Read below about swollen mouth, including causes, treatment options and remedies. Or get a personalized analysis of your swollen mouth 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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Swollen Mouth Symptoms

The mouth is perhaps the most sensitive of all the parts of the body. If the mouth fails to detect that you're eating something that might be hazardous, you could be harmed. That's why it will respond right away with warning signals, such as redness, pain and swelling, if it is touched by anything that might cause allergy or illness.

Characteristics:

  • Swelling of the lips, tongue, and throat.
  • Red, sore, blistered appearance on the inside of the mouth.
  • A rounded lump anywhere inside the mouth, which may be painful or painless.
  • Difficulty speaking, eating, and swallowing due to dryness, pain, and swelling.
  • Soreness and swelling of the roof of the mouth.

Who is most often affected by swollen mouth symptoms?

  • Anyone who smokes.
  • -
  • Those not practicing good oral hygiene.

Are swollen mouth symptoms serious?

  • Temporary irritation from foods or beverages will heal quickly with a little care and is not serious.
  • Unexplained, persistent swelling that causes pain or other difficulty should be seen by a medical provider.
  • Sudden swelling that includes tightening of the throat and interferes with breathing is a medical emergency and must be treated immediately.

Swollen Mouth Causes Overview

Many conditions can cause the symptom of a swollen mouth. We've listed several different causes here, in approximate order from most to least common.

Allergy:

  • Allergies will usually cause swelling in other parts of the body, too, as well as in the mouth, lips, tongue, and palate (the roof of the mouth.)
  • Allergies can be causes by:
  • Foods.
  • Medication.
  • Plants that you have touched just before touching your mouth.
  • Insect bites or stings on the lips or even the tongue.

Trauma:

  • Dental treatment or surgery may cause swelling after the procedure.
  • Sports injury. A ball or another player may strike you in the mouth and result in swelling.
  • Other injury, such as a car accident, can cause trauma to the mouth.

Infection:

  • A bacterial infection can cause an abscess, which is a painful, infected lump inside the mouth.
  • A viral infection or "cold sore" can cause the roof of the mouth to swell at the same time the sore appears.
  • In rare cases bacteria may spread from a tooth infection and get into the floor of the mouth. This can cause enough swelling to displace the tongue and push it back until it blocks the throat and, though infrequent, can cause difficulty breathing and a medical emergency.

Illness:

  • Some viral illnesses can cause swelling and itching of the roof of the mouth, along with sore throat, swollen glands and tonsils, fatigue, and high fever.
  • A sinus infection may cause swelling of the roof of the mouth as well as pain, pressure, fever, headache, and nasal congestion.
  • A blocked salivary gland can fill up with mucus and form a cyst. This is a soft painless swelling that will appear in the cheeks or on the floor of the mouth.

Irritation:

  • Redness, soreness, and swelling in the mouth can occur with repeated exposures to irritating substances such as:
  • Cigarette smoke.
  • Chewing tobacco.
  • Alcohol.
  • Spicy foods.
  • Rough, salty foods such as corn chips or jerky.
  • Very hot beverages.

Inflammation of the mucosa, or tissues lining the mouth, can cause sores, redness, and swelling of the gums and mouth due to:

  • Radiation therapy to the head and neck.
  • Chemotherapy.
  • Oxygen therapy.
  • Dehydration.
  • Poor mouth hygiene.
  • Alcohol and tobacco use.
  • A very poor-quality, low-protein diet.

Rare and unusual causes:

  • Some forms of swelling are hereditary and may involve the mouth and throat as well as other parts of the body (where the swelling is known as edema).
  • Tumors can cause swelling of the roof of mouth if the tumor is above it, as well as causing other types of mouth ulcers and lumps.

A.I. Health Assistant Causes for Swollen Mouth

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

  1. 1.Allergic Reaction (Not Life - Threatening)

    When the body encounters a harmful substance, it responds with inflammation and swelling that can be protective. In many individuals, the body responds this way to substances that are not normally harmful, like foods or pollen. This is the basis of allergy, or Type 1 Hypersensitivity.

    Symptoms should resolve in a matter of hours.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    swollen face, swollen lips, lip numbness, hives, red swollen bumps or patches with a pale center, lip redness
    Symptoms that never occur with allergic reaction (not life-threatening):
    shortness of breath, throat itching
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  2. 2.Anaphylaxis

    Anaphylaxis is the sudden onset of breathing or heart rate changes that are caused by a whole-body allergic reaction. This can be a deadly situation.

    Indefinite

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    nausea or vomiting, headache, stomach bloating, abdominal cramps (stomach cramps), being severely ill
    Urgency:
    Emergency medical service
  3. 3.Gingivitis

    Gingivitis is the infection of the gums surrounding the teeth. It is caused by plaque and/or tartar that has built up on your teeth. Plaque is a sticky layer of gunk made by food particles, mucus, and bacteria. After a while, plaque hardens to become tartar (or calculus). Plaque and tartar at the bottom of the teeth causes the gums to become irritated and infected.

    Great, with dental care and improvement in dental hygiene

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    bleeding gums, gum pain, gum swelling, gum redness
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

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  4. 4.Ludwig's Angina

    Ludwig angina is a bacterial infection of the floor of the mouth and occurs beneath the tongue.

    Recovery is dependent on severity of disease.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    shortness of breath, fever, being severely ill, trouble swallowing, neck pain
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room
  5. 5.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
  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
  7. 7.Angioedema

    Angioedema is a condition which can cause swelling and puffiness of the face, mouth, tongue, hand or genitals. It is often related to an allergic reaction to food, medicines or insect bites.

    With treatment, this usually resolves in a few days.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    nausea or vomiting, abdominal cramps (stomach cramps), diarrhea, swollen face, hand swelling
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room

Swollen Mouth Treatments and Relief

Seek immediate swollen mouth treatment in the emergency room or call 911 if:

  • The person has a swollen mouth and face with difficulty breathing. These are symptoms of anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction that can be life-threatening. There may also be rapid heartbeat, a rash, and a feeling of panic.

Schedule an appointment for:

  • Any unexplained or troublesome lump or swelling, especially if there is pain, fever, or the feeling that the throat is constricted.

Swollen mouth remedies that you can try at home:

  • Take steps to stop smoking and to stop using any chewing tobacco products.
  • Cut down or discontinue drinking alcohol.
  • Practice good oral hygiene by flossing and brushing the teeth and gums.
  • Use approved mouthguards and face masks when playing sports that require them.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Swollen Mouth

  • Q.What part of your mouth is swollen?
  • Q.Do you have a rash?
  • Q.Does your throat feel itchy or irritated?
  • Q.Are your symptoms worse while eating?

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

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Swollen Mouth Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced swollen mouth have also experienced:

    • 7% Mouth Pain
    • 5% Sore Throat
    • 4% Mouth Lesions
  • People who have experienced swollen mouth had symptoms persist for:

    • 41% Less Than a Day
    • 38% Less Than a Week
    • 10% Over a Month
  • People who have experienced swollen mouth were most often matched with:

    • 50% Anaphylaxis
    • 28% Allergic Reaction (Not Life - Threatening)
    • 21% Gingivitis
  • 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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