - mucous membrane, Aphthasol
  • triamcinolone - dental, Kenalog in Orabase, Oralone




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