Mouth Sores and Swollen Gums: What Do They Mean?

Inflammation and soreness in the mucosal layer of the mouth, known as stomatitis, is a serious condition and may affect a person’s ability to talk, eat and sleep. Stomatitis can occur on the gums, palate, tongue, lips, the inside of cheeks, or anywhere inside the mouth.

Swollen gums may be due to a number of different causes, but it is important to take care if your gums are swollen, as chronic gum swelling may cause permanent damage to the teeth and gums.

What Causes Swollen Gums and Mouth Sores?

1. Oral Herpes

One common cause of stomatitis, particularly in children, is infection with herpes simplex virus (HSV). Oral HSV infection can produce a number of unpleasant symptoms, including pain, fever, irritability, dribbling and difficulty swallowing, as well as swollen gums. Blisters may form in the mouth and, upon popping, produce ulcers. Although oral herpes is a recurring condition, the first episode is often the worst.

HSV infection is usually treated with an antiviral medication: acyclovir, valaciclovir, famciclovir or penciclovir, in either pill or cream form.

In addition, you can take the following actions to alleviate symptoms:

You also need to be careful that the condition does not spread to others, especially children, as it is highly contagious.

2. Canker Sores

Canker sores, also known as mouth ulcers, are small, white round lesions, and may develop anywhere within the mouth, including on the gums. The condition may present as an individual ulcer or occur in clusters, and can be very painful. A canker sore will typically last for about one week before healing over; however, some lesions may persist and require treatment. It can also cause your gum to be swollen.

There are several different types of treatment for canker sores:

3. Chemotherapy

The development of swollen, painful and bleeding gums is a common side-effect of cancer chemotherapy. Cancer treatment may also cause in generalized stomatitis, resulting in painful sores throughout the mouth.

4. Lack of Nutrients

Nutritional deficiencies, particularly a lack of vitamins B and C, may also predispose somebody to swollen gums. For example, vitamin C is important in the maintenance and repair of gums and teeth. By eating a balanced diet, you will greatly decrease the likelihood of developing gum issues.

5. Other Causes

There are many other possible causes of swollen gums and mouth sores, including:

How to Deal with Swollen Gums and Mouth Sores

Mouth sores are generally self-limiting, and will clear by themselves within two weeks. If an underlying cause, for example a bacterial, fungal or viral infection, can be identified, specific treatment will be prescribed. If no particular cause is diagnosed, therapy will commonly focus on relieving the patient’s symptoms.

The pain and irritation caused by swollen gums and mouth sores may be alleviated using the following remedies:

Can It Be Strep Throat?

As strep throat is very common and people with swollen gums and mouth sores may wonder if they have strep throat. In fact, strep throat rarely causes mouth sores.

One possible cause of swollen gum sore throat may be infection of the oral cavity with Streptococcus bacteria, also known as strep throat. There are many general signs and symptoms of strep throat, including the following:

However, many of these signs and symptoms are non-specific; your doctor will need to perform a test to identify Streptococcus bacteria in order to confirm the diagnosis. It is also important to note that infection with Streptococcus may not cause any signs or symptoms, and a person may only be a carrier of the bacteria.

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