The mouth is an important organ with many different functions. However, it is also prone to a variety of medical and dental disorders.
Bad breath (halitosis) has many causes including smoking, alcohol, poor care of dentures, gum diseases, etc. Medications that cause dryness in the mouth can also cause bad breath.
The typical signs are a white patch that may be associated with burning, soreness, irritation or a white cheesy like appearance.
Oral cancer may occur on the lips, tongue, gums, floor of the mouth or inside the cheeks. Oral cancers are usually painless in the initial stages or may appear like an ulcer.
If you have a suspicious mass or ulcer on the mouth that has been persistent, then you should always seek an experienced dental surgeon to look at it.
The symptoms of gingivitis manifest in the gum tissue as the classic signs of inflammation:
- Swollen Gums
- Bright red or purple gums
- Gums that are tender or painful to the touch
It is recommended that a dental surgeon be seen to check for the symptoms of gingivitis. A dental surgeon will also look out for signs of periodontitis using x-rays as well as other clinical methods.
Cysts & Tumours
Dental cysts are cystic lesions arising from the teeth. Dental cysts are usually caused due to root infection involving the tooth affected greatly by carious decay.
If the cyst is small, endodontic therapy may help. Larger cyst will have to be surgically removed by a qualified and experienced dental surgeon.
White & Red Patches
- White Patches (Leukoplakia)
Leukoplakia is a clinical term used to describe adherent white patches on the membranes of the oral cavity, including the tongue. The clinical appearance is highly variable, hence it is wise to seek an appointment with an experienced dental surgeon should you feel any discomfort with regards to your oral health.
Leukoplakia is primarily caused by the use of tobacco (Smoking). Other possible etiological agents implicated is alcohol. 5% to 25% of leukoplakias are premalignant (leading to cancer) lesions; therefore, all leukoplakias should be treated as premalignant lesions by dentists and physicians – they require in depth evaluation or biopsy.
The treatment of leukoplakia mainly involves avoidance of several factors – tobacco cessation, quitting smoking, quitting betel chewing, abstinence from alcohol – and avoidance of chronic irritants, eg, the sharp edges of teeth.
- Red Patches (Erythroplakia)
Erythroplakia is a flat red patch or lesion (abnormal tissue) in the mouth.
Erythroplakia has an unknown cause but researchers presume it is commonly associated with smoking. It is mostly found in elderly men around the ages of 65 and 74. Alcohol and tobacco use have been described as risk factors.
Treatment involves biopsy of the lesion (abnormal tissue) to identify extent of abnormal development. Complete excision of the lesion is sometimes advised depending on the histopathology found in the biopsy. Even in these cases, recurrence of the erythroplakia is common and, thus, long-term monitoring is needed.
If you find any abnormal red or white patches in your tongue or mouth, please seek an appointment with our dental surgeons to ascertain your oral conditions.