Mouth Sores: Skin Disorders In The Mouth/Lips

The mouth and lips are usually very moist regions. Mouth diseases, lip sores, mouth sores and other disorders may develop in these regions.

Fordyce Glands

Fordyce glands appear as lip and mouth sores and are generally harmless.

Fordyce glands are very common skin lesions found in otherwise healthy individuals, which appear as white spots on the inner walls of the buccal cheeks (the area between the inside of the cheek and the teeth and gums) and along the lips. They are abnormal oil glands and are harmless. There is no specific treatment, and they are best left alone.

Fissured Tongue

Unlike most mouth ulcers, there is no treatment for a fissured tongue.

A fissured tongue has prominent furrows on its surface. It can be seen in normal people but is also more common in people with Down syndrome. There is no specific treatment for this disorder, and it is best left alone.

Oral Candidiasis

Children and adults can suffer from mouth ulcers.

Oral candidiasis is a mouth infection caused by yeast. It can be seen in children and also in adults who have badly fitting dentures or who are taking broad-spectrum antibiotics or oral steroids, or who are suffering from diabetes or a depressed immune system. White, creamy patches appear on the oral mucosa (the mucous membrane lining the inside of the mouth) or the tongue, leaving raw, red spots when the white patches are scraped off.

Treatments include oral hygiene, elimination of predisposing factors and the use of topical or/and oral antifungal agents. Patients should consult their doctors to be investigated. They should not self-medicate as an underlying disorder has to be excluded.

Oral Leukoplakia

The elderly may be susceptible to certain types of mouth sores or mouth ulcers.

Commonly seen in the elderly, oral leukoplakia appears as white patches on the tongue's surface or the mucosa of the mouth or lips. The white patches cannot be easily wiped off. Smoking, tobacco chewing and chronic irritation, e.g., from poorly fitting dentures, can lead to leukoplakia. The lesion may become cancerous, so you need to consult a doctor who will arrange a biopsy and close monitoring.

Cold Sores (Herpetic Gingivostomatitis)

Lip sores may be caused by viral infections.

Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus; this is a mouth and lip infection that often occurs in children. Blisters, erosions, and crusting may be seen on the lips and buccal mucosa. In addition to mouth and lip sores, the child often also has a fever, malaise and enlarged lymph nodes. 

Cold sores are infectious. Severe attacks may require an oral antiviral agent, and the blisters and erosions in the mouth usually take two weeks to clear. Attacks can recur, but the skin lesions are usually less severe.

Aphthous Ulcers

Mouth ulcers may take weeks to dissipate.

Aphthous ulcers are a troublesome condition that affects otherwise healthy individuals. They appear in recurrent episodes of small painful ulcers on the tongue and/or buccal mucosa, each episode lasting one to several weeks before healing. For some patients, this may indicate an iron, folate or vitamin B12 deficiency. 

Symptomatic treatment may be given with anti-inflammatory analgesic/anaesthetic gels; they can also be treated with topical steroid gel. More severe cases may require oral medication.

Oral Lichen Planus

Mouth sores can sometimes be painful.

Oral lichen planus appears as white streaks in a lace-like pattern on the tongue and/or buccal mucosa. It is usually associated with purplish skin lesions on the body, especially around the wrists and ankles. The oral lesions may be itchy, painful or asymptomatic. A biopsy is usually taken to confirm the diagnosis and to exclude malignant transformation. The condition is treated with topical steroid gel.

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