My name is Dr. Michael Krochak, Co-Founder at the NYC Smile Spa, and this is my dental blog! I document the latest trends in dentistry and oral health and hygiene!

I have mouth sores, why and what are they?

I have mouth sores, why and what are they?

At NYC Smile Spa, we know many people have experienced some form of mouth sores or irritation. Some mouth sores are harmless and go away on their own after a few days, while others are more serious and should not be ignored. Mouth sores occur for many different reasons, but bacterial infections, viruses, or funguses often trigger them.

The most common mouth sores are:

Canker sores: A non-contagious, small, grayish ulcer with a red border, canker sores appear inside the mouth usually on loose tissue like the floor of the mouth or under the pink gums on the tissue that attaches your lips and cheeks to your jaw. While outside factors such as stress, fatigue, or allergies may increase the chances of developing a canker sore, some people are prone to them and others never get them. Canker sores typically heal within a week or two and are not dangerous. Topical anesthetics like Oragel can be used for pain relief while they heal.

Cold sores: Also called fever blisters, cold sores are contagious groups of fluid-filled blisters that often erupt around the lips and sometimes under the nose or around the chin. Cold sores are the result of the herpes simplex virus, and once infected, the virus remains along the nerve pathways. There are usually symptoms such as tingling for a couple of days that precede the sores and it is critical to start on medication early to minimize the extent of the eruption of these sores. These are highly contagious and direct contact with others can spread this virus easily. Prescription anti-viral meds in combination with topical agents like Abreva help minimize the extent and duration of the sores.

Leukoplakia: A potential warning sign of oral cancer, leukoplakia is sometimes a premalignant lesion that appears as a white patch on the inside of the mouth, tongue, or gums. The lesions, which are caused by excessive cell growth, usually afflict those who smoke tobacco or drink excessively. They often are non dangerous but at the NYC Smile Spa, we can perform a simple “brush biopsy” to evaluate these lesions early on to see if there is any indication for a further scalpel biopsy or treatment.

Oral candidiasis: Also called oral thrush , this condition is caused by the overgrowth of a type of yeast called candida. This can happen from overuse of antibiotics! Common symptoms of oral candidiasis include white spots inside the mouth and on the tongue, redness or discomfort in the mouth area, sore throat, difficulty swallowing, and cracking at the corners of the mouth. It is important to visit the NYC Smile Spa  if you have oral candidiasis. Medications are necessary for this condition and best treated early on. Should you have a mouth sore that lasts a week or longer, we encourage you to give us a call.

For more information, you can contact Dr. Michael Krochak at


NYC Smile Spa

30 E. 60th St., Rm 1201

New York, NY 10022

(212) 838-2900

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