A mouth infection can have several causes ranging from a minor problem to something very serious. It can involve the teeth, gums, cheeks, lips and tonsils. It’s rare that the tongue or the floor of the mouth becomes infected. When they do it’s usually from trauma. There can be pain, bad breath, difficulty chewing which can aggravate a TMJ problem or systemic disease.
Periodontitis is a common chronic bacterial infection of the supporting structures of the teeth. The host response to this infection is an important factor in determining the extent and severity of the disease. Systemic conditions may modify the extent of periodontitis principally through their effects on normal immune and inflammatory mechanisms.
An ulcer is a hole that forms in the lining of the mouth when the top layer of cells breaks down and the underlying tissue shows through. An ulcer appears white because of the dead cells and food debris inside the hole. Because the normal flow of saliva helps protect the lining of the mouth, any condition that decreases saliva production makes mouth sores more likely. Any sore that lasts for 10 days or more must be examined by a dentist or doctor to ensure that it is not cancerous.
An infection of the cheek or lip is often of viral origin and difficult to treat. Two very common problems involving the cheeks, lips and the gums are apthous ulcers, canker sores and herpes. Fortunately, they normally run their course and disappear 7 to 10 days later. Herpes stomatitis is caused by the herpes virus which also causes cold sores. The first herpes incident that a child has can be severe. It is most common in children 1-2 years old and causes many small, sore, open blisters inside the mouth and on the gums and tongue along with a fever.
Small amounts of the candida fungus are present in the mouth, digestive tract, and skin of most healthy people and are normally kept in check by other bacteria and microorganisms in the body. However, certain illnesses, stress, or medications can disturb the delicate balance, causing the fungus candida to grow out of control, causing infection. It appears as a white patch, which can easily be stripped off to leave a red, bloody area. If you’re an adult with oral thrush, you may be able to control the infection by eating unsweetened yogurt or taking acidophilus capsules or liquid. Acidophilus is available in natural food stores and many drugstores. Some brands need to be refrigerated to maintain their potency. Yogurt and acidophilus don’t destroy the fungus, but they can help restore the normal bacterial flora in your body. If this isn’t effective, your doctor or dentist may prescribe a mild antifungal medical mouth rinse.
Heredity also plays a role in mouth health. The overall strength of teeth is generally passed on from parent to child. Other risk factors such as neglect and poor nutrition are controllable factors. Long term mouth disease can lead to serious complications such as, chronic fatigue, blood infections, septic poisoning, and even death in rare cases. Complications from undiagnosed conjoining diseases are innumerable.