Mouth sores may make eating and talking painful. The most
common mouth sores are
cold sores and
canker sores. In severe cases of canker sores, a
doctor may prescribe a medicine to ease inflammation and
Other possible causes of mouth sores include:
Impetigo. Symptoms may include oozing,
honey-colored, crusty sores that appear on the face, usually between the upper
lip and nose. Impetigo is more common in children than adults.
Hand-foot-and-mouth disease (Coxsackie
virus), in children. Ulcers may appear on the inside of the cheeks and on the
gums and sides of the tongue, usually lasting 2 to 3 days. These symptoms,
which usually are mild, may also occur with a blister-type rash on the palms of
the hands and soles of the feet. Although the mouth sores may only last 2 to 3
days, the illness may last a week.
Herpangina (Coxsackie virus). The virus most commonly occurs
in the summer and autumn. It starts with a high fever, sore throat, headache,
and a general feeling of illness (malaise). Usually, painful sores (ulcers)
develop in the back of the mouth, especially the soft palate, within 24 to 48
hours of the fever. The illness lasts 7 to 10 days.
Medicines. Chemotherapy, sulfa drugs, phenytoin (such as
Dilantin), and gold compounds are a few examples of medicines that can cause
Inflammation of the gum and mouth tissue (gingivostomatitis), which is common in children. A child who has
gum sores and a fever or who does not feel well should be evaluated by a health
Chickenpox. Chickenpox sores
in the mouth look different than chickenpox on the body. In the mouth, the
sores look like raised bumps (papules) and then turn into shallow ulcers. Sores
on the body crust over after the blister stage, but crusting does not occur in
Injury. Tongue ulcers may result
from biting, chewing, or burning of the tongue.
Piercings. Mouth, tongue, and lip sores can be caused by the
piercing itself or by irritation from the jewelry used in the
Oral cancer, which may develop in
any part of the oral cavity. Your chances of getting oral cancer are increased
if you smoke, use smokeless (spit) tobacco, or use alcohol
Skin diseases. Blisters in the
mouth can be caused by
immune system diseases, such as
lichen planus, pemphigus vulgaris, pemphigoid,
lupus, or erythema multiforme.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.