Cold sores are also called fever blisters or herpes simplex. Cold sores are usually caused by the herpes simplex I virus. Cold sores are highly contagious.
Leukoplakia results from excess cell growth. Leukoplakia is considered a precancerous condition and can lead to cancer. It can result from irritants in the mouth including smoking, chewing tobacco, poor fitting dentures, broken teeth, or the habit of chewing on your cheek. It may also be one of the first signs of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
Candidiasis is also called moniliasis or oral thrush. Candidiasis is a fungal infection caused by candida albicans, a yeast. It is common among denture wearers and newborns. In some people, it may occur after treatment with certain antibiotics. People with dry mouth are especially susceptible to the fungus. Candidiasis can repeatedly affect people with immune system disorders, including HIV, AIDS, and cancer.
Cold sores usually heal in about a week. There is no cure for herpes simplex I. Over-the-counter medications can provide symptom relief. Your doctor can prescribe antiviral medications that may help reduce the outbreaks.
Removing the irritant that causes the lesions treats leukoplakia. You may need to stop smoking or get new dentures. Your doctor will monitor the affected site and take a biopsy. Your doctor will explain treatment options for precancerous and cancerous conditions.
Removing or controlling the factors that cause it treats candidiasis. You should brush and floss your teeth according to your dentist’s or doctor’s instructions. Clean your dentures thoroughly. Do not wear dentures at night. If you have dry mouth, saliva substitutes can help. If your candidiasis is caused by a side effect from prescription medication or an underlying medical condition, talk to your dentist or doctor about treatments to combat the condition and relieve your symptoms.
PreventionIt can be helpful to practice good oral hygiene and receive regular dental check-ups and cleaning. Contact your dentist if your dentures do not fit properly. You should stop using smoking or chewing tobacco products. Avoid direct contact with people that have contagious mouth sores.
Am I at Risk
Risk factors for mouth sores:
_____ People with immune suppressing conditions, such as HIV, AIDS, and cancer have an increased risk for developing mouth sores, particularly leukoplakia and candidiasis.
_____ Cold sores are highly contagious and can be spread by contact between people.
_____ Smoking or chewing tobacco products increases the risk of mouth sores and precancerous conditions.
_____ Poor fitting dentures, poor oral hygiene, or mouth trauma increases the risk of mouth sores.
_____ Certain gastrointestinal disorders, allergies, stress, heredity, and nutritional deficiencies may contribute to the development of mouth sores.
_____ Certain medications, such as some antibiotics, increases the risk of mouth sores.
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This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.
The iHealthSpot patient education library was written collaboratively by the iHealthSpot editorial team which includes Senior Medical Authors Dr. Mary Car-Blanchard, OTD/OTR/L and Valerie K. Clark, and the following editorial advisors: Steve Meadows, MD, Ernie F. Soto, DDS, Ronald J. Glatzer, MD, Jonathan Rosenberg, MD, Christopher M. Nolte, MD, David Applebaum, MD, Jonathan M. Tarrash, MD, and Paula Soto, RN/BSN. This content complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information. The library commenced development on September 1, 2005 with the latest update/addition on February 16, 2022. For information on iHealthSpot’s other services including medical website design, visit www.iHealthSpot.com.