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Have you ever had a mouth sore so painful it interfered with your smile or eating?   These sores can be caused by numerous things; the result of ill-fitting dentures, braces or a broken tooth or filling.

However, they can also be caused by bacterial, viral or fungal infections; others are symptoms of certain diseases or disorders.  ANY mouth sore that persists for a week or more should be examined by your dentist.  A biopsy (tissue sample taken for testing) may be necessary.

There are numerous types of mouth sores and disorders, but the most common are canker sores, cold sores, leukoplakia (loo-co-play-kia) and candidiasis (can-di-dye-asis).


Canker sores are small ulcers that have a white or gray base and a red border.  They are very common, they reoccur and you can have one or many at a time.  While the exact cause is not known, some experts say it’s due to an immune system difficulty, bacteria or viruses.  Canker sores are not contagious and occur only inside of the mouth.

Factors that can increase the likelihood of canker sores:  Stress, fatigue or allergies.  Cuts that are a result of biting your cheek/tongue, reactions from foods/drinks or those who have intestinal problems (ulcerative colitis and/Crohn’s Disease) also seem more susceptible.

How do I get rid of Canker Sores?  You should see relief within a week or two, however you can ease the discomfort by rinsing with antimicrobial mouth rinses, warm, salt water or over-the-counter topical anesthetics.  Lastly, stay away from hot, spicy or acidic foods!


Cold sores (aka Fever Blisters or Herpes Simplex Virus Type I) are groups of painful, fluid-filled blisters which pop up around the lips, nose and chin.  The first infection (primary herpes) usually occurs before adulthood and may occur without symptoms.  It may also be confused with a cold or flu.  Painful lesions may also be present throughout your mouth. These sores are very contagious!

Once someone has a primary herpes infection, the virus stays in the body.  It may reoccur occasionally or stay dormant.  The recurrent lesions commonly occur around the edge of the lip and may present after a fever, sunburn, skin abrasions or stress.

How do I get rid of Cold Sores?  Relief is usually about a week away!  While you may want to try over-the-counter topical anesthetics for temporary relief, there are prescription antiviral drugs available that may reduce these viral infections.  ANY mouth sore that persists for a week or more should be examined by your dentist.  A biopsy (tissue sample taken for testing) may be necessary.


Leukoplakia is a thick, whitish-colored patch that forms on the gums, tongue or cheeks and essentially caused by excess cell growth.  The dangers of this are that it can progress to cancer.  Common irritants are tobacco use, ill fitting dentures or habitual chewing of your cheek.  ANY mouth sore that persists for a week or more should be examined by your dentist.  A biopsy (tissue sample taken for testing) may be necessary.

Treating Leukoplakia begins by examining the lesion, checking the results (if biopsied) and determining how to manage your care.  Removing the cause that contributes to the lesion is next.  For some, it may mean refraining from tobacco use, for others it may mean removal of their denture appliance and replacing it with one that fits properly.  Regardless, your lesion (or former site) will be examined at three to six month intervals, depending on its location and size.


Candidiasis is a fungal infection that occurs when yeast (Candida albicans) reproduces in abnormally large numbers.  You may have heard the term – Oral Thrush – referred to in young children…this is Candidiasis.  The Elderly, the immune suppressed, individuals with denture appliances and those debilitated by disease are most at risk, as are those who suffer from dry mouth.  Diet may also play a role. Candida may also flourish after antibiotic treatment when the normal bacteria in the mouth may have decreased.

You can recognize Candidiasis by the creamy, red patches that form on the moist surfaces of the mouth.  Swallowing may be difficult, as the tissue under these sores can be painful, and your sense of taste may be altered.

Treatment requires taking control of the conditions that caused the outbreak.  Cleaning dentures and removing them at night will allow the oral tissue to regenerate.  If antibiotics are the cause, it may require your physician lowering the dose or changing the treatment.  Over-the-counter saliva substitutes or prescription medications are available to add moisture to the mouth.  In the event the underlying cause is unavoidable or incurable. Contact Dr. Rule, the dentist Dentist Gurnee IL needs!

To schedule an appointment, call Illinois Dentist, Dr. Bradley Rule at 847-662-7717

‘Creating Beautiful Smiles For A Lifetime’ to families in Gurnee, Grayslake, Libertyville, Lindenhurst and Wadsworth IL.  We look forward to hearing from you!


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