Finding blisters in mouth tissue isn't unusual; it can occur in all age groups and for a variety of reasons. It is therefore important for you to identify the contributing factors for your specific condition. In certain instances, these lesions can be contagious or pose a greater risk for infection.
These ulcers can occur on the lips, tongue, gums, inner cheeks, roof or floor of the mouth, and they can arise from tissue trauma, non-communicable illness or something very often transmitted.
1. Tissue Trauma
If an individual has a broken filling or sharp tooth, it can cause trauma in that region of the mouth quite easily by cutting into tissue. These types of mouth sores can also occur if a person bites his or her lip or cheek by accident, as a nervous habit or when reacting to a dental anesthetic injection with a numb cheek, lip or tongue.
2. Tissue Burn
Many patients have experienced what professionals call a thermal burn. Also known as pizza burns, these occur when food that's fresh out of the oven or microwave is bitten into before allowing proper time to cool down. This results in a blistered mouth sore that is quite common. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends patients take special care to keep these types of tissue burns clean during their 7 to 10 day healing time. Use an antimicrobial rinse and limit your exposure to cigarettes and hot foods or drinks.
3. Tissue Irritation
Habits such as chewing tobacco, biting finger nails or chewing on straws can also irritate the soft tissue inside the mouth, causing mouth blisters or open sores to get worse. Patients who wear braces on their teeth often see these types of sores occur due to the irritation of their wires and metal or ceramic brackets rubbing against their inner cheek lining. Check with the orthodontist to see if they can shorten the ends of certain wiring.
Contagious vs. Non-Contagious
Conditions such as Crohn's disease, vitamin B-12 deficiency, lupus, anemia, celiac disease, pemphigoid, irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis can all present themselves in the mouth as oral blisters. These conditions are not typically contagious, though, and dental professionals often work together with medical doctors to determine a treatment plan that will increase the healing process, as well as patient comfort and management of the condition while it's present.
Communicable conditions such as chicken pox, herpes simplex type 2 (cold sores), coxsackievirus (hand-foot-mouth disease), herpes simplex type 1 (genital herpes), HIV/AIDS, infectious mononucleosis and syphilis each can produce similar blisters in mouth tissue that are varying degrees of contagious – specifically when the blisters break open and excrete the virus. These conditions each have separate symptoms that accompany the blisters, yet share the common need to visit a medical and dental professional to receive a treatment plan for proper disease management.
Treating and Preventing Mouth Blisters
The treatment and management of mouth blisters varies based on the size of the lesions and how easily they can be transmitted to others. For non-contagious blisters, patients can use a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen) to decrease pain, as allowed by their medical doctor. But apply ice to the areas, as well, and be sure to use an antibacterial rinse, such as Colgate Total® Advanced Pro-Shield™ Mouthwash to prevent infection. In the event that these remedies do not provide relief, or if there is any question regarding the blistered area, don't be afraid to contact your dental professional. Certain lesions may require the use of systemic antibiotics and/or a prescription mouthrinse to decrease your risk for further tissue damage.
In the event that a blister or mouth sore does not heal after 10 days, consult your dental professional for further evaluation. Some more serious conditions can appear as mouth blisters in early stages. Ultimately, early detection and treatment for these conditions is crucial, and your dental professional will help you to decide the best course of treatment.