Read below about mouth lesions, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your mouth lesions from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

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A.I. Health Assistant Causes for Mouth Lesions

Updated on Aug. 29, 2018

The list below shows results from the use of our A.I. Health Assistant by Buoy users who experienced mouth lesions. This list does not constitute medical advice.

  1. 1.Canker Sore

    Canker sores are small, grayish-white sores in the mouth, often on the inside of the cheeks, lips, and on the tongue. No one really knows why canker sores happen, but it seems to be inherited and susceptible to vitamin deficiencies and allergies.

    1 week

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    painful mouth sore, numerous mouth sores, mouth sore surrounded by a red area, single mouth sore, oral ulcer
    Symptoms that always occur with canker sore:
    painful mouth sore
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  2. 2.Cold Sore

    Cold sores (also called oral herpes or fever blisters), are viral infections of the mouth caused by the herpes virus type 1. You were probably infected very early in life as a child when an adult kissed you. The virus stays asleep (dormant) and causes infections every now and then after exposure to lots of sun or emotional/physical stress. It is contagious when an outbreak is happening, but treatment is limited unless you are immunocompromised.

    1-2 weeks. Natural healing process starts within 24 hours of the initial sore starting.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    mouth lesions, itchy mouth, pain on the outside of the lips, lip numbness, burning pain on the outside of the lips
    Symptoms that always occur with cold sore:
    mouth lesions
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  3. 3.Viral Infection of the Mouth & Throat

    Herpangina is a viral illness usually caused by coxsackie virus A. It involves ulcers and sores (lesions) inside the mouth, a sore throat, and fever.

    Less than a week

    Rarity:
    Ultra rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, loss of appetite, cough, fever, sore throat
    Symptoms that always occur with viral infection of the mouth & throat:
    mouth sores
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment

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  4. 4.Hand - Foot - and - Mouth Disease

    Hand-foot-and-mouth disease is a mild, contagious viral infection common in young children. It is characterized by sores in the mouth and a rash on the hands and feet.

    7-10 days

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    loss of appetite, cough, fever, new headache, sore throat
    Symptoms that always occur with hand-foot-and-mouth disease:
    spontaneous skin changes
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  5. 5.Coxsackie b Virus Infection

    Coxsackie B Virus usually doesn't cause any symptoms but can be the cause of nonspecific fever and, in rare cases, lung or heart infections. The disease is most common in children but adults are susceptible too.

    3-4 days

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    fever, fatigue, headache, nausea, loss of appetite
    Symptoms that always occur with coxsackie b virus infection:
    fever
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  6. 6.Oral Herpes

    Herpetic stomatitis is a viral infection of the mouth that causes fever and red and inflamed gums. This typically happens early in childhood.

    1-2 weeks but recurrent

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fever, gum pain, painful mouth sore, gum swelling, gum redness
    Symptoms that always occur with oral herpes:
    gum pain
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment

FAQs About Mouth Lesions

Here are some frequently asked questions about mouth lesions.

Can stress cause mouth lesions?

Yes, stress can weaken the immune system and increase the risk of recurrent herpes lesions in patients with latent herpes simplex virus infections. Stress can also increase the risk of other mouth lesions such as aphthous ulcers.

How common are mouth lesions?

Mouth lesions are quite prevalent. Recurrent aphthous stomatitis, or canker sores, are the most common mouth lesion and occur in 5–20 percent of the population. There are many other conditions that can cause mouth lesions, including tumors such as squamous cell carcinoma and leukoplakia, infections such as candidiasis and herpes infections, and autoimmune diseases such as lupus and bullous pemphigoid.

What is thrush of the mouth and how can it be prevented?

Thrush of the mouth, or oral candidiasis, is caused by an overgrowth of the fungus Candida in your mouth. This overgrowth can present itself as white lesions in your inner cheeks or on your tongue. You can reduce the risk of thrush by brushing your teeth and flossing daily, maintaining regular dental checkups, and limiting high sugar foods. If you have diabetes, good glucose control will decrease the risk of thrush. If you use a steroid inhaler, make sure to sure rinse you mouth with water after each use.

Can mouth lesions go away on their own?

Yes, aphthous ulcers, or canker sores, are the most common type of mouth ulcers, and they often resolve on their own. Other lesions such as those caused by tumors, infections, an autoimmune disease will often require treatments such as resection, antibiotics, and immunotherapies respectively.

Are mouth lesions signs of STDS?

Mouth lesions can be caused by the herpes simplex virus, which can also cause genital lesions and can be transmitted through sexual contact. More rarely, syphilis may also cause mouth lesions. However, there are many other causes of mouth lesions including tumors such as squamous cell carcinoma and leukoplakia, other infections including candidiasis and coxsackie virus infection, aphthous ulcers, and autoimmune diseases such as lupus or bullous pemphigoid.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Mouth Lesions

  • Q.Do you have a rash?
  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Q.Have you ever been diagnosed with cancer?
  • Q.Have you been feeling more tired than usual, lethargic or fatigued despite sleeping a normal amount?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our mouth lesions symptom checker to find out more.

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Mouth Lesions Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced mouth lesions have also experienced:

    • 8% Sore Throat
    • 4% Fatigue
    • 2% Headache
  • People who have experienced mouth lesions had symptoms persist for:

    • 47% Less Than a Week
    • 26% Less Than a Day
    • 11% Over a Month
  • People who have experienced mouth lesions were most often matched with:

    • 33% Canker Sore
    • 33% Cold Sore
    • 33% Viral Infection of the Mouth & Throat
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

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