How to Treat Mouth Inflammation

By Sophia Agrella

January 10, 2024   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

How to Treat Mouth Inflammation

Mouth sores and inflammation are not uncommon and can happen to people at different points in their lives. These dental conditions can develop in different parts of the mouth, such as the roof, gums, lips, cheeks, and even the esophagus. They vary in size and appearance depending on the part that’s affected. Some people with mouth sores may suffer redness and swelling inside the mouth; some suffer blisters, while some may experience painful mouth ulcers.

What’s more, mouth ulcer occur as a result of the breaking down of cells. It then caused a hole to form in the mouth lining, which can be painful. People who suffer benign ulcers may experience pain in the mouth that deters them from eating. And as a result, they may become malnourished and dehydrated. Some ulcers appear white due to the interaction of food debris and dead cells, while most ulcers are usually red in appearance.

Furthermore, people who suffer blisters in the lining of the mouth may discover clear fluid, also known as vesicles, inside the formed blister. However, for some people with mouth inflammation or sores, the mouth might still appear normal. In some cases, mouth sores are usually caused by a minor irritation and would resolve within two weeks. But, for some people, it could be a sign of a viral infection or mouth cancer.

Symptoms of Mouth Sores and Inflammation

Mouth sores usually come with redness and pain, which can worsen as the patient eats and drinks. Severe mouth ulcers may cause bleeding. You can also experience a burning sensation around the sore. In some cases, the mouth sore may develop blisters. If you experience frequent or large sores accompanied by fever, rash, or diarrhea, you should consult your doctor.

Symptoms of Mouth Sores and Inflammation

Causes of Mouth Sores and Inflammation

A variety of different factors causes mouth sores. The health factors may include infections, decreased saliva production, diseases, allergic reactions, and food irritation, while external factors may include chemical irritants and physical injury. The most specific causes may include

  • Viral infections,
  • Stomatitis,
  • Fungi/bacterial infection,
  • Use of Tobacco,
  • Systemic disorders,
  • Chemotherapy and radiation therapy drugs.

Viral Infection

Viral infections are one of the common causes of mouth infections in many people. The herpes simplex viruses can cause ulcers to develop on the palate, cold sores, and mouth sores. Other viruses such as Varicella-zoster, which causes skin infections like chickenpox, can make multiple mouth sores develop inside the mouth. Mouth sores caused by viruses are stubborn and never really go away completely; they only subside. In some cases, the patient may experience pain in the mouth for months, even when the sore heals.


Injury inside the mouth can cause ulceration or blisters to form in the mouth. Factors that may cause damage to the mouth may include using poorly fitted dentures or accident bites on the insides of the cheek; when the blisters form, the surface rupture subsequently hence causing ulceration on the mouth.

Fungi/Bacterial infections

Fungi/Bacterial infections

The mouth typically contains candida albican, but when there’s an overgrowth, it can cause white patches to form on top of the mouth layer. Also, mouth sores can develop when there’s an imbalance in the number of organisms inside the mouth. Also, introducing harmful bacteria such as syphilis-causing and gonorrhea-causing bacteria can cause mouth sores and inflammation.

The inflammation forms as the bacterial infection spreads from the gums and teeth to form an abscess or cellulitis. Patients who suffer from syphilis may have a harmless sore (typically red) at the early stages of infection. At the middle stage, it develops into a white, highly contagious mucous patch that can pass from one person to another during kissing. Subsequently, it forms a hole in the tongue or palate and is no longer infectious.

Tobacco Use

Tobacco Use

Tobacco contains carcinogens, irritants, and toxins that can trigger mouth sores to develop easily. The ingredients found in tobacco can dry out the lining of the mouth, change its normal temperature, and make it susceptible to infections; these can make the mouth prone to mouth sores.

Food and Chemical Irritation

Mouth sores can be caused by irritation from certain chemicals or food. Certain acidic, acetic, or intensely flavored food can irritate the mouth and even trigger allergies in some people. Also, some constituents found in mouthwash, toothpaste, chewy gums, and candies can trigger irritation and cause mouth sores.

Systemic Disorders

Some systemic diseases can affect the mouth as well as other parts of the body. Inflammatory conditions such as Behçet disease affect the skin, eyes, brain, blood vessels, genitals, and mouth. Other skin diseases such as Stevens-Johnson syndrome, Pemphigus Vulgaris, and Lichen planus can cause mouth sores and, in some cases, cause blisters to form. People that are vitamin B, vitamin C, and iron-deficient can experience mouth sores.

Drugs and Radiation Therapy

Chemotherapy drugs are one of the common drugs that cause mouth sores. Other drugs like rheumatoid arthritis drugs and autoimmune diseases drugs can also cause mouth sores. However, since they are rarely used, chemotherapy drugs are the most common causes. Radiation therapy can also cause mouth sores in some people.

Treatment of Mouth Sores and Inflammation

Treatment of mouth sores includes treating the causative factor, topical treatments, and avoiding food and chemical irritants.

Treating the Causative Factor

Doctors treat the underlying infection that’s causing the mouth sores. For instance, if it’s a bacterial infection causing the mouth sore, the doctor prescribes antibiotics for the patient.

Using Topical Treatments

Applying treatment directly to the mouth can help to treat mouth sores. Topical treatments for mouth sores include anesthetics, corticosteroids, protective coatings, and burning with chemicals or lasers. Anesthetic and protective coatings can be used in the form of mouth rinse; some anesthetics like viscous lidocaine can be applied directly on the sore. Mouth rinses with alcohol can irritate mouth sores further and make them worse. Doctors can prescribe corticosteroid treatments to non-infectious mouth sores. Lasers can help to relieve pain from mouth sores and prevent it from coming back.



In some cases, mouth sores could be a sign of an underlying infection. If you experience mouth sores for more than two weeks, you should see your doctor or a dentist to ensure it’s not cancerous. If you experience pain, difficulty eating, and generally feel unwell; you’ll need to see a doctor. People who experience mouth sores frequently may need to cut back on some foods one at a time to check if it’s the food that’s causing the mouth sore. Some toothpaste brands can contribute to mouth sores; if you suspect your toothpaste brand is making you have mouth sores, consider changing your brand.

Sophia Agrella

Sophia Agrella is a Medical Content Writer. She covers topics about mouth inflammation, oral care for elder people and so on.

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