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):
  • Leukoplakia
  • Mouth Cancer
  • Lupus (SLE)
  • Chemotherapy Side-Effects
  • Candida / Yeast
  • Lichen Planus
  • Melanoma
  • 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 unexplained nausea
black/brown fingernails
intolerance of sugars
dark lines under nails
meal-related bloating
joint pain/swelling/stiffness
having many common moles
frequent mouth ulcers
wearing dirty dentures all day
regular postprandial somnolence
regular sun rash on cheeks
non-vaginal candidiasis
... and more than 70 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
Lupus (SLE) 97% Confirm
Lichen Planus 25% Unlikely
Melanoma 17% Unlikely
Chemotherapy Side-Effects 5% Ruled out
Increased Folic Acid Need 1% Ruled out
Candida / Yeast 0% Ruled out
Mouth Cancer 0% Ruled out
Leukoplakia 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.

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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