Adolescence brings visible and hidden changes to the human body, making your annoying pimple in mouth one of many regular occurrences.
Human mouth, as the first part of the gastrointestinal tract, helps us receive food and communicate. Regardless of its importance, the oral cavity, consisting of lips, cheeks, roof and floor of the mouth, gums, and many more parts, is still threatened by internal as well as external elements on regular basis.
What is a mouth pimple and how can I treat a painful pimple in my mouth? This article will help you answer your burning questions and solve many more dilemmas regarding oral health.
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“Mouth pimples” medically known as canker sores
“Mouth pimples”, medically known as canker sores, are small, painful, raised ulcers that appear on the membrane of the oral cavity, whether on the palate (roof of the mouth), inside the cheeks, gums, under the tongue, throat or inside lips. These white spots surrounded by red, inflamed border may not be noticeable to other people, however, they can be very tender, painful and bothersome to the affected individual, especially when talking, chewing, and drinking.
The medicine distinguishes two types of canker sores:
- Simple canker sores most commonly affect people in 10- 20 years age group. They may appear 3-4 times per year, lasting up to a week before fading away.
- Complex canker sores are larger and more painful than simple canker sores. They may take more than one month to heal.
The use of quotations marks at the beginning of the first sentence indicates that canker sores are actually not regular pimples. Skin pimples, which most commonly appear on the face and back, are the result of skin pores being clogged with dead skin cells, natural oils (sebum) or other microscopic elements. Human mouth, on the other hand, is covered in completely different tissue known as oral mucosa that develops protruding bumps for specific reasons discussed in the following paragraphs.
Symptoms of canker sores
Before any visually and physically evident signs of canker sore appear, the targeted spot in mouth feels tender and sensitive. Within few days, the irritated site manifests itself in round, painful, open sore the size of pencil eraser tip. You can recognize the newly developed lesion by the red, inflamed border and its white, pus-like center.
Other rare symptoms of canker sores may include:
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Physical sluggishness
If you experience any of these rare symptoms, or if your canker sore lasts longer than three weeks, visit your specialist immediately.
The bump in your mouth may be indicating more serious health problems, such as celiac or Crohn’s disease.
Causes of canker sores
The exact causes of canker sores are still unknown. With that being said, here is an assembled list of factors most commonly associated with canker sore flare-ups:
- Physical and emotional stress
- Sleep deprivation
- Weakened immune system
- Menstrual cycle
- Hormonal imbalances and changes
- Allergies to dental products
- Folic acid, iron, zinc, and vitamin B12 deficiency
- Diet consisting of poorly balanced nutrient content
A white pimple in mouth often develops as a result of physical trauma to the oral cavity. Here is a list of most common factors known for agitating and damaging oral mucosa lining:
- Poor tooth brushing technique
- Hard toothbrush bristles
- Rough and abrasive foods such as granola, chips, cereal, and pretzels
- Spicy, salty, and acidic foods
- Dentures and braces
- Accidental biting of cheeks of tongue
Difference between cold sores and canker sores
We often misdiagnose ourselves when noticing a pimple in corner of mouth. “Is it a cold sore or a canker sore?” may be the first question that pops in our mind. People often mistake these two completely different conditions due to their appearance, the location of flare-ups or simply because of their names.
The evident factor that will help you separate a cold sore from canker sore is the location of concerning lesion. Canker sores appear solely inside the oral cavity while cold sores usually appear outside the mouth rather than inside.
Since we have already discussed the causes of canker sores, it is important to know that cold sores, also known as fever blisters, are most commonly caused by Herpes Simplex Virus type 1 (HSV-1).
The main difference between these two conditions still lies in their contagiousness. Canker colds are not contagious and cannot be transmitted by saliva, while HSV-1 is extremely contagious and can be transmitted from one individual to another when sharing a spoon or drinking from the same glass.
Treatments and prevention
Simple canker sores in mild from usually vanish within few days to a week. Even if your pimple in mouth doesn’t require any medical treatment, you can still relieve the bothersome pain with the help of some over-the-counter oral medications or these 4 homemade remedies.
- Chamomile tea bag compress
Soak 1 chamomile tea bag in fresh water for 1 minute or soak 1 tablespoon of dried chamomile flowers wrapped in cheesecloth in water for 3-4 minutes. Place the soaked chamomile tea compress against the canker sore for 5-10 minutes twice a day to relieve the pain and speed up the healing process.
- Sage mouth rinse
Add 2 teaspoons of dried sage to the boiling water. Let the herb infuse the water for 10 minutes. Swish the liquid and sage in your mouth for 1 minute before spitting it out. When done, rinse your oral cavity with plain cold water.
- Clove essential oil cotton ball
Firstly, swish your mouth with warm water or salt water to clean your oral cavity of any food particles. Mix ½ teaspoon of olive oil with 4-5 drops of clove essential oil. Soak the cotton ball in your oil mix and apply it directly to the canker sore for 5-8 minutes.
- Honey balm
Rinse your mouth with warm water and apply a thick coat of organic raw honey directly on the canker sore. Reapply honey 2-3 times per day. The last repetition should be applied before going to bed.
If you are affected by the severe case of canker sores, pay a visit to your physician or dentist. The specialist will put your through appropriate treatment.
With synthetic medicine and natural remedies at our disposal, we tend to forget the importance of prevention. Here are the last 6 simple tips that will help you lower the frequency of new flare-ups:
- Avoid eating foods that irritate your mouth (citrus fruits, pineapples, figs, strawberries, apples, tomatoes, spicy food etc.).
- Avoid irritation caused by gum chewing.
- Brush your teeth with soft bristled brush and floss daily.
- Follow nutritionally well-balanced diet.
- Monitor your vitamin B12, iron, and folic acid intake. Deficiency of these nutrients may cause canker sores.
- Avoid wearing lipstick and lip balm. The chemicals within the formula and environmental dust stuck to your lips may cause irritation.