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What is an Oral Infection?

An oral infection is an infection that occurs anywhere in the mouth, such as on your gums, tongue or lips. Having an oral infection can make it tough to eat, talk or even yawn. There are many factors that could cause oral infections, such as injury from biting your tongue or cheek, injury while brushing, or eating food that’s too hot. They can also occur due to bacterial, fungi or viruses like the Herpes Simplex.

The most common symptoms of oral infections include sores in the mouth, dental cavities or oral thrush. To keep these infections at bay, you can follow practices like good oral hygiene, salt water rinsing, oil pulling, and drinking herbal teas.

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Oral Infection

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Causes of Oral Infection

An oral infection can be caused by a range of factors - from a small mouth injury to a deficiency of nutrients and from the side-effects of some medical treatments to contracting a viral infection. Here’s a look:

 

  • Injury from biting your tongue, cheek or lips.

  • Injury from mouth burn.

  • Irritation from braces and dentures.

  • Injury from brushing your teeth hard.

  • Contracting viruses such as Herpes Simplex.

  • Bacterial or fungal infection.

  • Chewing tobacco and smoking.

  • Weakened immune system.

  • Vitamin deficiency such as a diet deficient in Vitamin B-12 and Folate.

  • Intestinal diseases such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

  • Bleeding disorders, celiac disease, HIV or cancer.

  • Hormonal changes.

  • Radiation and chemotherapy.

  • Side-effects of OTC medicines.

Symptoms of Oral Infection

Different types of oral infections have different symptoms. Here’s a look:

1. Sores:

Usually there are two types of oral sores: cold sores and canker sores. In the case of cold sores, painful blisters appear near the mouth and lips. Along with burning sensation, you can also experience mild fever and body ache.

Canker sores, also known as Aphthous Ulcers are small ulcers, appearing inside the mouth. These can cause pain and are usually red, white or yellow in colour. Typically, canker sores heal on their own in a few weeks.

2. Oral Thrush:

This oral infection is also known as oral candidiasis or oropharyngeal candidiasis is caused by yeast infection. Oral thrush symptoms include cream-like white deposition on the tongue, inner cheeks and gums. The deposition sites can be painful and you can experience loss of taste along with difficulty in swallowing food. Another oral thrush symptom is dry and cracked skin inside your mouth.

3. Dental cavities:

This oral infection is characterised by holes in teeth because of tooth decay.

4. Gingivitis:

Also known as early gum disease, the symptoms include inflammation in gums along with bleeding. This is caused when bacteria settle and produce toxins in the gum lining.

5. Periodontal disease:

 If left untreated, Gingivitis oral infection can result in periodontal disease. Here, the oral infection spreads under the gumline and affects the bone and supporting tissues. The symptoms include painful sores on the affected area along with difficulty in having food. There can also be mild flu-like symptoms.

6. Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease:

This is caused by the virus: Coxsackie A16. Symptoms include painful blisters inside the tongue, cheeks, soles of feet and buttocks. Typically, the infection recedes, on its own,  after three days.

7. Herpangina:

This mouth infection is related to the Hand, Foot and Mouth disease. Here, the painful sores at the back of the mouth are accompanied by fever, sore throat and difficulty in swallowing food or liquid. This oral infection disappears on its own between three and five days.

8. Oral Herpes:

Caused by the Herpes Simplex virus, this oral infection has symptoms, like fluid-filled blisters inside the mouth or on the lips along with ulcers on the tongue and mild flu-like fever.

9. Leukoplakia:

This oral infection, common among smokers, has symptoms such as thick, white patches on the tongue and inside the mouth. It usually goes away on its own but is linked with critical ailments, like oral cancer.

 

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Diagnosis of Oral Infection

A dentist can diagnose oral infection after conducting a physical examination. Typically symptoms, like swelling of the mouth or gums along with tooth pain, deposition of substances inside the mouth and mild fever are the key factors to diagnose oral infections. In the case of viral infections, diagnostic tests are required. X rays and CT scans can be required for more severe infections.

Oral Infection Treatment

There can be either simple or complicated oral infections. Here’s a look at the treatment process for both:

  • Treatment for simple oral infection:

This includes instructing the patient to maintain proper oral hygiene along with prescribing the requisite medicines. The first-line choice for simple oral infections includes Amoxicillin, topical medications, like Silver Diamine Fluoride and antibiotics such as Erythromycin and Clindamycin.

  • Treatment for complicated oral infection:

Severe mouth infections require invasive medical procedures to protect a patient’s airway and drain the abscess. In case of deep wounds, doctors clean and wash the wounds to ensure a speedy recovery. Antibiotics such as Penicillin are also used. In the case of viral oral infections, antiviral treatment is the first-line choice.

Home Remedies for Oral Infection

You can use the following home remedies to get relief from oral infections:

 

  • Saltwater rinse

  • Rinse with the hydrogen peroxide solution

  • Topical application of essential oils or garlic

  • Topical application of aloe vera gel

  • Sipping herbal teas

  • Coconut oil-pulling

When Should I See a Doctor for Oral Infections?

You must see a doctor if any mouth sore or inflammation stays for more than 10 days. Though not every mouth infection requires immediate medical attention, you must take a doctor’s appointment in case of the below warning signs:

 

  • Fever

  • Blisters on the skin

  • Inflammation in the eye

Complications Caused by Oral Infections

If you leave an oral infection untreated, it can spread to your face and/or neck. Serious infections can spread to more distant parts of your body. Though rare, oral infections can also lead to systemic diseases, affecting different tissues of your body.

Prevention of Oral Infections

You must fix regular appointments with your dentist along with maintaining proper oral hygiene. Alongside, avoid poor lifestyle choices such as tobacco and alcohol consumption. 

Yes, prevention is always better than cure. But you know what’s better? Staying prepared for the worst case scenario! Get yourself and your loved ones insured against medical emergencies with a health insurance cover. With the insurance plans available at Bajaj Markets, you can get maximum coverage at a feasible price, so you can focus on getting fit and healthy, while we take care of your medical bills.

Conclusion

According to medical research, an oral infection can impact your overall health. Along with having good oral hygiene, you should never ignore any symptoms of oral infections and visit a medical practitioner immediately. To receive the best medical attention that does not impact your finances, consider buying a health insurance policy.

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FAQs on Oral Infections

✔️What is mouth infection?

Mouth infection is a form of infection that occurs around the oral cavity.

✔️What is the most common oral infection?

Here are a few common oral infections:Dental caries, Herpangina, Gingivitis, Hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD)

✔️What are the symptoms of a mouth infection?

Here are a few symptoms of a mouth infection:Frequent bad breath, Recurring bleeding or sore gums, Loose teeth, Sensitivity to hot or cold foods, Sores in the mouth, gums, or lips

✔️How can I treat an oral infection at home?

Here are a few ways you can treat oral infection at home: Oil pulling, Cold compress, Applying a paste of garlic on the affected area, Fenugreek tea

✔️What is basic oral hygiene?

Oral infections can be avoided by practising good oral hygiene. Here are a few basic ones:Brushing your teeth twice daily, Flossing every day, Avoiding tobacco, Reducing sugar intake