If you have the following signs it may indicate a mouth sore or oral lesion.
- Canker sores: Canker sores appear as small white swellings or sores inside the mouth with an area of redness around it. Canker sores are not transmitted from one person to other as the cold sores, which are caused by herpes virus and are contagious. Canker sores are seen inside the mouth, whereas cold sores generally crop up outside the mouth. Canker sores are often recurrent. The lesions can be small, big or herpetiform (multiple, in groups or clusters). The exact cause of canker sores is not known but according to some experts immune system problems, bacteria or viruses may be involved. Factors that possibly increase the risk are stress, trauma, allergies, cigarette smoking, iron or other vitamin deficiencies, and heredity.
- Cold sores: Cold sores are also known as fever blisters or herpes simplex. They appear as groups of painful, fluid-filled blisters. Cold sores occur mostly in the region of the lips, underneath the nose or around the chin. This oral lesion is caused by herpes virus and is very contagious. If you are once infected by herpes virus, it stays in the body forever. In some people the virus remains inactive and in others it can cause recurrent attacks.
- Leukoplakia: Leukoplakia appears as a thick, whitish patch mostly on the inner cheek, gums or tongue. It occurs mostly in smokers or people who use tobacco. Other possible causes are badly fitting dentures, broken teeth and chewing on one's cheek. In about 5 percent of patients leukoplakia can progress to cancer. If you stop smoking leukoplakia may heal.
- Candidiasis: Candidiasis or oral thrush is caused by fungal infection (candida albicans a yeast). It appears as a creamy, yellow-white or red patch on moist surface inside the mouth. Oral thrush is painful. It occurs mostly-- in people who wear dentures, have had a prolonged course of antibiotic, have a debilitating disease (such as cancer, HIV) and those whose immune system is weak. Newborns are also prone to develop oral thrush.