Long-Lasting Mouth Sores

What Causes Mouth Sores?

Mouth sores can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'worrying' to 'generally fatal'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

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Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose mouth sores, we could:

  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "mouth sores" as a symptom.  Here are eight of many possibilities (more below):
  • Lupus (SLE)
  • Melanoma
  • Mouth Cancer
  • Syphilis
  • Chemotherapy Side-Effects
  • Sjogren's Syndrome
  • Leukoplakia
  • Increased Folic Acid Need

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
regular sun rash on cheeks
chest pain when breathing
genital sores
frequent unexplained fevers
having had a few sexual partners
chewing tobacco use
shingles
severe fatigue after slight exertion
joint pain/swelling/stiffness
very tender muscles
bleeding/enlarging/tender moles
history of non-vaginal candidiasis
... and more than 40 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of mouth sores:
Cause Probability Status
Mouth Cancer 94% Confirm
Increased Folic Acid Need 19% Unlikely
Lupus (SLE) 19% Unlikely
Melanoma 5% Ruled out
Leukoplakia 2% Ruled out
Chemotherapy Side-Effects 1% Ruled out
Sjogren's Syndrome 0% Ruled out
Syphilis 0% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

If you indicate mouth problems, The Analyst™ will ask further questions including this one:
Have you had any ulcers, sores, or red or white patches inside your mouth lasting for more than three weeks? (Mouth Ulcers / Canker Sores generally heal within a couple of weeks.)
Possible responses:
→ No / don't know
→ Yes, but not now
→ Yes, barely noticeable AND lasting under 2 months
→ Yes, significant OR lasting over 2 months
→ Yes, significant AND lasting over 2 months
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate history of mouth sores, minor mouth sores, mouth sores or significant mouth sores, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Chemotherapy Side-Effects

Mouth sores during chemotherapy are one of the most common short term side-effects.

Oral Lichen Planus

About half of those who get lichen planus also develop mouth sores.

Sjogren's Syndrome

Sjogren's Syndrome can result in painful mouth sores due to a dry mouth and/or Candida infection.

STD Syphilis

Flat white sores can appear in the mouth and/or throat during the second stage of syphilis infection.

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