Mouth problems aren’t always contained to your mouth. They can manifest on your lips and the top of your throat. Here are the top 4 most common mouth problems, what they look like, causes, and how to treat them.

  1.  Cold sores: Small, often painful, fluid-filled mouth blisters that appear on the lips or around the mouth. Cold sores are contagious and spread through contact. Treatment includes over-the-counter creams or prescriptions. Left on their own, cold sores will go away in 1-2 weeks.
  2. Mouth ulcers (canker sores): Canker sores are small, often very painful blisters on the inside of the mouth. They can appear on the inside of the lips and cheek, on the gums, or along the top of the throat. The cause isn’t known, but triggers vary between individuals and can include stress, certain foods, hormones, infection, and lack of vitamins. Mouth ulcers are can be treated with over-the-counter numbing gels and typically go away within 1-2 weeks.
  3. Black hairy tongue: So named because the tongue appears black and lined. Black hairy tongue is caused when the bumps on your tongue grow long and trap the bacteria that naturally occurs in your mouth. This can happen as a result of poor oral hygiene, smoking, antibiotic use, and not producing enough saliva. The good news is, this condition is treated fairly easily by brushing the tongue.
  4. Oral thrush: Most common in elderly adults and young children, oral thrush is caused by Candida yeast on the tongue. It can be caused by using antibiotics, diabetes, and certain medications. These light-colored tongue patches can be difficult to remove. It’s best to see a doctor if you think you’ve contracted oral thrush.

The good news is, these common mouth problems are just that, common. They can often be treated by simple medications and hygienic precautions. If you’re concerned, though, about a problem with your mouth or throat, be sure to seek medical attention.

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