Symptoms A-Z

Painful or Sore Roof of the Mouth? Learn About Potential Causes

If you are experiencing pain or soreness on the roof of your mouth, this could be due to inflammation from infection or an allergic reaction. Pain can also occur from irritants like smoking, dental trauma, or eating certain foods. Read below for more information on other causes and treatment options.

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Contents

  1. 6 Possible Causes
  2. Questions Your Doctor May Ask
  3. Statistics

6 Possible Pain In The Roof Of The Mouth Causes

The list below shows results from the use of our quiz by Buoy users who experienced pain in the roof of the mouth. This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.

Cold sore

A cold sore is a skin lesion on the lips caused by infection with the herpes simplex virus (HSV). Cold sores are extremely common. In fact, most adults are infected with HSV, usually transmitted in childhood by normal close contact with parents, siblings or friends.

While the infection can be entirely unnoticed, or asymptomatic, the cold sores themselves are usually visible and sometimes painful. In an otherwise healthy individual, they are essentially harmless, though their appearance can cause a great deal of distress.

As with most viruses, there is no cure for HSV infection, though certain medications can decrease the rate of outbreaks for those who are severely afflicted.

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

Gingivitis

Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums. It is typically caused by poor dental hygiene and the buildup of bacteria. Its hallmark symptoms are swollen, discolored, bleeding gums. The main risk factors for the development of the disease are increasing age, smoking, and dry mouth. It is both treatable and preventable by engaging in recommended dental hygiene practices. A dentist can also treat the disease by cleaning plaque off your teeth, giving you a special mouthwash, and flossing your teeth. If gingivitis is not treated, it can progress to a more aggressive disease, called periodontitis, or can cause an infection of the gums, including the formation of an abscess.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: bleeding gums, gum pain, gum swelling, gum redness

Urgency: Primary care doctor

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.

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

Pain In The Roof Of The Mouth Symptom Checker

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Melanoma of the mouth

Mucosal melanoma of the head and neck (MMHN) is a rare cancer that is approximately 10% of melanomas arising in the head and neck and approximately 1% of all malignant melanomas. It is more common in an elderly population and has a poor prognosis.

Rarity: Ultra rare

Top Symptoms: gum pain, gum swelling, brown-colored skin changes, black-colored skin changes, mouth rash resembling an amalgam tattoo

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Burning mouth syndrome

Burning mouth syndrome (BMS) is a chronic pain syndrome defined as having a burning pain or sensation in your mouth without a cause that can be found. It happens way more often in women (7 times more likely), typically during times of hormonal changes (just before or during menopause). While no one has identified the cause, it could have to do with the makeup of saliva, damage from dentures, tics or teeth grinding, infections, and even autoimmune diseases.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: dry mouth, changed sense of taste, tongue pain, burning sensation in the mouth, moderate mouth pain

Symptoms that always occur with burning mouth syndrome: burning sensation in the mouth, tongue pain

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis (anug)

Acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis (ANUG) is a relatively rare infection of the gums. It's also known as "trench mouth", as it was discovered in a large number of soldiers in WWI that were stuck in trenches. The pain caused by ANUG is what makes it different from chronic periodontitis, and it requires treatment by professionals.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: bleeding gums, gum pain, chronically bad breath, severe mouth pain, gum swelling

Urgency: In-person visit

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Pain In The Roof Of The Mouth

To diagnose this condition, your doctor would likely ask the following questions:

  • Where specifically is your mouth pain?
  • Have you ever been diagnosed with HIV or AIDS?
  • Do you have a rash?
  • Have you ever been diagnosed with cancer?

The above questions are also covered by our A.I. Health Assistant.

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions

Take a quiz to find out why you're having pain in the roof of the mouth

Pain In The Roof Of The Mouth Symptom Checker Statistics

People who have experienced pain in the roof of the mouth have also experienced:

  • 10% Sore Throat
  • 5% Headache
  • 4% Congestion

People who have experienced pain in the roof of the mouth were most often matched with:

  • 60% Gingivitis
  • 20% Cold Sore
  • 20% Oral Herpes

People who have experienced pain in the roof of the mouth had symptoms persist for:

  • 47% Less than a week
  • 27% Less than a day
  • 11% Over a month

Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

Pain In The Roof Of The Mouth Symptom Checker

Take a quiz to find out why you're having pain in the roof of the mouth