Oral sores, mouth sores, or mouth lesions may affect short-term or long-term. Diseases affecting your body and mind may contribute to oral health problems. Some oral diseases and conditions potentially affect your general health and well-being as well. These disorders affect vital functions such as eating, drinking, and talking they are detrimental to overall wellbeing.

Most oral lesions appear red and white in the oral cavity. These lesions may appear similar and confusing. Therefore you need an evaluation by a trained expert for a definitive diagnosis.

Mouth ulcers can pose a significant issue. A conclusive diagnosis forms the basis for predicting outcomes. To arrive at a diagnosis, we will systematically analyze the matter using an evidence-based approach. This could involve performing a biopsy, conducting blood tests, or utilizing imaging techniques. Consequently, following the diagnostic procedure, we can develop a customized treatment strategy for your needs.

Oral sore, oral lesion, oral lichen planus, cancer, autoimmune
Red and white appearance of oral sores that need a workup for a diagnosis – Mucous membrane pemphigoid

Oral Medicine care involves the clinical management of oral pathologies, diseases, disorders, and conditions such as recurrent/ persistent mouth sores and lesions that may be caused by local or systemic conditions or that are caused by allergic reactions, autoimmune conditions, nutritional deficiency, viral or fungal infections, and even premalignant and cancerous mouth sores. The key components are emphasizing making definitive diagnoses and providing targeted therapies.

Dr. Thoppay manages oral lichen planus, burning mouth, halitosis (bad breath), and dry mouth conditions. She also treats conditions caused by chemotherapy complications and radiation therapy.

At our center, we manage the following conditions, including rare disorders and oral lesions.

  • Oral lesions, ulcers, blisters, infections, and precancer lesions.
  • Infections of mouth, such as thrush and cold sores
  • Oral cancer
  • Salivary gland problems and dry mouth
  • Burning mouth syndrome
  • Abnormal oral sensation
  • Allergies and drug-related reactions occurring in the mouth and facial areas
  • Oral complications of medical and skin diseases that reflect in the mouth
  • Autoimmune conditions affecting the oral cavity [lupus, mixed connective tissue disorders, Sjogren’s syndrome]
  • Bad breath
Oral sore, oral lesion, oral lichen planus, cancer, autoimmune
Red and white appearance of oral sores that need a workup for a diagnosis -Oral Lichen planus affecting the tongue

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, feel free to contact us

Oral sore, oral lesion, oral lichen planus, cancer, autoimmune
A blistering oral sore affecting gums, that looks like periodontal disease

Oral Cancer

Oral and oropharyngeal cancer is on the rise every year. Mouth cancers will be diagnosed in about 145 new individuals daily in the US alone. Though this cancer is considered rare, the rates of occurrence (about 12,000 additional new cases per year) and death are significantly higher.  Oral cancers can have an 80 to 90 % survival rate when diagnosed in the early stages of development. Unfortunately, they are found as late-stage cancers on most occasions. This accounts for a high death rate of about 43% at a five years from diagnosis.

There are two ways people can risk oral and oropharyngeal cancer. Long-term use of tobacco and alcohol may predispose to oral cancer. The other is exposure to the HPV-16 virus (human papillomavirus version 16), a relatively new (since 1999) cause. This virus is also the same one that is responsible for the vast majority of cervical cancers in women. A small percentage of people (under about 10%) do get oral cancers from no currently identified cause. It is currently believed that these are likely related to genetics, nutrition, and other unidentified shared risk factors. More information is available at https://oralcancerfoundation.org/


We recommend periodic evaluation of premalignant oral lesions. If you have a high-risk oral lesion, you can consult us. We focus on cancer prevention and early diagnosis.

Cancer treatment and Chemotherapy causing oral sore:

It’s quite common for cancer treatment, particularly chemotherapy, to cause oral sores or mucositis as a side effect. Mucositis refers to inflammation and ulceration of the mucous membranes lining the digestive tract, including the mouth, throat, and gastrointestinal tract. Chemotherapy drugs can damage rapidly dividing cells, which includes the cells that line the mouth and digestive tract.

The severity of oral sores can vary widely, ranging from mild discomfort to severe pain. These sores can make it difficult to eat, drink, and speak, and they can increase the risk of infections due to the compromised oral mucosa.

There are several ways to manage and alleviate oral sores caused by cancer treatment and chemotherapy:

  1. Oral Hygiene: Maintaining good oral hygiene is important. Use a soft toothbrush and gentle toothpaste. Rinse your mouth regularly with a saltwater or prescribed mouthwash.
  2. Pain Relief: Over-the-counter pain relievers or medications prescribed by your doctor can help manage the pain.
  3. Topical Treatments: There are topical gels, creams, and mouth rinses specifically designed to help soothe oral sores and promote healing. These can be prescribed by your healthcare provider.
  4. Diet Modification: During periods of severe oral sores, you might need to modify your diet. Avoid spicy, acidic, and rough-textured foods that can further irritate the sores. Opt for soft, bland foods that are easier to swallow.
  5. Hydration: Staying hydrated is crucial. Sipping water frequently or using ice chips can help keep your mouth moist and alleviate discomfort.
  6. Avoid Irritants: Avoid alcohol-based mouthwashes, tobacco products, and other potential irritants.
  7. Consult Your Healthcare Team: It’s important to communicate with your oncologist or healthcare team about any side effects you’re experiencing. They can provide personalized advice and, if needed, adjust your treatment plan to manage these side effects.
  8. Natural Remedies: Some people find relief from natural remedies like rinsing with aloe vera gel, chamomile tea, or using honey (with caution due to the risk of bacterial contamination).

Remember that everyone’s experience is different, and what works for one person might not work as effectively for another. It’s important to discuss any symptoms or side effects with your Oncologist or consult an Oral Medicine specialist so they can provide tailored guidance and treatment recommendations based on your individual needs.

Additional information and resources: Patient information

Advanced procedures



A thorough analysis of your saliva sample will help precisely diagnose oral dryness and burning. Sialometry is a procedure that helps to analyze the saliva sample.

Advanced oral cancer screening

Intralesional Injections

Intralesional therapy is a minimally invasive procedure requiring injecting a higher concentration of a titrated drug directly into chronic oral lesions without significant systemic absorption. This helps manage certain chronic oral lesions that do not respond to topical medications or patients who cannot take systemic medications due to health concerns. It is important to know the condition before you treat the oral lesions. Dr. Thoppay can choose the right methods to manage oral disorders and conditions.

Tissue Biopsy

Lesions in the mouth often appear red and white. A thorough understanding of the lesion is necessary before treating the oral lesion. A biopsy is a procedure to remove a piece of tissue samples from orofacial areas to help diagnose a condition or identify cancer. This is a gold standard diagnostic procedure for a definitive diagnosis. For that, sampling the right tissues is critical. Hence it is technique sensitive.  Dr. Thoppay manages these types of lesions and rare oral disorders. Hence they have extensive experience in identifying the right techniques and providing a diagnosis before attempting to treat them. She uses laser technology for patient comfort and a faster healing process.

Center for Integrative Oral Health