Posted on 10/5/2020 by Andrew Horowitz, DMD, MD, FACS
It is hard for patients to not attribute cancer to every sore or odd-looking place in their mouth. We all do it. Anything out of the ordinary is immediately cancer. This is because cancer is a serious disease and people are fearful of catching it. It is only natural to be afraid of it.
It is important for people to realize the lumps they find are not always cancerous either. They could be canker sores which can be incredibly painful, but not cancerous. Patients should realize canker sores typically heal within two weeks. If the sore does not heal in that time frame they might need to be evaluated. Another possibility is a mucous cyst. These are filled with fluid and can be either in the mouth or on the lips. These can develop when the glands which produce saliva are clogged with mucus. Although they most frequently appear on the lower lip, the cysts can be found anywhere in the mouth. These will also heal within a couple of weeks and are painless.
What Causes Mucous Cysts?
Causes of mucous cysts are attributed to lip biting—which is the most common cause—cheek biting and mouth piercings. Poor dental hygiene can also be a primary cause because the infection causing bacteria remain on the patient's teeth and can fester. The longer the bacteria remain, the stronger the infection can get.
As a side note, some of the cysts are a result of using toothpastes with tartar control agents added to it. If you are using this kind of toothpaste, stop and see if the cysts disappear.
Lumps inside your mouth is something that scares virtually everyone. Just remember, not all lumps are a sign of oral cancer. If have noticed a lump in your mouth and have questions, please reach out to us. We are always here for you.