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Mouth Symptoms


Healthgrades Editorial Staff

What are mouth symptoms?

Your mouth is made up of your lips, tongue, gums, teeth, cheek lining, mouth floor, hard palate, soft palate, uvula, and tonsils. Your mouth helps you breathe, talk, swallow, taste and chew. Symptoms involving the mouth are extremely common and affect people in all age groups.

General mouth symptoms

The range of mouth symptoms includes:

  • Bad breath

  • Bleeding

  • Burning or scalding sensation

  • Deformity of the mouth or its structures

  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing

  • Dry mouth

  • Excessive salivation or drooling

  • Itching

  • Pain and soreness including dental pain due to dental disease and problems

  • Patches or spots that can be red or white, smooth or raised

  • Rash, blisters, ulcers or sores

  • Swelling or enlargement of the gums, tonsils, lips or tongue

Mouth symptoms can be a symptom of a variety of disorders and diseases including infection, inflammation, allergy, genetic disorders, trauma, malignancy, metabolic diseases, and other abnormal processes. Mouth symptoms can vary in character and intensity depending on the underlying cause and individual factors, and may be felt all the time or only during certain activities, such as eating, drinking, chewing or breathing.

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Mouth symptoms can gradually build over weeks or months, such as a painful sore that does not heal. In addition, ongoing mouth symptoms can be due to chronic or long-term conditions, such as diabetes, oral cancer, or Down syndrome. Mouth symptoms can also appear suddenly, such as lip or tongue swelling due to an allergic reaction, toxic exposure, or injury.

Mouth symptoms can be a sign of a serious disease or condition. Seek prompt medical care and talk with your medical professional about unexplained mouth symptoms or if you have mouth symptoms that have been treated but are not improving as expected.

Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have severe pain, tongue, lip, mouth or facial swelling, shortness of breath, throat tightness, slurred speech, paralysis or drooping of the face, or a change in consciousness.

Dental Care Tips for People With Diabetes

You might know that diabetes affects your nerves, eyes, kidneys, heart and other organs. But did you know it can also impact your teeth?
Medical Reviewers: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Sep 28, 2016

© 2017 Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the Healthgrades User Agreement.

View Sources

Medical References

  1. Burning Mouth Syndrome. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.
  2. Diabetes. PubMed Health, a service of the NLM from the NIH.
  3. Mouth Disorders. MedlinePlus, a service of the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.
  4. Mouth Problems.
  5. Oral cancer. PubMed Health, a service of the NLM from the NIH.
  6. Tongue problems. Medline Plus, a service of the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.
  7. What You Need to Know About Oral Cancer. National Cancer Institute.
  8. Mouth sores. Medline Plus, a service of the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.

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