Mouth sores, sometimes known as abscesses, flare up after sexual activity (like oral sex). This is especially true when the mouth is touched by sex toys or stimulated sexually.
KAMPALA | NOW THEN DIGITAL — Abscesses, also known as mouth sores, occur in the mouth after sexual activity (such as oral sex), particularly when the mouth is sexually stimulated or touched by sex toys.
- There is no cure for a sore. However, many causes can be prevented. People can make lifestyle changes that may improve the condition, or visit a dentist and a dentist hygienist for regular preventive care.
- A 2013 study found that smokers tended to have four times the rate of mouth sores than nonsmokers. In addition, the average number of mouth sores per month in a smoker was 24.6 compared with 8.2 in a nonsmoker.
- According to a study of 10,000 people in 2011, people who were chewing gum or had recently used mouthwash were more likely to have mouth sores than people who did not use them.
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These sores are typically painful and the opening of the mouth is often red and swollen.
Some mouth sores are harmless and will clear up over time, but others can cause infection and require medical attention.
This article explores how mouth sores develop and the potential causes.
What is mouth sores?
When the body overreacts to an irritant, such as sex, mouth sores can develop. An inflamed, sore mouth may cause:
- A burning or stinging feeling
- A foul taste
- Flaking or bleeding, as the mouth exposes the normal area of the mouth
- Redness or swelling, which may spread to the tongue and cheeks
A range of other symptoms, including itching or stinging sensation, can occur as a result of the sores.
Types of mouth sores
It is possible for a person to develop mouth sores following oral sex. Some types of mouth sores are typically triggered by the common reactions of the human body to external infections.
- Bacterial mouth sores – When the mouth’s immune system overreacts to an infection, a sore forms. The sores may be found in the tissues of the mouth, the throat, or on the lips.
- Herpes simplex sores – Herpes simplex is an extremely common viral infection that causes sores in the mouth. In the United States, nearly 90% of mouth sores are due to Herpes simplex.
- Oral thrush – A condition caused by the overgrowth of yeast on the mouth caused by consuming too much alcohol or not brushing one’s teeth properly.
- Pityriasis Rubra Pilaris (PRP) – This condition causes small, flat sores on the surface of the skin. It can be uncomfortable, but the infection will often go away on its own.
- Acid reflux – Excess acid from the stomach will often cause a sore in the mouth and throat. Some people will have only small areas of irritation that they can eat with ease. Others will have a very sore, irritated area that causes some difficulty eating or drinking.
- Pregnancy – Research shows that mouth sores are more common during pregnancy. This is because of the hormones that stimulate breastfeeding cause inflammation in the mouth.
- Recurrent bouts of dental pain are also associated with pregnancy, as the mouth muscles tighten.
- Certain medications – Certain medications may prompt a sore to form, especially certain mouth washes and antibiotics. Examples include:
- Antibiotics – Antibiotics will often cause a sore to form in the mouth. Many people who take antibiotics find that it makes it much more difficult to eat. Antibiotics are also a known cause of mouth sores in young children.
- Anticonvulsants – This group of medicines helps control seizures. Anticonvulsants that are also antihistamines, such as alprazolam, can worsen a sore.
- Nicotine – Nicotine causes the body to produce chemicals called catecholamines. The effect of these chemicals on the mouth is to increase the sensitivity of the body’s cells and provoke the production of new cells.
- Hypersensitivity to food – Some people develop mouth sores as a result of hypersensitivity to foods. Examples of foods that may trigger hypersensitivity include grapefruits and asparagus.
Some of the causes of mouth sores are uncommon and unlikely to cause symptoms. However, they may occur in other people.
It is not always necessary to see a doctor if a sore develops around the mouth, but it is a good idea to do so if symptoms are particularly painful, recurring, or involve the sinuses.
Most mouth sores will improve on their own within a few days.
Over-the-counter pain relief and over-the-counter medication, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), are recommended. Prescription medicines, such as hydrocodone, may help prevent a sore from becoming a chronic condition.
Because sores are highly contagious, it is a good idea to avoid sharing a bed, toothbrush, or utensils with anyone who has a sore.
An employer should pay attention to their employees’ oral health. Some of the common health conditions that cause mouth sores can sometimes be prevented through lifestyle changes, such as avoiding cigarettes and drinking alcohol in moderation.
A sore that lasts for a long time or persists in an area is likely to be caused by an infection. Call a doctor if sores affect other areas of the body, such as the back or the arm.
Laughter may reduce the sore’s discomfort, though it is not a recommended treatment for dental sore throat
Dental sores are most often caused by:
Age-related changes – Dehydration, poor oral hygiene, and stress can all cause dry mouth and sores around the mouth.
Bacterial and viral infections – Oral sores often develop after being exposed to bacteria and viruses, such as food, medication, and sores that develop as a result of an infection.
Ingestion of questionable food – Some foods, such as raw fruits, can cause mouth sores. Swallowing these foods can increase the risk of infections, dental pain, and other problems, such as nerve damage.
There is no cure for a sore. However, many causes can be prevented. People can make lifestyle changes that may improve the condition, or visit a dentist and a dentist hygienist for regular preventive care.
Smokers tend to have more than four times the rate of mouth sores compared with nonsmokers. People who smoke tend to have more than four times the rate of mouth sores compared with nonsmokers.
Smoking cigarettes can lead to oral diseases that can lead to the development of oral sores.
A 2013 study found that smokers tended to have four times the rate of mouth sores than nonsmokers. In addition, the average number of mouth sores per month in a smoker was 24.6 compared with 8.2 in a nonsmoker.
According to a study of 10,000 people in 2011, people who were chewing gum or had recently used mouthwash were more likely to have mouth sores than people who did not use them.
Some people may have a higher risk of developing oral sores, such as:
- The elderly
- Pregnant women
- People with a weakened immune system
The link between mouth sores and eating certain foods has also been linked to consuming:
- Regular or spicy food
- Pasteurized milk
- Soluble fiber
- Medications such as amoxicillin, metronidazole, penicillin, or other antibiotics
Viruses are known to spread oral sores. For example, the common cold is a virus that usually spreads from person to person by sneezing or coughing, but it can also live in an infected person’s nose or throat.
Flu, including the flu virus that causes the flu, can also cause oral sores.
People who have a weakened immune system are at greater risk of developing oral sores. The elderly, the very young, and people with liver or kidney disease are also more likely to develop oral sores.
Some medical conditions can make a person more likely to develop mouth sores, including:
- Cirrhosis of the liver
- Heart problems
- Periods of stress
- Tobacco smoking
- Tongue piercings
- High cholesterol
The following precautions should always be taken to prevent mouth sores:
- Avoid smoking
- Clean the mouth after brushing teeth
- Avoid hot drinks, alcohol, and foods that dry the mouth, such as raw fruits and vegetables
- Use mouthwash regularly
- Brush teeth thoroughly, in the same direction every time, and use floss to clean between teeth
When to see a doctor
A dentist or dentist hygienist should be the first to see someone who has developing mouth sores. People with mouth sores should see a dentist as soon as possible.
Dentists and dental hygienists can remove the crusty, dry skin that has developed around sores and identify their causes.
If the sores spread or get worse, or if there is any doubt about the cause, a doctor may be necessary. A doctor may also be needed if a person is worried about an ongoing problem with their mouth sores.
Anyone with mouth sores who is unsure about the cause should see a doctor.
People can seek emergency help for mouth sores by calling a doctor or by contacting emergency services. The doctor can prescribe medication, such as antihistamines, antibiotics, or other medications.
The doctor can also remove a sore if it is causing problems by performing a minor operation called an oral ulcerectomy.