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If you have felt bumps, ulcers or sores inside your mouth or on your tongue, you are not alone! Oral lesions are fairly common occurrences and can show up due to infection, inflammation, or even cancer. But the most often occurring oral lesions are from viral and fungal infections.

Cold Sores

Cold sores are often called fever blisters, which is a misnomer because you don’t actually get cold sores from fevers or colds, but they can be triggered by them. Cold sores are very contagious, spread by virus and by close contact. If you or someone you know has a cold, do not share utensils or toothbrushes (which is a bad idea anyway) and you might not want to be kissing. However, cold sores are easily treated using over-the-counter creams or ointments that help with pain and healing. A doctor’s prescription is an option if you get cold sores frequently.

Canker Sores

No one can really tell you why you get canker sores. These small, painful blisters inside your mouth can be triggered by 1) infection 2) hormones 3) hypersensitivity 4) stress or 5) vitamin deficiency. You might find them on your tongue, inside your cheek, or on your gums. They typically disappear within a couple of weeks, but if they last longer you can use numbing creams, medications and see about dental lasers to send them packing.

Black Hairy Tongue

This sounds scary, and looks even scarier, but black hairy tongue is both harmless and painless. This temporary condition manifests when the tiny bumps on your tongue grow long and traps oral bacteria. It can be caused by using antibiotics, poor oral hygiene, using tobacco, drinking lots of coffee and tea. You can prevent hairy tongue by brushing gently twice each day, using a toothbrush or scrape the tongue with a tongue scraper. If this doesn’t work you can use medication.

Oral Cancer

What if you have an oral lesion that never leaves? This is a possible sign of oral cancer, and can manifest itself by numbness in the face, mouth, or neck along with difficulty chewing, speaking or swallowing. Oral cancer has various causes including family history, long-term tobacco use, heavy drinking, overexposure to the sun, or from the human papillomavirus (HPV). Because oral cancer is highly treatable and curable when caught in the early stages, you can find relief.

If you have any questions or concerns, or would like more information, please call our Monon Family Dental team at 317-810-9285 today!