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If you have ever discovered bumps, ulcers or sores inside your mouth or on your tongue you may have wondered what was happening. Oral lesions are fairly common occurrences, depending on the cause, and can show up because of infection, inflammation, or cancer. The most often seen oral lesions are viral and fungal infections.

Cold Sores: Also known as fever blisters, you don’t actually get cold sores from fevers or colds—but they can be triggered by them. These sores are highly contagious and are spread by virus, by close contact like sharing eating utensils, kissing, and things of that nature. Cold sores are easily treated using over-the-counter creams or ointments that help with pain and healing. If you get cold sores a lot, you can get a prescription from a doctor to help.

Canker Sores: Canker sores show up when they want to, no one can really tell you why you get them. These small, painful blisters inside your mouth can be triggered by infection, hormones, hypersensitivity, stress, or even a vitamin deficiency. They can be found on your tongue, inside your cheek, or on your gums. They do usually go away within a couple of weeks, and if for some reason they last longer than that, there are numbing creams, medications and even dental lasers to help remove them.

Black Hairy Tongue: This is a harmless and painless condition that looks scarier than it actually is. A temporary condition manifests when the tiny bumps on your tongue grow long, trapping oral bacteria and making your tongue appear black and hairy. Antibiotic use, poor oral hygiene, tobacco use, and coffee and tea drinking are all potential causes of black hairy tongue. It can be relieved by cleaning: gently brush or scrape your tongue twice a day with a toothbrush or tongue scraper. Medication can also help if cleaning doesn’t work.

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 can come from long-term tobacco use, heavy drinking, a family history of cancer, overexposure to the sun, and even the human papillomavirus (HPV). The good news is that oral cancers are highly treatable and curable when caught early on.

If you have any questions or concerns, or would like more information, please call our Smile Fresh Dental team at 248-255-4585 today!